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The Old Lady battles back

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Rob Hodgetts | 22:57 UK time, Friday, 16 July 2010

The Old Lady didn't just bite back on day two; she got the old mugger 'Stan Drews' to help with the dirty work.

If she was in generous mood on Thursday, allowing Rory McIlroy to help himself to a 63, she was truly spiteful on Friday.

People say that without wind the Old Course is defenceless. Trouble is, sometimes the old girl overdoes the back-up.

Louis Oosthuizen escaped unharmed with his booty, a 67 to climb to 12 under and Mark Calcavecchia also nabbed a quick 67 to nip to seven under before the heavies arrived.

But the later starters copped a maelstrom and that nasty 'Mr Drews', with his 40mph gusts, knocked most of the other challengers off course.

It was a day of two halves if ever there was one, a glaring example of the sometimes arbitrary nature of Open golf.

The morning saw periods of rain, heavy at times, but light wind. Unpleasant to play in, but not necessarily difficult.

No surprise that 1989 champion Calcavechia was first off at 0630 BST and Oosthuizen at 0641 BST. Or another former winner Tom Lehman, who shot 68 to edge to five under, was in the fourth group of the day. Paul Casey (69) and Lee Westwood (71), in a tie for third on six under, also teed off early.

In the afternoon, the sun came out and so did the breeze, blowing so strongly at one stage that play was suspended for an hour from 1440 BST because balls were moving on the greens.

"Welcome to real golf," muttered a Scotsman in the gallery when the suspension was explained to him.

The wind took no prisoners at St Andrews on day twoThe wind caused havoc at St Andrews on Friday. Photo: Reuters

But this is the kind of real golf where each shot costs wads of cash and if a ball moves when a player has addressed it - blown by the wind or whatever - he is penalised one shot. That's a lot of cash to lose through no fault of your own.

Mind you, none of that bothered Lodewicus Theodorus Oosthuizen, to give him his full name - or Shrek - as his mates know him for short. He was back home with his feet up when the trouble started.

On the other hand "Rors", as his pals know him, or Rory McIlroy to the rest of us, copped the lot. He was bouncing along in his gum-chewing 21-year-old way at nine under going down the fourth when the delay came. Afterwards, he plummeted to an 80, his boyish exuberance blasted out of him. McIlroy still hasn't shot a round in the 70s at St Andrews.

He bemoaned the suspension afterwards, but hanging tough was the key. Weathering the storm the name of the game. Tiger Woods was among those that battled to stay alive in the tournament, birdieing the last to end four under. Darren Clarke, too, proved that the weather was not insurmountable and edged to four under. But it's too simplistic to say that McIlroy lacked the grit of experience. Padriag Harrington took 77, Ernie Els 79.

Oosthuizen, a product of Els's Foundation in South Africa, had missed the cut in seven of his eight previous majors, but this week he has obviously had his meteorologist cross-check the weather with his draw.

"Yeah, I've booked a house until Sunday night so I was planning on making the cut," he said.

As is becoming Open tradition, someone has to fly the flag for the old guard and in these conditions the only man with the weight to hold it down was the 50-year-old Calcavecchia, following in the footsteps of 53-year-old Greg Norman and 59-year-old Tom Watson in the last two Opens.

The burly Floridian, who has recently joined the Champions Tour in the US, won the Open at Royal Troon in 1989 and knows his way around a links course.

"It doesn't really matter how old you are if you're feeling good about what you're doing," he said. "I think the old guys can hang with the young guys. I haven't grown up any. I may feel 50 or 60 but inside I'm still 30."

Calcavecchia revealed the secret ingredients of his elixir for eternal youth - Scottish beer.

"I'm just taking it easy, having a couple of pints here and there," he said. "Stopped at the Dunvegan for a couple last night on the way to dinner."

"Calc" has wife Brenda on the bag and claims any rows are "entirely his fault". The pair will go straight to Carnoustie next week for the Senior Open, and are quite keen to trouser another decent cheque.

"We just built a mansion with a two-lane bowling alley in Jupiter, Florida, so there's plenty of ways to spend it," he said. "It'll take me the rest of my life to pay for it."

At odds of 600-1 before the Open, he could be clear by Sunday night.

Oosthuizen and Calcavecchia stepped around a minefield on Friday, but they still had to play well.

The forecast for Saturday is light rain to start, brightening up later with 15-20mph winds, possibly gusting to 30mph.

The Old Lady may have told 'Stan' to back off, but she is still intent on keeping these young men at arms' length.


  • Comment number 1.

    I am glad that bbc has TV rights till 2016 for telecasting Golf open tournaments .I am in California.Can I get live telecasts of the Open golf tournament being held on the St Andrews Golf links in Scotland currently til Sunday 17 th 2010, here in California ,USA ,please ? If possible, then which cable channel telecasts casts it live ? thank you.

  • Comment number 2.

    " . . . . sometimes arbitrary nature of Open golf"?
    Any tournament golf really that has morning and afternoon waves.
    A crying shame that they brought the players in today. Don't understand why they couldn't just have "syringed" the greens which the PGA Tour does almost routinely. It certainly upset some rounds in progress. Rory obviously but doubtless others too. Makes the whole thing somewhat artificial.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    The decision to bring the players in was the best. Who would like to be penalised a shot if the ball moved on the green & you had addressed it? McIIroy surely cannot be making a case to stay out in the wind.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    This just shows how ridiculous a decision it is for St Andrews to feature so prominently on the open schedule. The course has no defences to the modern game apart from a howling gale. If things are benign the only option is to speed the greens to give the course some defence. Then add the winds to slick greens and the course is unplayable because the ball will not stay still on the greens. As good as history is, that is what St Andrews should remain with the Dunhill cup for all those wanting nostalgia.

    This is no method of finding the best golfer in the world, normally eliminating most because of the varying conditions with start times. St Andrews is a poor course, simulating a lottery to bring the unknown and undeserving to the fore.

  • Comment number 8.

    People moaned the course was too easy on Thursday, people moaned the course was too hard on Friday.
    People moan. St. Andrews and links golf are class.

  • Comment number 9.

    What/Who decides course to be unplayable?

  • Comment number 10.

    Well said sween

  • Comment number 11.

    It was certainly unfortunate that the very early starters probably had the equivalent of around a 5 shot advantage over the later starters who fought the tempest. To a large degree, that's life. You take the rough with the smooth and even if you had better conditions, you have to use them and score low, but it does mean that we have effectively seen two tournaments with different rules.

    If wind makes play impossible, you have to suspend play. This tournament is about professional golfers, not about the wind calling the shots on the greens. The wind is a necessary adversary up to the green, but when you are on it you expect to be allowed to putt in peace.

  • Comment number 12.

    sween wrote: People moaned the course was too easy on Thursday, people moaned the course was too hard on Friday.

    And there you have the problems of St Andrews in a nutshell. Tiger can go round that course half choked and clock up -24 to win the tournament without breaking a sweat because the course is defenceless. Try to add teeth to the course with the speed of the greens and you will stop the play if the wind gets up. If you cannot place a ball on the green for it to remain motionless, you cannot play. Then the added problem when you have the greens fast, the influence of wind on the speed and line of those putts become intolerable. You always hope with changing weather conditions that it all balances out, but when you are operating with a 10 shot difference because of your tee time, it is not a true test of golf.

    There are many fine links courses in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK, St Andrews is just not one of them.

  • Comment number 13.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?


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