ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — So you didn’t feel like waking up at 2 a.m. on the East Coast to follow the opening round of the British Open? We’re not judging you. We’re here to help! Here’s what you need to know. The wind isn’t blowing much at the Old Course this morning, so the traditional yellow scoreboard sitting atop the No. 18 green is full of red numbers. The wind is forecasted to pick up later in the afternoon, so the early wave has a distinct advantage.
Here are the three biggest storylines from the opening round at St. Andrews.
1) Tiger Woods is still struggling
Woods played in the Champions Challenge exhibition Wednesday afternoon and striped a long-iron off the first tee, hit a wedge to about 10 feet and drained the putt for birdie. That was Wednesday. On Thursday morning, Woods almost chunked his same long-iron tee shot off the first, flubbed a wedge into the burn in front of the green, took a drop, pitched on and made a bogey putt. Exhibition golf vs. tournament golf.
Woods made the turn at 40 (four bogeys, five pars), worsened only by the benign weather he faced. This is as good as it will get all week. After a bogey on No. 10, Woods dropped to No. 91 overall, only ahead of one player on the leaderboard. To make matters worse, he hit a pitch shot on No. 12 that you might see at your local public track, a full-blown chunk from around 35 yards out. This is not your 2005 Tiger Woods that won at this venue. He finished his round with a four-over 76.
2) Jordan Spieth is still good at golf
In case you were wondering, Spieth’s game travels overseas just fine. The two-time major champ opened his quest for the grand slam by starting birdie-birdie-par-par-birdie-birdie. He made the turn with a five-under 31 with five birdies, four pars and zero bogeys on the card. His lone misstep thus far came on No. 13 when he found a bunker with his approach shot and could not get up and down, carding his first bogey of the day. Spieth is paired with Dustin Johnson, who is also lighting up the Old Course and had six birdies in his first 13 holes. DJ would finish with the lead at 7-under while Spieth birdied the 18th to get to 5-under.
MORE BRITISH OPEN: Live Leaderboard From St. Andrews
3) The David Lingmerth 59 Watch Was On. Then It Wasn’t
A more green than brown Old Course mixed with a calm Thursday morning was the perfect elixir for someone to finally shoot lower than a 63, a feat never accomplished in a major championship. Lingmerth gave it the old Swedish try as he blitzed the historic links with birdie after birdie just a par-5’s length away from the gravesite of Old Tom Morris. He birdied his first four holes. Then the Memorial Tournament champ birdied three of his next five to close his opening nine with a 29 (twenty-nine!).
As Lingmerth stood on the 10th tee, you have to wonder if he was already plotting out where he would frame the scorecard in his living room back in Florida, what he would say to Johnny Miller as an apology for ruining a favorite talking point each year, etc. Instead, Lingmerth made a mess on the inward nine, including a double bogey on No. 17, and closed with a 29-40 for an opening round 69.