Dastardly weather made mince meat of the early groups at the 137th Open Championship. Gale wind, torrential rain, and temps in the 50s turned a major tournament into a survival contest. "Can't wait to go home" said Pat Perez, summing up many of the first players to go off sentiments. Perez shot 82. he wasn't alone. A toll of the carnage featured Phil Mickelson, 79, J.B. Holmes, 79, and this quartet at 80, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, John Daly, Boo Weekly. Barring a repeat of today that saw the weather surrender to the afternoon groups, these guys are toast. I know weather is part of the game, but where do "conditions" reach the level of unplayable. The only certainty there is lightning and I get the impression that it's too cold there for lightning. It's a horrible break to see some world class golfers virtually eliminated from a major on the first day. It's close to holding a major with 1/2 the field on different courses. Sandy Lyle withdrew after 10 holes and +11. Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A, wasn't thrilled. "Disappointing," he said. "I have to say pro golfers should complete the round. That's what they're paid to do."
On the happy side of the draw there were surprises in bunches. Human conditions saw Rocco Mediate share the lead at -1, despite getting treatment at the turn for his chronically bad back. He shared it with Graeme McDowell and Robert Allenby. Now I know why Allenby wears those goggles. For sideways rain. Greg Norman shared 2nd at even par with Adam Scott and Bart Bryant. Looks like being newly married suits the Shark and his game. Never hurts to able to hit the ball low. There's an eight way tie at +1 led by Retief Goosen, Mike Weir, and Jim Furyk. Defending champ Padraig Harrington survived his wrist to post a respectable +4, 74, tied with Tom Watson. Could Watson sneak up and add to his Claret Jug collection? Stay tuned, watch the survivors and the victims of Mother Nature's impregnable powers.
Royal Birkdale Weather Forecast....
Friday, Rain at times, Wind 25-35 MPH.
Saturday, Blustery showers, heavy at times. Gusts to 35 MPH, perhaps 45 MPH during heavy showers. Strong wind hazard.