4:06 Paul Azinger doesn't know how Oosty "eats under pressure." I'm not exactly sure how we measure something like that. 4:05 Greg Norman and Jean Van de Velde are clinking wine glasses now that Dustin Johnson has become the go-to "will this guy choke on Sunday" references. 4:02 Naturally, Luis "The guy who's never been there before" Oosthuizen drives the green at 18 and is going to have a very decent look at eagle. 4:00 Westwood (-7) finishes with a birdie, but Casey can't put his home. He'll finish with the low round of the day and just three strokes off the lead, but that last one is going to hurt when he's eating dinner tonight. Still, he's got to love where he's at: playing in the last pairing with a guy who's never been there before. 3:57 Casey is going to have a very makeable chance for birdie, enough to putt a little bit of pressure on Oosthuizen, who made his "easy" par on the Road Hole. 3:55 Another stellar lag putt from Oosty…he's putting on a long-putt clinic out there. 3:53 Westwood and Casey are continuing to yuck it up down the 18th fairway. As much as I miss seeing Tiger in the last groups, there's something to be said for guys who actually look like they're enjoying themselves on the course. 3:51 Oosty's 2nd on the Road Hole runs through the green, and like Serfoofgio Garcia's earlier run in with Jon Daly, Westwood has some fun on the next tee, pretending he was going to smack Luis' ball away. Tight, these guys are not. 3:49 Casey and Westwood both make par on the Road Hole (Westwoods much trickier, with a chip that skirted the bunker's lip). I think they'd both consider that a smashing success. 3:48 Look out for this Jin Jeong, tomorrow and beyond. It looks like he stole his driver swing out of a text book. He's in great eagle position on 18 because of it. 3:47 Casey's bold approach is followed by an equally bold putt, but it just slips by the hole. Should have no trouble saving par though. 3:45 Some tricky camera work made it seem like Luis hit the hotel on his tee shot, but in reality he plays one perfectly on the right side of the fairway. He must have eaten his Wheaties at the turn, cause he's crushing it right now. 3:42 After a triple-bogey in the second round, Casey plays his ball right up onto the green today. It's a long try for birdie, but he'll be in a great position to get a par, which is all you can ask for on the 17th. 3:41 Casey and Westwood had to wait quite a while for the group ahead to clear the green on 17…Westwood missed the green but avoided the bunker. 3:39 Ricky Barnes sinks a birdie on 18 to bring him to -5, increasing the chances of being in contention tomorrow and decreasing the chances of me making fun of his stupid hat. 3:36 Well that's interesting. Oosty plays another one of his patented lags from almost 60 feet…except this one goes in. After muffing birdies from 4-10 feet all day, it almost feels right that his great distance putting paid off there. He's now 3 up on Casey and feeling great going into the Road Hole. 3:34 Speaking of which, Casey and Westwood both manage great tee shots on 17…they look extremely comfortable. 3:32 A possible wrinkle for tomorrow (and the Road Hole today): Oosty came up grabbing his back after his second shot on 16…we'll see how he looks off the next tee. 3:31 Canizares gives a sad laugh after missing the green on the Road Hole…the good news is that if they ever make a movie based on "Kung Fu" the Nintendo game, Canizares is a dead ringer for the laughing bad guy. 3:30 Casey's got a tricky but manageable par putt on 16…this could be the putt that keeps him going or starts some bad things. 3:28 Jimenez follows his incredible double-bogey on the Road Hole with a pedestrian birdie on 18. He'll finish at -3 on the tourney. 3:26 Oosty confirms my faith in him with a solid par finish. Much like Mortis the Safety Tortoise, he's doing a great job playing it safe. 3:25 I've just been informed that Canizares is older than I am, still young in golf terms, but considering how my body reacts when I don't get 8 hours of sleep, it makes his play today that much more impressive. 3:25 Ousty lags another long birdie putt, should have another easy par putt (or at least relatively easy considering how tough the greens have been today). 3:23 Can't say enough about Spaniard Alejandro Canizare (and yet I haven't said anything about him), the kid played til 10 last night, woke up at 4:30 to finish his round today, and now he's snagged his 4th birdie of the round to get to -8. He must be one of those "precocious youths" that Peter Alliss was talking about. 