Sunday Live British Open Blog

openlogo.jpgAll times Pacific, where it's bloody early.

6:03 - Woke for the start but lost consciousness during the Van de Velde segment, then woke up during Peter Dawson's appearance. After all, it's just so fascinating to hear someone say so many things at once. The improved setup at Carnoustie is "party and mainly" due to Mother Nature. Partly because Mother Nature didn't fertilize the rough, or mainly?

And on the steroid/Gary Player accusation front, "Gary appeared to have information that no one else had" and "it's hard to imagine drugs that will actually help you in golf." Ah, but the R&A "supports drug testing."  

But my favorite remark was this about the women playing St. Andrews in two weeks: "But to see them play perhaps slightly longer irons into the greens and so on and have to bump and bounce it in off the humps and hollows I think will be really interesting." Oh, you mean how we'd like to see the men play it if they weren't hitting it so far?

6:05 - Faldo breaks down talking about the emotion of turning the Claret Jug in. "You're going to show this? What is it about this blimmen (?) trophy?" Great stuff.

6:09 - Ben Curtis and Tiger Woods making moves, both to -3, six back of Sergio.

6:12 - Tiger has 172 yards into 6. Azinger: "Why do you think at this point in the championship he would lay up off the tee. Shocking decision to me."

6:14 - Els moves to -4... 

6:18 - Sergio arrives at the first tee podium, tries to buy a pairing sheet from Ivor Robson who congratulates Sergio on wearing the ugliest shade of green he's ever seen. 

6:21 - Sergio calmly stripes it down the middle and looks incredibly calm.  Must be the calming presence of Walter Driver who is trailing close behind again today.

6:33 - Garcia -9, Stricker -6, Els -5, DiMarco -4, Choi -4 

6:36 - Tiger bogies 8 to drop to -2, here come the "what's wrong with Tiger" columns! 

6:39 - Our first Cialis ad appearance...what's with the dual bathtubs though? 

6:43 - Richard Green's eagle on 14 moves him to 7-under on the day, 5-under for the championship. One more and he can tie the all time low round in a major, two more and they'll have to lock John Philp in a room without sharp objects.

6:46 - McGinley holes out from a bunker, our UK eyes and ears having told us it happened about 6 minutes ago...while we were away. 

6:50 - Those newly added grass mounds look ridiculous on No. 3.

6:51 - Nice "God dammit" from Tiger on 9; "we hear and see his frustration" - Tirico...before we race to commercial break 5 of the hour. 

6:53 - How much money did they pay Jenkins and Feherty to do these Crowne Plaza ads? Brutal. 

6:57 - The assistant trainer for the Miami Dolphins has sat down for a chat with Tom Rinaldi. Wait, no, it's Ben Curtis, fresh off a 65.

6:59 - Sergio birdies No. 3, makes his second straight putt of decent length, moves to -10 and a four shot lead before Stricker misses a short birdie try. Oh, time to see what Tiger's doing at -2! Meanwhile Richard Green, playing thanks to Woody Austin, pars 16 from the gunch to remain in contention for a 63.

7:08 - Richard Green! Birdie on 17. Par on 18 will post a 63 and -6. Carnoustie's integrity...remains completely in tact. 

7:11 - Peter Alliss is in the booth, must be time for a commercial break! Els goes to -6 with a birdie on 6 and his 8 there yesterday looms even more.

7:13 - Sergio hits driver on 5, ball hangs on edge of bunker. Alliss: "Moments like this make you wish you'd taken up the game lefthanded." 

7:22 - Green's par putt on 18 slips by, will post 64.

7:23 - Sergio bogies No. 5. Andy North: "only his fourth birdie of the week, which is incredible on a golf course setup like this." Azinger comes to the rescue and clarifies it's a bogey.

7:32: ABC's GolfTrak on 6 yesterday: Segio's clubhead speed was 11 miles an hour faster than Stricker, and his ball speed was 15 mph faster, but their balls were only 6 yards apart.  Toda, Garcia's ball speed was 21 mph faster, carry was 280 vs. Stricker (3 wood) at 251 yards. Azinger: "it's almost become a science to optimize your distance and part of the reason guys are bombing it this day and age is because of technology, not steroids."

7:40 - Sergio salvages par on 6, Stricker misses birdie putt to get within two shots, remains at -6. Els three back at -6 through 8, Romero -6 through 10. 

7:42 - This just in from TNT: Bobby Clampett on Sergio Garcia:  “(Sergio Garcia) is an emotional player.  He wears his heart on his sleeve and with the crowd pulling for him like they are, this is big for Sergio.” 

