All the elements present to help settle British Open
Published 12:10 am Thursday, July 15, 2010
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — The locals are famous for saying that if it’s “nae rain and nae wind then it’s nae golf.”
There was rain. And there was wind.
There just wasn’t much golf being played Wednesday on the eve of the British Open.
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Kenny Perry wanted to play one more practice round, and the miserable weather wasn’t about to stop him. It just made him think about how long he really wanted to be in the kind of elements St. Andrews hasn’t seen in 15 years for the British Open.
Three holes after he teed off, with raindrops on his glasses and water dripping off a black rainsuit that had turned slick and shiny, he cut across the Old Course to play two holes back toward the clubhouse. As he stepped onto the 17th tee, Perry noticed a man grinning at him from beneath an umbrella.
“Are you enjoying our weather?” the man said in his thick brogue.
“What’s there to enjoy?” Perry replied.
Worse yet was leaving the 17th tee with Nick Watney, rain pelting them sideways and the sound of laughter above them. There was Ian Poulter, dressed in shorts and a shirt, taking pictures of them from the comfort of his third-floor room in the Old Course Hotel.
“Having fun down there, boys?” Poulter called out to them.
The fun doesn’t begin until Thursday, when the 139th version of golf’s oldest championship gets under way at St. Andrews, with weather that likely will as much of a factor as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson or any of the players.
And it’s about time.
The last time the Open came to St. Andrews, there was only one round of a stiff breeze and Woods won by five shots at 14-under 274. Ten years ago on a sun-baked links, Woods set a major championship record at 19-under 269 for an eight-shot win in perfect weather. But there was nasty weather in 1995, when John Daly finished at 6-under 282 and won a playoff.
The Royal and Ancient, which runs this tournament, doesn’t get wrapped up in scores. It lets nature decide that.