TROON, Scotland -- It took nearly 24 hours, but the British Open finally became the British Open on Friday at Royal Troon. After a sunny, toothless Thursday, wind, rain and sticky fescue took over and made life difficult for the field Friday afternoon. Here are seven ways the tournament got real.
1. RAIN FLEW SIDEWAYS
For about 30 minutes, a wild storm arrived from the Firth of Clyde, in the form of driving rain and 30 mph wind gusts. The tempest kept players guessing on the tee and holding umbrellas horizontally in the fairways.
2. PHIL NEEDED A HAT CLIP AND GLOVES
Your tournament leader may not have played in the toughest conditions, but he was still prepared for the worst. Mickelson clipped his ill-fitting hat (something he did last week, too) so it wouldn't fly off in the wind. He also played with a pair of rain gloves to make sure he never lost control of the club. Too much? Can’t argue with the lead.
3. THE AFTERNOON WAVE GOT POUNDED
Eighty-four players teed off after 11 a.m. local time in Scotland, and just three of them were able to break par. Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler each made the turn with at least a pair of birdies, but both struggled on the back nine when weather became the theme of the afternoon.
4. CAMERAMEN COULDN’T KEEP UP
If you caught a shot on the broadcast from a clean camera lens, consider yourself lucky.
5. STEVE STRICKER MADE 17 PARS ... AND A DREADED "OTHER"
The 50-year-old smartly plotted his way around the course, making 14 straight pars. Then the storm came barreling through and the always-steady ball-striker lost his tee shot on 15 in the thick fescue. He would make a quadruple bogey 8, and finish with three more pars for a 75.
6. SHORT SLEEVES WERE A RARITY
Brave Irishman Shane Lowry played in short sleeves for nearly the entire day as his peers bundled up in their waterproofs. Lowry put a long sleeve top on for one shot before taking it off again and toughing out the rough conditions.
7. WINTER HATS IN JULY
When standard golf caps get waterlogged and drippy, players treat July like January and don winter caps. Gary Woodland was just one of them.
You could say the conditions were laughable...and Billy Horschel would agree.