3:21 Casey plays it safe into the fairway on 16…he knows how good a position he's in right now and he's not taking any chances. 3:19 Naturally, Jimenez missed the follow-up putt, so one of the best shots of his life comes complete with a double-bogey. 3:18 WOW! Jimenez follows an atrocious approach shot with a bank off the back wall and onto the green! You'll see that one on Sports Center tonight, but they're going to have to call over a Rules official, because I'm pretty sure Jimenez forgot to call "backboard." 3:15 Casey pars 15, the start of the tough finishing run here. Two more pars and he'll be very happy. 3:14 Speaking of sunsets, MA Jimenez is wearing a yellow and orange ensemble that has to be intentional. Either that or it's left over from last year's Big Bird costume. 3:11 Well, I've done it again: Luis completely over-read his putt and left it outside. Yet another par for the leader, and yet another solid jinx for me. It's not up there with my "Zero chance Rivera blows this game" call in the 2001 World Series, just some more wood for the bottom of the pile. 3:10 Graeme McDowell is at +5 today, dropping him to Even for the tourney. I don't want to paint him into a corner this soon, but he's got one-hit wonder written all over him. 3:08 Oosty plays a perfect pitch to inside 5 feet on 14. As much as he loves par today, it'll be a shock if he can't convert this bird. 3:05 Westwood finds the fairway bunker on 15 (one of those small but incredibly depressing traps that the Old Course does best), while Casey finds the fairway. 3:04 Sundown is coming on in earnest now, but as we've learned the past couple days, sunset at St. Andrews is sort of like the movie Momento: it just sort of gets slowly darker and darker, and 2 hours later the lights are out and you're not really sure what happened. 3:02 And Casey doesn't, a huge missed opportunity for Casey. Exactly what he didn't need with the way that Ousty is playing. That might be Casey's last chance until 18 to make up ground…then again he doesn't really have to make that ground up today, he's still in great position. 3:01 Undaunted, Westwood makes his putt, and he's at -7. 3:00 Little known fact, St. Andrew was the patron saint of the Texas wedge. 2:58 Westwood putts from another time zone with limited success, he's got a big chunk left for birdie. Casey learned from that, putting his super-long putt to about 6 feet. 2:54 Ricky Barnes continues to play better at majors than at regular tournaments. Somebody tell him that the US Open is being played 5 times next year and he might move up in the rankings. He's at -6 for the tourney, tied with Johnson for the low American. 2:52 Hard to say who the favorite is right now. It's easy to pick Casey, because I consider him the superior golfer, but Oosty has given me no reason to doubt that he can win this tournament. I'd still take Casey in a bet, but I wouldn't be as happy about it as I was at around the second hole today. 2:50 Tom Watson: body language expert. 2:48 Sweet Louis misses his birdie putt on 13, but, again, he just doesn't care. While most guys are steaming about those kinds of missed opportunities, Oosthuizen should be happy that he hasn't fallen into any of the Old Course's traps. That said, if Casey turns on the gas tomorrow, maybe that story changes. 2:47 I've got to give props to ESPN for another great telecast. It took them a few years, but they've really started to nail their golf coverage. NBC still does it best, but I'm not cringing like I used to. 2:45 Calc's got two birdies in a row…it's good to see him smiling again, although he's going to be having some serious flashbacks to that 9 on the 5th when he tries to get to sleep tonight. 2:42 Kaymer finishes off his round with a birdie to get to -8. There's no secret about who's playing well today, it's all about ball-striking. These greens are getting too hard for even the best putters on Tour to take advantage. 2:41 Oosty plays yet another great approach shot, ad he'll have about an 8-footer to extend his lead. His iron play has been remarkably consistent. If he keeps hittng the ball this well it's going to be up to the guys below him on the leaderboard to go low…because he's not coming down to them. 2:38 Anyone else notice that from above St. Andrews sort of looks like a sock-puppet alligator? No? 2:34 As much as we all gave Ian Poulter grief for declaring that the American grip on the British Open was likely over, he's looking prescient at the moment, only Dustin Johnson is "threatening" at -6. At the same time, Tiger's still coming back and Anthony Kim is on the shelf, so I don't think the Europeans should get overly comfortable. 