7:43 - More deep, deep, deep insights from TNT's press department: Clampett on golfers’ approach:  “(Golfers) can only control what (they) do.  (They) can never control anything else and that is where all the focus needs to be.  (A golfer’s) mindset needs to be, ‘If I go out and shoot a 65 or 64 today and see what happens.’”
Clampett’s advice for golfing in the rain:  “You need to have a rain glove, not many people put a rain glove in their golf bag.  You’re going to get wet unless you have a caddy who can keep you dry all the time and (you have) seven dry towels in the bag.” 

7:55 - Sergio bogies 7 with a short iron into the green. "Things changing rapidly" - Alliss. I'll say. Romero holes bunker shot. to move within 1!!!!  

8:00 - Sergio -8, Romero -7, Els -6, Harrington -6, Stricker -6 

8:02 - Judy Rankin: "the conditions have really changed" as Romero loses 2-iron right on 12. Sergio bogies 8. Romero now tied for the lead, looking for his ball in the gorse.

8:05 - Time to say goodbye to Peter Alliss. He got in at least 10 sentences during his hour.  

8:10 - Tom Meeks called in for explanation of Romero options. Keeps referring to his ball and the "ho." 

8:12 -  Romero makes double on 12, Gannon and Faldo questioning why he didn't try to get a yardage for his recovery play. I'm not sure it would have made much difference since he hit a pretty impressive recovery shot.

8:21 - Sergio's clubhead speed 122 off 10 tee, Stricker at 108.  Leaderboard update: Sergio -7, Els -6, Harrington -6, Stricker -5, Romero -5.

8:39 - Romero birdies 13 and 14! Three way tie at the top: Garcia, Harrington, Romero with Els one back.

8:43 - Romero is playing in just his third major. Here's his play summary from Yahoo... 

8:45 - Tiger lips out on 18 for birdie. Tirico: Tiger this week...fairways hit 46th, GIR 31st, Putting 20th, 1 for 8 from sand.  Faldo: "he's seriously stuck with his golf swing right now."

8:50 -  Our UK eyes report Romero makes his third birdie in a row after his double. Meanwhile, we were at commercial and now doing a Tiger interview.

8:53 - Romero takes the America! His ninth birdie! 6-under on the round.

img_528_6050.jpg&obj=iip,1.0&wid=107&hei=154&rgn=0,0,0,0&cvt=jpeg8:56 - Romero sticks it 15 feet right of the hole on 16! Let's go to 14 to see Ernie', no, commercial break. 

8:58 - Romero birdies 16!  At least, according to our UK eyes! Oh here it comes at 8:59! No pars since the 7th hole! 10 birdies on the day! Here's his Euro Tour bio page.

9:02He's got a website, in English!!

9:07 - Coming back from commercial, Romero is in the hay, Azinger lets out a "Jeeeeese"

9:08 - Romero's 2 iron careens off the wall, goes left, past 18 tee, out of bounds! Wow. We need a crane or blimp shot, the BBC has nothing.

9:09 - Sergio drains birdie on 13! Romero hits epic recovery after the OB shot with a hybrid. Still smiling.

9:10 - Harrington tight for eagle on 14, makes it! Moves to -9!!! We need a commercial break!

9:13 - Judy Rankin on Romero's shot going OB on 17: some of the "worst luck I've ever seen." 

9:18 -  We're busy plugging the advertisers whose ads we just watched. Oh and time for Dell's driving solutions with Andy North. Oh joy!

9:20 - Sergio flies it to the back of 14 green, Tirico estimates 265 as an iron. 

9:23 - Romero on 18, okay, yanks it but we've got Garcia on 14 and Els on 16 and Harrington on 15 so let's go to...commercial! 

9:27 - Harrington lags on 15...well a few minutes ago. Garcia lags on 14 to about 8 feet, drains the birdie putt! 

9:29 - Romero chips up not very well on 18, but we have Harrington moving to 16 tee and Sergio on 15, so what better time than to watch...a commercial! 

9:30 - Our UK eyes report that Romero's in with bogey on 18, leader in the clubhouse at -6. Instead, we're seeing Lee Trevino tell Dan Jenkins and Alice Cooper that he never uses a yellow tee.

9:32 - Harrington sticks it on 16, oh and we see Romero finishing up at 9:33. Thanks.

9:35 - Harrington's birdie putt takes a long look at the bottom of the cup and passes. Sergio has 268 into 15, is just short of the front left bunker, Faldo says it's probably "a big break for him." I think that makes it an ideal time to hear yet more words from our sponsors!

9:42 - Sergio hits fine shot from tough stance on 15 where he's on cusp of the bunker. Harrington tees off on 17, hits the fairway. The excitement is building, and...NO WAY. Another commercial break!

9:45 - Garcia misses his par putt on 15, we're watching a promo for some lousy looking new show called Dirty Sexy Money. 

9:46 - "Awful, no chance" -Azinger on Sergio's missed par putt. 

9:47 - 212-yard 7-iron by Harrington on 17. No wind. 52 degrees. It's the grooves! 

