Tiger Woods remained consistent in the first round of the British Open on Thursday – only, consistency takes on a different meaning for Woods nowadays.
The 14-time major victor struggled to an opening 76 and there was nothing in his game to suggest that he will fare any better in the tougher weather on Friday.
Looking at the leader board after the first 18 holes in Scotland, former two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen of South Africa shot a six under 66, part of a group of six golfers one shot back of Johnson.
The golf world seems to await the natural crack to come in Spieth’s current near-invincibility.
Again, it highlights just how impressive he’s been so far this year compared to probably the most impressive 21-year-old season in the modern era.
But there was no cracking Thursday.
First-round leader Dustin Johnson was on the course, which absorbed a deluge that halted morning play for more than three hours.
England’s Danny Willett shrugged off two late three-putt efforts to set the early clubhouse target on nine-under-par in the weather-interrupted second round of the 144th British Open on Friday.
“You nearly want to say, ‘Who are you and what have you done to Tiger Woods?'” ESPN’s British Open analyst, Paul Azinger, said. Spieth was along for the ride when Johnson stayed on the attack, often hitting it some 50 yards past Spieth and Matsuyama.
“I fought hard”, said Woods, whose only higher score on the Old Course is a 78 in 1995 as a 19-year-old amateur. That’s not what I’m getting at but I’ve had some decent success over here.
“I drove it well, I drove it straight”, Johnson said after accruing five birdies and an eagle on the 521-metre par-five fifth. He bogeyed the sixth hole at Chambers Bay in round one to slip to one over. “I wasn’t disappointed, really”. Did everything I was supposed to. I couldn’t control what the ball was doing on the greens there. “I have to absolutely give him a lot of credit for that”. “It sets up well for me”.
And so did a familiar foe Dustin Johnson. Jason Day, coming off his scary bout with vertigo symptoms at the U.S. Open, was back on his feet and back in the hunt. Lawrie is best remembered for winning the British in a playoff after France’s Jean Van de Velde chose to try and hit out of a pond on the 72nd hole.
So powerful was Johnson that he used wedge in 10 par 4s, greening one as he used driver in all but three holes to highlight anew his Goliath-like power off the tee.
Phil Mickelson, 2013 champion, was quietly in the picture with a two-under 70.
Adam Scott admits he is playing at The Open with “a little bit of a chip on my shoulder” as he seeks to make up for letting a golden chance to lift the Claret Jug slip in 2012. But he has said he will not turn professional until 2016, after he finishes his degree in entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State, the university that counts Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan, and Scott Verplank among its golfing alumni.
“I’m so far back and the leaderboard is so bunched that in order for me to get in there by Sunday, I’ll need the conditions to be tough and play some really solid rounds”, Woods said.