2:33 Tiger summed up his round perfectly: "I couldn't get anything started today." It's been the same story all year for him–great ball striking and mediocre putting. 2:31 Martin Kaymer juuuust misses a birdie try on 17, still at -7, which would be awesome if Oosty weren't holding so strong nearly twice as far under par. 2:29 Oosty has no problem with a mid-range par on 12 to stay at -13, a two-stroke lead. Again, he hasn't been spectacular on his long putts, but he's having no trouble putting the follow-ups home, and that's good enough when the course is playing as tough as it has been the last couple days. 2:27 Tiger pushes his birdie try on 18 for an extremely disappointing 73. Tiger's not playing badly, he's just not playing like Tiger. I don't consider myself a Woods fan (nor a hater), but I hope he can turn it around soon, because mediocre days like today just make the sport a tad more dull. 2:25 If you look at the leaderboard, most of the guys near the top are still on the golf course, and that's not a coincidence. Plenty of decent golf today, but other than Stenson, not a ton of low scores–it's been a quiet moving day, something that Casey and Oosthuizen must be very happy about. 2:22 Casey settles for par on 12, and he's going to want to be very careful as he approaches the teeth of this course. If he can somehow steal a birdie on 13 or 14, he should seriously consider playing it safe the rest of the way until 18. 2:20 Woods settled for bogey on 17, but unlike Phil (who had an almost identical experience on the Road Hole), Tiger went driver on 18 and settled nicely on the green. 2:18 Goosen makes a fantastic putt from the fairway, all but ensuring a birdie on the 14th. Everyone's amazed at how some pros can be so consistent with blade putters, but I'm actually more impressed with guys like Goosen, who seem to be able to get Tour feel with those huge mallets. How can he do that? 2:17 Tiger plays a great shot from across the road. No sweat. 2:16 Speaking of which, here's an interesing question from reader Brian Sullivan: If Oosty wins it, is the whole event something of a write off ? Unless
one of the top guys (top 10 I would say) makes a statement, it seems
the biggest story would be that Tiger didn't win? I would never write off the winner of the British Open. As far as I'm concerned, the 3 biggest equalizers in golf are bad weather, thick rough and tough greens, the staples of the British Open, US Open and Masters respectively (the US and British often have two of three). If you win at St. Andrews, you've probably outplayed some pretty serious golfers in some pretty tough conditions. I wouldn't take anything away from Louis if he wins this. 2:14 Oosty is lagging a lot better then he's actually putting today, but as Tiger will tell you, when you're in the lead at the British that's not necessarily a bad thing. 2:12 There are only two rules on the Road Hole: avoid the road, avoid the bunker…Tiger has already broken rule #1, he's got some work to do. 2:11 Casey and Westwood hit literally matching drives…with every stroke of the ball Colin Montgomery is licking his lips. 2:09 The wind is dying a bit, and Oosty is loving it. He's not playing too aggressive, but he's not struggling at all with his ball striking, always the first sign that a guy is tensing up. Have to be impressed with his steel so far. 2:07 Westwood puts one right in the "cone of probability" and sinks his second straight birdie. In the words of NBA Jam, he's "heating up."
2:04 Casey can't quite match Westwood's tee shot, but he's close. It'll be great if these guys can feed off each other. I don't want to see these two chumming it up, I want to see them compete. 2:02 Westwood goes right after the pin on 11, he'll have a birdie opportunity. Suddenly he doesn't look nearly as stiff as he did most of the front nine. 1:58 Johnson will get that birdie at 18 to move to -6. With his length he'll be someone to reckon with tomorrow if the leaders don't pull away. 1:57 Maybe I counted out Westwood too soon–he nails an absolutely ridiculous birdie putt from what had to be 50-60 feet out (maybe more). He's at -5 and has a chance to jump on the momentum. 1:54 Dustin Johnson continues to play well post-Pebble, he's -5 with a good chance at birdie on 18. Have to admire his mental toughness–even though he's young, he understands that a bad round is just a bad round. 