9:51 - Harrington makes 4 on 17, BBC cameraman leaves us dizzy. Garcia using the putter from off green on 16, hits it 2-3 feet. Very impressive shot.

10:02 - This just in, more people are standing in the fairway observing and working than are standing behind the ropes! 

9:53 - Harrington in the burn off 18 tee, almost makes it across the bridge. Garcia makes stellar par on 16. He's only 100 yards away notes Terry Gannon, nice BBC crane shot pans out and gives us the scene. Faldo says "it's like the first night on a camping holiday with your girlfriend, the excitement's intense!" 

9:58 - Harrington is dropping right in front of Garcia on 17 tee. Surreal.  Wait, even more surreal, Sergio and Harrington cross each other on the bridge. Wild! The fans give it a "whooooa" and Tirico says it's one of the great shots you'll ever see.

10:02 - This just in, there are more people inside the ropes on 17 and 18 than outside the ropes!

10:04 - "Nice five iron" for Sergio on 17.

10:04 - "Double burn." -Tirico. Harrington hits it fat, bounces in burn on 18 green. Unbelievable tension! : "Van de Velde is going to look good." -Faldo  The tension is too thick, please give us a commercial break. Oh thank you ESPN on ABC!

10:07 - In lieu of Harrington's walk up 18, we got a Bridgestone tire ad followed by Titleist. Thanks. Oh, we're back, Sergio on 17 for birdie. Nice speed, tap in. Andy North, does Sergio know what is going on? North says Sergio had his head down, paying attention to the hole at hand.

10:09 - Harrington sticks his wedge, double looks promising. Sergio comes to 18 tee. They have to wait on McGinley and DiMarco. Andy North: "he's going to have 10 minutes to wait." Faldo whistles.

10:13 - Harrington makes it, cut to Sergio taking a deep breath on 18 tee. Cut to commercial. How much longer is ABC on ESPN ESPN on ABC's contract with the R&A? Faldo and Azinger and Tirico are great, but not great enough to make up for this disaster.

10:15 - Sergio hits iron off tee, 245 to hole according to our BBC eyes. We're watching a Cadillac ad here in the US! 

10:17 - Now we see on tape! 

10:21 - If you took over 6:18 for the proverbial shot of the trophy engraver, you win!

10:21 - Sergio has to wait on the bunker raker according to Bill Kratzert. The guy is taking his sweet time Sergio has the club pulled, waiting. The guy is waving to the crowd. Faldo: "You're not ___ marble at the Sistine Chapel mate." What did Faldo say?

10:22 - Left bunker. Not bad. His mom is starting to breath again. Sister looks just like him! 

10:25 - Sergio is walking up 18...and we're getting a bloody Van De Velde flashback! Unreal. 

10:26 - We go from Sergio walking on 18 to his bunker shot, just enough time for Andy North to tell us the lie is good. He knocks it about 8 feet past the hole, pretty good shot in the circumstances. 

10:27 - Stricker tries to get out of Sergio's way quickly. We have the ESPN logo at the top of the screen in addition to the ABC. Sergio just misses. Playoff is 1-16-17-18.

10:40 - From our UK eyes and ears, Mark James: "I don't know who designed the course, but for the first 15 holes it's fine, but then it seems like the guy went through a messy divorce." 

10:42 - They were unable to find the flagstick for the first! Mark James again from our BBC viewer: "We could get that chap who gave a speech at the writers dinner to stand next to the hole"  

10:44 - Playoff, Padraig goes with 3 or 4 wood off tee. Sergio hits iron, backs off for laugher, stripes it, just trickles in first cut.

10:50 - Garcia, 172 out, hits in front bunker, Andy North says it's plugged. Harrington sticks approach. Garcia's bunker shot stops short. He's still away. Bogey five, Harrington drains his. Leads by 2.

11:00 - Garcia's ball hit the flagstick on 16. Harrington left of the green where Garcia was in regulation.  Harrington hits nice recovery putt, makes 3 footer for par, Garcia leaves birdie putt short.

11:07 - Azinger: "There's no strategy here," talking about the 17th. No advantage for driver or iron off tee in his view.  Both down the right side, Harrington hits first from 225, sticks it 6 feet? Big smile. Garcia has 218 yards, had 219 earlier according to Andy North. Garcia hits it 15 feet left of the hole, just misses.

11:18 - Harrington's putt snaps! Wow did that break hard. He goes to 18 two up.

11:20 - Padraig pulls hybrid, trying to pick a line, stripes it, no run, "that's way back" - Faldo.

11:22 - Sergio hits driver down the left, "perfect lie and perfect angle" - Azinger  "Perfect angle"'s right outside their booth...and in the rough. Perfect angle, from the rough. Ugh. Judy Rankin says that Padraig might not even be able to get home in two. Meanwhile the engraver has Harrington stenciled in!!  He's 268 to the hole, does he lay up? