RAINY, WINDY, CHILLY. Welcome to Royal Birkdale and the 137th Open Championship. The Brutish, er, British Open.
Old Man Par and Royal Birkdale won today as 156 players donned long sleeves and rain gear to brave the elements along the Irish Sea. July 17. Yeah, right.
But a few of the world’s best golfers got into red numbers, including one with a creaky back and long putter. Rocco Mediate is back for an encore after co-starring in last month’s U.S. Open, an epic battle with Tiger Woods.
Mediate posted 69, and leads along with Graeme McDowell and Robert Allenby. You have to wonder how Rocco’s achin’ back will hold up in 50-degree weather. But he likes tough conditions –- when par is a good score −- and hits a straight ball. Wouldn’t it be something if the 45-year-old hung around to the end?
Some of the marquee names, especially the ones who played early during the foulest weather, got worked over pretty good by Royal Birkdale. Ernie Els and Vijah Singh shot 80. Phil Mickelson had 79.
Nursing an injured wrist, defending champion Padraig Harrington came in with a 74, as did Justin Rose. Sergio Garcia and Anthony Kim shot 72. The 53-year-old Greg Norman had an even-par 70. So did Adam Scott.
Did you know Norman is married to Chris Evert? Sheesh, it seemed like they mentioned Evert each time Norman played a shot. I exaggerate, but not much.
The wind is expected to blow hard the next three days, so look for more of the same. The way Day 1 went, even par is looking good, real good.
−The Armchair Golfer
2008 British Open TV Schedule