1:52 I really wish Tom Watson would have won the Open last year. Maybe with that paycheck he wouldn't have to keep cutting his own hair. 1:48 Martin Kaymer moves into a tie for 3rd at -7. Some great advertising for Schuco, who's name flies on both Kaymer and Stenson's hats. In case you were wondering, they're Europe's number 1 name in building envelopes. 1:46 Speaking of Casey, he has no problem with his own birdie try. He's at the turn in 31…again. Oosty's lead is down to 1 stroke, and not really of his own doing. 1:45 Westwood blows a fairly easy birdie try by the hole on 9…he might as well help coach Casey along at this point, because its just not happening for Lee today. 1:43 My favorite part of St. Andrews? A little game I call "fairway or green?" whereby I try to determine whether or not a player is actually putting from the middle of the fairway or is just 100 feet from the pin. 1:40 There's been some talk in the last few years about going back to match play in one of the majors, largely because of the success of the WGC tourneys. Most people want it to be the PGA Championship because, frankly, people just don't really care about it that much. But I think the British Open is a better fit, especially with the Open's incredibly rich tradition of match play and the way that it would offset some of the less than fair weather conditions that pop up nearly every year. 1:37 Paul Azinger is completely unable to pronounce Oosthuizen, but he's still my first choice to play John Edwards in the upcoming biopic. 1:35 Stenson on the amateur Jin Jeong "He's an extremely strong putter and very talented…I wish I was that good when I was 20"…yeah, me too. 1:30 Calc puts one over the green on the 8th. He's at +7 already and the ugliness is not letting up…he even splashed some dirt in his own eye for good measure. Somehow his meltdown hasn't effected Oosty though. 1:28 Great shot of Calc sitting alone in the fescue…he's gotten off to a terrible start–Contention is almost out of the question, but, again, I just want him to finish with pride intact. 1:24 Sergio can't convert on 18, so he'll finish at -4. Good bid on the birdie though, as everyone seems to be having on 18. Part of it is the pin placement, but i think the other part is how tough 16 and 17 are playing. After those two holes, 18 must look like a pitch and putt. 1:21 Peter Alliss, "The british aren't known for their passion." Hey, he said it, not me. 1:20 Pin-seeking birdie for Casey at 7. He's joined Oosty at double-digits under par and he looks more than comfortable. Can't overstate how perfect that putt was, just dropping right in the cup. 1:18 Underrated part of having golf on ESPN: the commercials. Since the audience is way more varied than it is on The Golf Channel (or even the networks, probably), the usual snoozers (financial companies, super-equipment stuff and golf instruction) are at a minimum, and the chances of seeing a product I might actually want to buy or a show I might actually want to watch are exponentially higher. 1:15 Oosty is noticably uncomfortable putting with the wind at his back. He put a few of them way long on the first couple holes, and he just overcompensated, not putting any roll on a birdie try on the 6th. Another birdie opportunity squandered on St. Andrews' suddenly wicked greens. 1:12 Art C. like "Wusty" for Luis, because that's how it's actually pronounced. But, like every true American, how HE wants me to pronounce his name means very little to me. As it turns out, his friends call him Shrek (because of the gap in his teeth), but that doesn't do it for me either. With compliments to Art, I'm going to stick to Oosty for the moment, but I'm not too attached to it. 1:09 And speaking of Garcia, he becomes yet another victim of 17, dropping to -4. Garcia's actually having a decent tournament, but that's about the end of the good news, since he's one of the worst players on Tour on Sunday, with an average round of nearly 74. 1:08 Speaking of Daly, he's at +3 on the day, and +1 for the tourney. I almost feel bad for him for having so much success the first day, leading to completely unreasonable expectations. Yes he's looking better and clearly healthier, but as somebody who's gone through a similar body change I can tell you that it's, athletically, extremely difficult. I would imagine the putting is the worst, as I often have what I call PGS (Phantom Gut Syndrome), where my arms get waaay wide, compensating for a layer of blubber that isn't there anymore. Don't worry Big John, you'll be okay in a year or so. 1:05 Stenson rolls in a birdie to finish out his round at -7. A great day for him that's likely to put him in the thick of it tomorrow. Those bogeys at 16 and 17 are going to haunt him tonight…until he sees how many other people had the exact same problems. 