It was [Joe] Burbeck’s idea to develop one of these layouts along lines, which were to be severe to a marked degree. It was his ambition to have something which might compare with Pine Valley as a great test and although my continual travels over the country in the PGA work have prevented me from seeing play over Bethpage’s Black since its opening, I am rather inclined to believe from reports from some of the best players that it is showing plenty of teeth. A.W. TILLINGHAST
Day one's late afternoon excitement means many of the leaders will be teeing off an hour that I can best describe as several before I awake, but I know you'll already have many shrewd observations by the time I log on.
I'd post the weather forecast, but we know how well that turned out Thursday.
**Tom Watson's 6th hole ace Friday morning:
The weather is shaping up to be the dominant story before a shot is struck, but as Jim McCabe notes, the UK weather forecasts are not only wrong sometimes, but downright fun to analyze.
Doug Ferguson says the current forecast calls for the early/late tee times to get the worst end of the draw.
With the bizarre practice round winds, Jim McCabe notes that No. 14 played unusually short.
The only par 5 back on the homeward holes, No. 14, seems a pushover based on the yardage – 547. But there’s out-of-bounds down the right side and some 300 yards out is the “Suez Canal,” a burn that cuts through the middle of the fairway. With the hole playing dead downwind Tuesday, the sensible tee shot was a 4- or 5-iron to get it out there 250, 260 yards and not bring the water into play.
Dustin Johnson did just that, but then he re-loaded and gave it a go. His first attempt with the driver found the burn, but his second cleared it on the fly, much to the delight of a marshal who stood there in amazement.
Regardless of the wind, expect 14 to once again play a pivotal role in the championship: OB, water, a bumpy landing area and sound strategy make it fascinating. Though I'm not a fan of OB as a hazard, it is a course boundary and ample width is allowed to avoid it on No. 14.
A few photos taken a year ago when I visited Royal St. Georges. Click on the images to enlarge:
Other tours and governing bodies now just throw up their hands, shrug their shoulders and give the "it's always been that way" answer to slow play questions.
Not for the R&A's Championship Committee head Jim McArthur, with a nice assist from Peter Dawson!
Gambling on The Open is part of the tournament's essence, so even though this family values website does not condone such heathenness, as a full service blogger I'm obligated to steer you to helpful information from your fellow mongrels.
While dry and partly sunny weather is predicted for Rounds 1 and 2, the wind is expected to pick up as things go along, to the point where by Friday afternoon, it could be ripping at perhaps 25 mph.
Studying such news, none other than Harry “The Hat” Emanuel suggests we could have a situation similar to last year at St. Andrews, where those who had benign weather Thursday morning had fierce conditions Friday afternoon and saw their chances blown away – most notably Rory McIlroy (63-80) and Ernie Els (69-79).
Ian Chadband talks to host pro Andrew Brooks, who has some interesting insights into what kind of attributes the Royal St. George's favors, with a shock pick for the win.
Steven Rawlings gives one punter's perspective at the Betfair blog, seizing on the lack of rough to advocate some of the longer hitters.
Golfweek posts 20 players to watch.
Jeff Rude bats arounds some names and seems to like Jason Day along with talent over experience.
PGATour.com's expert picks includes one Ben Curtis selection.
Golfobserver's Sal Johnson has crunched the numbers and offers his selections.
**Alex Myers with his Fantasy Fix column at GolfDigest.com, highlights some obvious and not-so-obvious names.
The higher the ball flight, the worse the landing on a fairway hillock, goes Peter Dawson's theory revealed yesterday in a story by John Huggan.
Now Mike Stachura has tracked down a professor who confirms. Fasten your seat belts!
But here's the bit that justifies Dawson's explanation of projectile motion. Basically, a projectile like a golf ball has two velocity components, a horizontal one and a vertical one, as Martin Brouillette, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Sherbrooke and a member of the Golf Digest Technical Panel explains: "Assuming two cases with the same landing velocity but with different landing angles, the case with the steeper landing angle has a smaller horizontal velocity component, therefore a greater vertical velocity component. This greater vertical velocity component, upon interacting with a tilted landing surface, is more likely to produce a greater sideways velocity component."
Therefore, play the stinger...less sideways velocity component. Oh wait.
***** Stachura writes:
Of course, a ball that's rolling over those awkward angles is going to be dramatically affected; one that's flying by those humps and bumps won't be bothered by them at all.
Maybe we could read more about this theory in the USGA/R&A ball study? After all, we're 8 years in, I assume this theory is covered?