It started with an errant approach to the par-4 first hole, which settled so deep into the long grass right of the green that Duval was forced to take an unplayable lie. After a drop, he hit his fourth shot over the green, chipped his fifth 20 feet past the pin and two-putted for a triple-bogey 7.
Good day, and good luck.
With wind gusting up to 40 mph, players struggled to keep their balls on tees (Duval) and their hats on their heads (Harrington). And while Harrington was able to steady himself with a par at the first, Duval did not recover from his horrific start.
After a solid drive on the second, he hit his approach way left into the crowd. Bogey. He hit another decent tee shot on the third. It barely trickled into the rough, and he hit his second 15 feet short of the front collar. He putted his third way past the pin. Bogey. Duval showed no emotion, just put his head down and kept going. The par-3 fourth hole: bogey. He parred the par-4 fifth but doubled the par-4 sixth and bogeyed the par-3 seventh. In a span of seven holes, Duval was nine over, 11 over for the tournament. He was off the leaderboard by the time fans were brewing their coffee on the West Coast.
His score will suggest Duval was back to his hopelessly wild ways of the last six years, but truth be told he was only a little off. In this kind of weather, under this pressure and on a golf course like Birkdale, that’s all it takes.(Photo: Robert Beck/SI)