1:02 Sergio just played one through the green and almost rolled it into John Daly on the next tee. Daly said something that got the crowd laughing, but Sergio couldn't hear it and wasn't sure whether or not it was at his expense. Let me save you the hassle of asking, Sergio: yes, yes it was. 1:00 For those math majors out there, it's 80% skill + 10% stones + 10% luck = success out of the Road bunker. Unless of course it's me in that bunker, in which case it's more like 50% luck, 50% divine intervention. 12:59 Speaking of Alliss, he remarked on there being "a lot of precocious talent about." As much as I love it, I can actually see Jim Nantz saying the exact same thing and hating him for it…that accent creates a ridiculous double standard. 12:57 Peter Alliss sums Westwood up in one word, "consistent." Yes, he's slowly running out of holes to make up ground, but it's Saturday, not Sunday. If he can avoid bogeys there's no reason for him to press just yet. 12:54 The story of the weekend continues to be the weather…or the lack of it. For all the brutal forecasts, other than the always-anticipated winds we've had mostly blue skies and clear sailing. Not a banner showing from the meteorologists. 12:51 Stenson loses yet another stroke on 17. With the way 16 and 17 are playing, Oosthuizen better hold onto that lead for dear life on the front. 12:49 Casey just misses eagle on 5, but he'll be more than happy to settle for a tap-in for -9. While Oosty is still two strokes up and not playing badly to start, I'm going to consider Casey in the driver's seat until somebody proves otherwise. 12:47 Stenson goes for it from about a foot from the front of the bunker and gets it out onto the green. I was practically screaming at the screen for him not to do it. Absolute insanity, but obviously the right play. There's some luck involved in a shot like that, but it's 80% skill and 10% stones. 12:43 Stenson puts one in the Road Hole bunker and folllows his stroke with what sounded distinctly like "Oy." He's clearly been spending too much time with either the Tour's many Aussies or with my great aunt in Boca Raton. Either way, his -7 is in danger. 12:39 Big par save for Luis on the 4th from outside 10 feet. Birdies would be great in these middle holes, but I think Oosty would admit that he'll take 14 more pars. 12:37 20-year-old low amateur Jin Jeong makes eagle to move to -7, tied for third. If I can't have Jon Daly in the last group tomorrow, give me an amateur! 12:36 No Americans in the top-5 at the moment and two Swedes (Stenson and Karlson)…Elin's smiling somewhere. 12:35 Westwood is really striking the ball well today, but as everyone on the back nine will tell you, if you can't get it done on the greens, you can't get it done this afternoon. 12:33 15 of 16 fairways hit for McIlroy today, just like in his first round…clearly that's what makes him tick at the moment, which isn't a surprise. As skilled as he is, scrambling usually gets better with age, especially on the courses that you play more than a couple times. 12:31 Stenson bogeys 16 for his first real mistake of the day. He's got to try and hunker down at -7 and let the leaders come to him. The back 9 (other than 18) is just too tough to go after hard. 12:30 There's an unconfirmed rumor going around that Oosthuizen was walking up and down the range this morning, yelling "Looking good, Billy Ray!" at everybody he saw. 12:28 Kudos to Rory McIlroy, who just finished up with a 69. After that 80 yesterday, McIlroy had two choices: bare down or give up. Not only does his great comeback bode well for his future, at -4 he's far from out of things tomorrow (unless Oosty or Casey go low). 12:25 Calc is officially falling apart, and it's almost all on the putter. When you get over 45, it just seems to slip away, and the winds and tough greens aren't doing him any favors. 