Luck of the Draw: Weather and Tee Times Will Play Huge Factor This Week
The British Open is all about the elements. This year's will be no different.
As with most British Opens in the past, the weather will be an x-factor at St. Andrews, enough that which side of the draw a player is on could determine if he makes it to past the cut line or not.
Early forecasts for the week show consistent wind and precipitation with high temperatures in the low 60s. Thursday’s forecast approximates a 40 percent chance of rain with periodic showers in the afternoon and winds between 10 and 20 mph. Those showers and winds are expected to only gain intensity towards the evening. The 2:34 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. tee times are filled with contenders. Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler all will be on the back nine when winds could be gusting up to 25 mph.
Friday is where things get really interesting. According to a forecast released by the Open Championship, heavy rains will appear early in the second round and give away to winds that will surely affect shots drastically in the afternoon. A key note in the forecast: "Winds strengthening and changing in direction throughout the day." Good luck, guys!
The forecast means a late/early draw in tee times – like that of Mickelson and Fowler – would have a much wetter course than an early/late draw. Nonetheless, wind will likely be a constant across the board.
Jordan Spieth will chase the third leg of his grand slam somewhere in the middle of the pack, with three hours of tee times ahead of him and more than six hours behind him. The last player to compete for the third leg of the calendar year grand slam was Tiger Woods in 2002, when rain and wind at Muirfield helped balloon his third round score to 81, dropping him well out of the top 10. Like Spieth, Woods will have a similar middle-of-the-pack tee time.
For those who make the cut, Saturday’s distant forecast calls for consistent winds in the 20-30 mph range with occasional gusts possibly topping the 50 mph mark. For those players lucky enough to be in contention on Sunday, they will face a projected high of 65 degrees and winds less than 10 mph for most of the day. However, late showers Sunday could make things interesting for the eventual champion.
It's the British Open, what did you expect?