ESPN Starting Two Hours Early With Split-Tee Open Start

Thanks to this Tweet from Andy Hall at ESPN we know of the network's plans for what figures to be a long day at Royal Liverpool. Nice pivot by the Worldwide Leader to accommodate Saturday's unprecedented, forecast-driven two-tee threesomes planned start from 9 am to 11 am BST.

 

Hoylake Day Two: Roundup & The Open Comment Thread

As forecasted the winds are up Friday morning making the late-early end of the draw the misfortunate, as I noted in this Loop item. But the real story of day two: what will Rory shoot after again opening with a lead and now facing the hurdle of a second round.

The Daily Mail's Mike Dawes reports on Rory's low round of the day.

The Independent's Carl Markham focuses on the opening day from McIlroy and 69-shooter Tiger Woods.

James Corrigan of the Telegraph explains Tiger's dismay at the camera phone craze at Liverpool, though in his defense he did not bring the topic up in his post round presser.

Ian O'Connor on the marathon post-round practice session Tiger put in Friday.

Alasdair Reid
of the Telegraph reports on Rory's scorching first round and says "McIlroy collapses having lately become as predictable a part of Friday as the arrival of the fish van - but there were few of them in the travelling gallery that followed him round the course and applauded him off at the end."

Oliver Brown explains Tiger's love for Royal Liverpool when it is dry and sunny.

Gavin Mairs of the Telegraph reports on what is motivating Sergio Garcia to play better golf.

Some say his putting has caught up with his ball-striking, others that the former world No 2 has found off-course contentment now that he has a new girlfriend, Katharina Boehm, who played golf for Charleston University in the United States.

On the opening morning at Hoylake on Thursday, however, it was his sizzling duel with Rickie Fowler that appeared to bring the best out of the Spaniard’s game.

Ryan Herrington sheds some light on where most of the Open Championship scoreboards have one. The manual board on 18 remains.  Herrington also on the wonderful radios for on-site listening.

Eamon Lynch on Bubba Watson's awful Thursday attitude (good spot reader Shawn), which I also watched and found troubling considering his immense talent and game seemingly fit for links golf. Seemingly.

Mike O'Malley with 18 numbers you should know from day one. Nice compilation.

Dave Shedloski on the admirable effort of Ben Crane to get here, serve as first alternate and ultimately, not make the field.

According to BBC, a marshal got hit by balls twice in an hour. He got signed golf balls from Rickie Fowler and Charl Schwartze for his service.

John Singleton shot 78, but the local factory worker absolutely blasted a drive center cut off the first tee and had the galleries excited, writes Luke Kerr-Dineen.

The odds continue to fluctuate. It makes for fun reading!

As for day two, the R&A issued yardages for the par-3s of 190 (6), 186 (9), 191 (13) and 150 (15). And these notes:

Weather (provided on site by the Met Office)

Today: Risk of showers, possibly thundery with gusty ESE winds at first. Risk of showers and winds easing through the afternoon and becoming warm. Winds: ESE 15-20mph with gusts 35mph. Temp; 27C

Fairways and Rough

  • Fairways cut at 11mm
  • First cut (semi) rough (approximate width 2.5 metres) cut at 38mm (daily)
  • Second cut of rough (approximate width 4.5 metres) cut in early June and has been allowed to go to seed

Greens

The greens were double cut last night and this morning at 3.5mm. The greens are 10 feet 10 inches.

Approaches

Approaches double cut at 7mm and rolled, and have the same average firmness as the greens.

Additional information

Links Manager - Craig Gilholm. 40 greenstaff for the Championship. Royal Liverpool permanent staff of 11 supplemented by staff from local clubs, other Open venues and R&A greenkeeping scholars

Total Course Yardage for Round One (tee marker settings to flagstick)

7219 yards (as compared to the full yardage of 7312 yards)

“Every time we watch the replay of the telecast, it brings out the same emotions and highs and lows that we experienced..."

Karen Crouse does a nice job getting Jim "Bones" Mackay to talk about last year's epic Phil Mickelson win at Muirfield and the rare emotions it evoked from the longtime Mickelson looper.

She writes:

Mackay’s clear head complements Mickelson’s unconcealed heart, but when Mickelson made a curling, left-to-right 10-footer for birdie at the final hole, Mackay was the one who lost it.

He was overcome by emotion seeing Mickelson succeed on a stage where he had failed so many times. It moved him beyond words to see all the time Mickelson had spent developing a cut drive to counteract the wind pay off on such a grand stage. The depth of Mackay’s fondness for Mickelson was revealed in a pool of tears that could have filled the claret jug. For one day, anyway, there was no taking for granted one of the most stable relationships in sports.

“It was awesome,” Mickelson said, adding: “Every time we watch the replay of the telecast, it brings out the same emotions and highs and lows that we experienced throughout that round. It’s something that we’ll cherish forever.”

Mickelson returned the jug Monday at Royal Liverpool to R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson and a miraculously situated sponsor's vehicle that happened to make some of the frames.

Steve DiMeglio reports on Mickelson's return and his upbeat mood Monday as he prepares to defend.

Jim McCabe files a super recounting of last year and Mickelson's return as defending champion.

There was this about the jug getting used as a decanter for some nice wine, which ended up being the big takeaway from his presser.

Pushed to disclose what has been used to celebrate these toasts, Mickelson smiled. Treating the Claret Jug with reverence, he said, is to realize only the finest quality tastes can be used and one of his friends offered up a 1990 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti.

“Now, I didn’t know what this was when I drank it,” Mickelson said. “I just knew that it was really good.”

Given that a bottle of Romanee-Conti could set you back anywhere from $20,000 and $40,000, it’s safe to assume the French wine was very good, so it will remain another vivid memory of his year of supreme satisfaction.