12:22 Phil on his round "I let this round get away." I think that's something you'll hear from a lot of players today. The wind isn't as strong as it was yesterday, so guys are getting a lot closer to the pins (which are also in kinder places today), but the putts just aren't falling. The wind is making mid-range putts extremely difficult, and very few players are capitalizing on a weak moving day. 12:19 Ian Poulter shot a 76 today, putting him at +4 for the tourney, a really disappointing run for him. It seemed like he was having trouble with the wind yesterday, which isn't too shocking since his haircut isn't nearly aerodynamic enough for links golf. 12:17 Tiger follows Phil's lead and birdies 9, which will put him at -3, so he's far from out of it. Although, again, there just aren't nearly as many opportunities to make up strokes on the back 9 as there are opportunities to drop them. 12:14 Either the wind is starting to pick up or Mark Calcavecchia should really do something about that squirrel in his pants. 12:12 Casey joins Stenson at -8, 3 back of the lead. And unlike Stenson, Casey has a TON of golf left today. If you're the person I talked into picking him for your fantasy golf league this week (and you know who you are), you're welcome. 12:11 Mickelson birdies 18 to salvage his day. At least he knows what he's doing on that hole…I'll be interested to see if Phil keeps driver in the bag a little more often tomorrow to try and keep a little more in control of his game. 12:08 Stenson smells blood in the water. He's running out of holes today, but if he can pick up one more stroke don't be shocked to see Oosty fall back to him. 12:06 Calc drops his another stroke on 2, while Luis pars. I don't expect Calc to contend through tomorrow, but I hope he doesn't completely flame out, since it's been great to watch him play some good golf. Keep your head up, big man! 12:04 Speaking of Phil, he hit 3-wood on 18 and left it way short of the green, but pitched on to leave himself a decent birdie try. Did he not hit driver just so he could hit a wedge? You wouldn't think so, but it says a lot about where he's feeling confident at the moment. 12:02 I wonder how closely Colin Montgomerie is watching the Casey/Westwood pairing today. On one hand, he would be crazy to not team these two up in the Ryder Cup, since they seem taylor made for each other. On the other hand, at the moment they're sort of the English Woods/Mickelson…and we remember how that ended up. 12:00 Lime/mint green seem to be the hot colors on Tour this year, almost everyone's worn it at some point and Luis' got it on today. It works for some guys, but I think Oosty looks like a Pez dispenser. 11:57 Westwood misses a great chance for birdie on two. These guys absolutely need to convert on the front nine, because the back is playing super-tough. The wind seems to be making these guys very tense, nobody is comfortable over the ball. Casey converted on his birdie though, possibly preparing for a charge? 11:55 Luis and Calc both drop a stroke on the first, so Oosty's lead drops to 3 strokes over Stenson. Henrik's in striking position, and if Luis falls apart, Tiger is going to be might upset at his failure to pick up some strokes today. 11:53 Even to this day, Mickelson is the biggest enigma on Tour. He completely muffed his shot from the fairway, then manages to save his ball from a couple feet from the wall by the road. You put a wedge in this man's hands and he just becomes a surgeon. 11:51 Calc's putting stance actually looks a bit narrow to me, bucking the wide trend in this wind…though that might be a function of that claw grip. He left his birdie putt way short though, so maybe it was just a mistake. 11:50 Why did Phil cross the road? Because he's really struggling with his long game. 11:48 The worst complaints I've heard about the course this week have actually been from our photo editor. Apparently big fluffy clouds don't make for great shots at the British Open. "What's this wind, BS" she said, "bring on the hail!" I'm sure the players will settle for the wind. 11:45 Phil finds the fairway on the "new" Road Hole. Seems to me the changes have been overhyped–it's not playing particularly harder (it was always pretty devilish), but I guess if nobody's complaining, no harm no foul. 11:42 Calc and Louis finally tee off, and both find the middle of the fairway. From the sound of it, both lucked out with this pairing. I've never met Oosty, obviously, but Calc is one of the nicest guys out there, exactly the kind of guy you want to be around when the nerves are going. 11:40 It sounds like we've all secretly agreed to call Oosty simply "Luis," which I think is pretty uncreative, but I guess I'll go along. The commentators are harping on the story that Luis went back to bed when he found out how late his tee time was today, but think about it: how much sleep do you really think he got last night? 