Forget all of the pre-Open droning about how the winner of the tournament would have to live with the fact that his achievement would be somehow downgraded by the absence of Tiger Woods in the field. Instead, the golf has been compelling to watch and the eventual holder of the Claret Jug will be very proud that he stayed the course under brutal conditions. So far it has not been the matter of trying to beat the other golfers; it has been trying to beat the course and the conditions. Or at least hold your own.
The Thursday Rocco Mediate story went to the back burner, to be replaced by the Friday and Saturday Greg Norman story.
Here we have the 53 year old ex-superstar leading the event after 54 holes. This probably wouldn’t be the case if the winds were less than hurricane force and players could bomb their drives down the center of the fairways and lob wedges into the greens. Instead the drives get blown off course into the punitive rough and the putts are guess and by golly with the wind providing its own preferred direction.
Which can sometimes work to a golfer’s advantage with one of Norman’s birdie putts being destined to slide by the hole when a gust of wind sent it sharply right in the cup.
Norman’s 2 over par 72 was a great score under the punishing weather conditions which makes the par 70s shot by Simon Wakefield, Ben Curtis, Henrik Stenson and Davis Love phenomenal.
We can only wait and see what the course doles out on Sunday and whether Norman can hold it together for a 4th day.
In the meantime both Phil Mickleson and Colin Montgomery sucked it up to make the cut on Friday. John Daly crashed and burned with an 80 on Thursday to be followed by an 89 on Friday.
The most bizarre moment of the Open was at the pre-tournament interview with John Daly where he complained that Butch Harmon had ruined his life. I was surprised as I thought that John had accomplished that feat all on his own.
Regardless, the final round will be interesting especially if the high wind conditions continue. If Saturday is any guide the final outcome will be decided by who backs up the least rather than who shoots the lights out. But then it is golf and you never know.