Yes, we have a real British Open, and cheers to that. The weather has been true to form with intermittent rain and wind gusts that are expected to continue into the weekend. Despite the throwback names on the leaderboard, with former Open champs like Greg Norman (even) and David Duval (+2) near the top, I still think links veterans and Ryder Cuppers who’ve dealt with intense mental pressure have the best chance to win.
Padraig Harrington (+2) closed impressively today with eagle-birdie and is in a great position for the weekend along with Graeme McDowell (+2). The two Irish boys are right where they want to be, and if the conditions stay bad, they will be there at the end. Jim Furyk (+2) is a Ryder Cup veteran who has the mental toughness to last, and this could be his best chance to win a British. We can’t forget Sergio Garcia (+5), either. He only needs one good round to get back in this Open, but it will have to be tomorrow.
That said, I don’t discount players like K.J. Choi (-1) and Rocco Mediate (+2). Choi played a terrific round today, and you can’t underestimate this soft-spoken Korean. He has a great support team around him and has the swing, fitness and mental toughness to handle the coming pressure. What he lacks in links experience he gains in solid mechanics, and he has been in the hunt at majors several times. He has to be one of the best players yet to win a major, and this may very well be his week. Mediate, America’s favorite runner-up, also has a chance to outlast the field.
At least he knows he’ll outlast Tiger. Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher David Phillips teaches at the Titleist Performance Institute in Oceanside, Calif.