11:37 Speaking of great holeouts, Herick Stenson just stuck his second on the 13th for an eagle…that'll put him at 8-under and right in the thick of things. What a shot! Stenson celevrated in great fashion, with a mild iron-spike and the Danny Noonan "up-and-in" hand motion. He's now in second…that was fast. 11:35 Stewart Cink ends his day (as he almost always does) with a smile on his face after putting off a huge mound on the 18th green. He's at -1, so he probably won't be raising his arms at the end of tomorrow, but that was a nice moment. 11:32 Big ovation for Westwood, who stripes one down the middle of the fairway. Westwood doesn't look as gimpy as he has the last couple weeks…but he doesn't look totally loose either. He seems a bit beyond his years to me, hopefully he'll loosen up as the round goes on. 11:30 Speaking of great pairings, Casey and Westwood are teeing off right now. They should keep each other very calm today, which I think could particularly be great for Casey. If he's finally healthy (he's been fighting shoulder problems), he might be able to move up the board today. 11:27 Phil went OB on 16 (not as easy as it sounds) so he has to drive again…when Phil's not driving well, he doesn't win, it's as simple as that. The wind is his worst enemy…maybe he'll skip the British next time around. 11:26 Even in a suit, Tom Watson screams "blue collar." He always looks like just walked out of a John Cougar Mellencamp video. 11:24 The wind is definitely blowing, but it seems to be less of a factor today. Part of that is calmer conditions, but part is that the players have finally settled down and gotten used to it. The ridiculously calm weather on Thursday definitely set guys back in terms of dealing with the wind. 11:19 Great question from reader Art C. about the importance of pairings. I think any pro golfer will tell you that pairings aren't as important as we make them out to be…and any pro golfer would be lying through his teeth. Who you're playing with can be hugely important, especially if you've got some history. You think it was a coincidence Tiger 't played out of his shoes the first time he got paired with YE Yang after the PGA Championship? As far as the pairings today, my favorite is the Woods/Clarke twosome by a mile. When I think of Darren Clarke, the absolute first thing I think of is his devotion to his late wife, and when I think of Woods…well, you get the idea. 11:16 As many things as seem to be going wrong for Woods in his return, two things stick out at me: his inability to make mid-range putts and his inability to close on par-5's. Even being the best ball striker in the world (and maybe ever) it was those two things that set him apart when he wasn't playing incredible golf, and those are the things that have abandoned him this year…oh, and just dropped a stroke. 11:13 A marshal found Tiger's ball in the THICK stuff by a bush on the 5th, but he's still going to take an unplayable lie. He hit a great approach, but the penalty stroke is going to leave him with a par at best. 11:11 Phil's also at -4, but he's feeling better about it since he's -2 through his first 5 today (including a great par save on his last hole). For some reason, I don't think Phil will be a factor at the end of this thing, but I think it speaks volumes that he didn't just pack it in after a tough first couple days. 11:09 Tiger's sitting at -4 on the 5th. He's playing the way he's been playing all year–crazy inconsistent. Tiger will still be the most dangerous player in the world come Sunday, but if he's not within 5 strokes of the lead by the end of the day (he's 8 back now), he can play lights out and still have nothing to show for it. 11:07 Quite a few guys are going with that super-wide open putting stance we saw a bit of yesterday to combat the wind. I don't know if it really helps, but I know it looks absolutely ridiculous. 11:05 Having some technical difficulties, but we're going to power through. We're still about 45 minutes from the leaders teeing off, and at the moment nobody's really making a run, so Luis Oosthuizen will have a looot of breathing room to start. I am desperate for a nickname for Oosthuizen (I'm going to start with Oosty), so if you've got them, bring 'em on. 11:00 Howdy folks, Golf Magazine Associate Editor Steve Beslow here to take you through Round 3. Excitement is in the air, and if this wind keeps up there may be a few cows up there too before the day is done.
Golf Magazine's Steve Beslow will be live blogging the third round of the British Open at St. Andrews beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern.