Monday, July 12, 2010

The Scene At St. Andrews

They don't make many days like Monday at St. Andrews.

It felt like Augusta in April, the sun was shining, the breeze barely moving the air, a fresh feel to things. The Open Championship starts in three days but it began coming to life on Monday and it could hardly have been nicer.

It was a total reversal from Sunday when the wind blew up to 50 miles per hour, rocking the temporary tournament structures, making it so bad that officials said they would have been forced to suspend play had the tournament been underway in such conditions.

By tournament time, it's expected to be more Scottish around here. The rain is expected to return Wednesday and Thursday, temperatures are expected to be on the cool side and the wind will return. But Monday, it gorgeous.

Tiger Woods was out early, getting his prep work done. Phil Mickelson played a practice round with Dustin Johnson. Bill Haas and Padraig Harrington played a few holes together.

Paul Goydos, four days removed from shooting 59, strolled across the practice green after overnighting from the John Deere Classic in Iowa. There was Tom Weiskopf, in town to play in the champions exhibition Wednesday afternoon, visiting with friends.

The big yellow scoreboards are in place, visible from almost a mile away out on the course. They're selling fish and chips for just under seven pounds -- about $11.50 American -- and there are ice creams stands dotting the edge of the Old Course.

The early-round pairings are out: Tiger's off at 2:20 a.m. Charlotte time with Justin Rose and Camillo Villegas. Phil Mickelson gets a later time -- 9:20 a.m. Charlotte time -- with Colin Montgomerie and Retief Goosen. In what is becoming a major championship tradition, 60-year old Tom Watson is again paired with 18-year old Ryo Ishikawa.

It was a gentle Monday. Just the way to start.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure most the rednecks here in the surrounding counties of mecklenburg wouldn't appreciate a scene as beautiful as St. Andrews

Ryan Redding said...

How exciting Ron! Thank you for your descriptions and for setting the scene for all of us unlucky people stateside who can't witness this historic event in person.

And what is the deal with ice cream at Open Championships? Seems like every year fans can be seen eating the stuff as fast they can get their hands on it. Doesn't matter that it's 55 degrees, wind howling, rain blowing sideways...give us ice cream!

Looking forward to reading more of your observations Ron.

Ryan Redding
Williamsburg, VA