Play on the second day at St Andrews was delayed by more than three hours after heavy rain and strong winds early in the morning.

On the 18th tee the 65-year-old Watson asked his two playing partners, Ernie Els and Brandt Snedeker, whether they wanted to play the final hole as darkness fell.

But the Old Course with its sandy, links base remarkably quickly drunk up the deluge and play somehow got back underway in mid morning.

“We needed to play”, he said.

A moment of Mickelson magic came at the notoriously hard 17th hole on the Old Course – the Road Hole – when from 200 yards in light rough he cut a low, long iron approach onto the front of the green.

“Wind speeds have still not dropped to acceptable levels, and the intention is to resume play at 5pm”.

“This could not be foreseen at the time that play restarted and made a material difference to the playability of the golf course”.

The conditions have been particularly grueling on more exposed parts of the course – in particular the 11th hole – and contenders Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth all falling foul of the high winds.

Woods was asked if he’ll be back to St. Andrews the next time the Open returns, which will likely be in 2021 when the championship celebrates its 150th anniversary.

Watson was signing off because he was unable to make the cut and his subsequent bogey at the last left him signing for a 12-over-par score.

The tournament was scheduled to finish on Sunday afternoon, however the weather in Scotland has left the organisers with no choice but to postpone the tournament.

They returned to their positions at 7am on Saturday but after around 30 minutes the winds, gusting to 50mph, began to move the balls on the greens.

Play on day two of the Open Championship at St Andrews started late and finished late but in the almost 12 hours or so of play in between, the world’s greatest players put on an outstanding exhibition of scoring in conditions that remained blustery and cold throughout the day.

Six players are one shot back, including Jason Day, Retief Goosen, Zach Johnson and Paul Lawrie.

Chasing the fabled grand slam, Masters and US Open champion Jordan Spieth is five shots adrift after signing for a five-under 67 on Thursday.

Danny Willett got the day off and was one shot behind.

“It was like D-day”, said South African Thomas Aiken, one of the first players to go out before the suspension. Yet he three-putted for bogey three times in 11 holes to offset three birdies Friday.

The decision may have helped those in the clubhouse, including Adam Scott, who was just two off the lead after his second-round 67.