GOLF.com conducts a weekly roundtable with its staff to break down the game’s hottest topics. And since it’s British Open week, we are answering one burning question each night. Check back for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation by tweeting us @golf_com.
What was the biggest surprise Thursday at the British Open?
Josh Sens: Watching DJ put up a five-over stinker. Just one birdie in such calm conditions, punctuated by a wedge OB on the final hole. All unexpectedly sloppy for the top-ranked player in the world.
Sean Zak: I am most surprised by Kevin Kisner! The guy has really struggled to create consistency all year long. Maybe it’s just one impressive round, but he grinded his butt into the clubhouse, scrambling the last three holes for par from some tough spots. He’s afforded himself the option of shooting a decent round tomorrow and still holding the top spot.
Alan Bastable: The greenness/softness of the greens, at least in the early going. So much talk about Carnasty playing more like Carfasty and while the bowling-alley fairways certainly lived up to the hype, the greens are lusher than I’d like to see, with players actually spinning back approaches on them. No doubt that’ll change by the weekend. Gimme fast and firm from tee to green.
Jessica Marksbury: Sergio, DJ and Patrick Reed’s first-round performances, for sure. These were guys that we pegged as favorites this week, and seeing them hanging out in the bottom third of the leaderboard is certainly not what I expected.
Jeff Ritter: That I Googled the name Erik van Rooyen. Seems like most Open Thursdays offer a name or two that you never see coming. Van Rooyen looks like a nice story for both South Africa and the Midwestern U.S. to pull for. Let’s see if he hangs around.
Dylan Dethier: Related to Ritter’s point, but how about team South Africa showing up in a big way? Three players in the top five and none of those names are Grace, Oosthuizen, Els, Goosen or even Schwartzel?! Bonkers. Let’s hope the Van Rooyen-Lombard-Stone trio keep the good times rolling to the weekend.
Michael Bamberger: Those pieces of tape on Tiger’s neck. I didn’t know you could wear them so high. I understand they are like a muscle relaxer. I’m going to try one as a headband.
Alan Shipnuck: Given the perfect conditions, especially the softened greens, I’m surprised the scoring wasn’t better — I thought there would be a 63 or 64 out there. But even more than that was how few of the top players came to play. In the press room there is a huge leaderboard and the top 12 names displayed have a combined total of one major championship victory, belonging to…Danny Willett.