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« Opening Round Open Championship Open Thread | Main | "I think it's a good thing for St. Andrews so long as it does not stifle progress. I would want to be very satisfied that that was the case before being a supporter of it." »

One Prediction: It'll Be Soft

The steady and cold rain today on the eve of the Open Championship continued into the evening but didn't dampen the festive mood in town. Unfortunately, the course was already not that fiery because the irrigation system had been employed recently, so look for the Old Course to be vulnerable if the wind is down. But based on the weather forecast, the chances of benign conditions seem remote.

I've gotten a few emails about making predictions, and I'm actually much worse than normal when I'm at a tournament because I'm not out on the range or course hearing who is playing well. For some reasonable analysis I'd study the bookmakers' odds and also pick up a few ideas from Helen Ross, who runs through the entire field, Kevin Mitchell says Justin Rose is the pick, while Jason Sobel who ranks the top 50 and picks Ernie Els, and finally, the SI Confidential group makes their picks.

There's a lot of talk about Phil Mickelson and his struggles in the Open. Bob Harig explores the mystery of why Phil hasn't done well in the Open. It is a bit of a mystery with his short game and imagination, but you also have to embrace the wind (as Harig explains), something Phil is finally doing. Steve Elling also explores the topic and Phil's love of the options here and in particular, the chance to hit driver compared to other major setups.

Tom and Laurie Weiskopf head to dinner after kindly taking time to talk St. Andrews with a group of golf writers. (click to enlarge)As for the town life, I enjoyed an evening with several writers milling about and soaking up the good vibes. A typical moment came as Elling and I were waiting on Harig and DiMeglio. Tom Weiskopf and wife Laurie came walking down the sidewalk. I smiled and nodded and the 73 champ stopped, said hello and we started up a chat even though he had no idea we were golf writers.

After we introduced ourselves as golf writers (and I reminded Tom of the story I wrote on his work at TPC Scottsdale earlier this year), he spent a solid ten minutes with us talking about his thoughts on the golf course, the USGA vs. the R&A and even told us about the Champions dinner. Though I'm pretty sure he would have done a stop and chat with us even if we weren't writers, it's just the nature of St. Andrews and Open week.

Naturally, he was pleased to report that the champions were quizzed by Peter Dawson about the distance issue and he said "the ball" was mentioned by nearly every player as needing to be restricted in some way. No wonder Dawson was a bit touchy today!

On my way back to the dorms after taking in a pub where several noted caddies were hanging out, I passed Dunvegan's where the scene was more subdued outside than previous nights due to the weather. But it still looked quite festive. And finally, there was the clubhouse on the eve of the Open Championship.

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Reader Comments (15)


Love the photos, but I think you should take your camera off the "sepia" setting.

I feel like every pic is from 1936 or the cover of the "Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" album.

However, all kidding aside, great eclectic, comprehensive coverage of the Open.
07.14.2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Q
When I clicked the Sobel link I got the entire field study by Ross.
07.14.2010 | Unregistered Commenterd.b.cooper
What camera do you have, Geoff, if you don't mind?
07.14.2010 | Unregistered CommenterSophist
If the weather is rough, rainy and the wind howls...Tiger will not be a factor! He can't play in severe weather. I look for Paddy, Old Tom( if he striking it well) or some other mudder to emerge.
Bring on the big nasty!
07.14.2010 | Unregistered Commentersir real
Geoff, are you writing for Golf World this week? Who is going to cover/dissect the ESPN coverage? At least you get to enjoy the BBC and the peerless Peter Alliss (whom I'm hoping still makes cameos on ESPN). Do a post on BBC vs. USA TV coverage, please! They have a lot of interesting commentators including Van de Velde, Torrance and Mark James, with Nantz doing some segments, I think. But Alliss reigns supreme.
07.14.2010 | Unregistered CommenterMedia driven
How long before the ESPN guys start whining about the weather and begin talking up moving the event to a "St. Andrews replica" course somewhere warm where they can get a good martini?
07.14.2010 | Unregistered CommenterWisconsin Reader
St Andrews is such a great little town. My favorite memory of my time there was coming back from playing the Old Course in morning. The Ex Pat curator of our B&B was finished with his responsibilities of the morning. I walked up to his place and his neighbor was tapping his 7 iron on the sidewalk rhythmically saying "Lets play some golf, lets play some golf.." They ended up heading out and playing the Old (it was late October). No place else in the world could that happen.
07.14.2010 | Unregistered CommenterBW
I agree with the Q; it seems every photo you take has a sepia cast to it. Kind of appropriate, though.
07.14.2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarrie
It's not sepia, you guys just have early signs of glaucoma. I'd go get your eyes checked.

Actually, it's the Antique setting in iphoto. I just don't feel straight color shots are appropriate here. Plus, it helps mask an otherwise ordinary image.

I will be watching some of the coverage in the media center. I am writing about the golf course this week for Golf World, so I'm going to try and spend as much time on it as I can. Though without a full-time armband, I don't know how much I'll see.
07.14.2010 | Registered CommenterGeoff
as one living is (a not so) sunny Limekilns 40 miles south west of St Andrews let me tell you that yesterday was mild rain.
If you want cold rain you need to come in January or February.
07.15.2010 | Unregistered CommenterTom M
Daly leading solo, no wind and balls backing up. Always heard that crazy stuff happens at 4 AM...
Daly -7 thru 11. 59 anyone?
07.15.2010 | Unregistered Commenterjason
Sophist--Geoff uses a Canon S90 I believe--great for landscapes and low light
07.15.2010 | Unregistered CommenterZenyatta
My reports are that Dawson did not quiz all the past champions. He may have asked a few in private but in no way did he ask in a public way to all. Most journalists confirm with a second source.
07.15.2010 | Unregistered Commenteroch
Actually, the photo of Weiskopf and wife is fantastic.
07.15.2010 | Unregistered CommenterTaylor Anderson

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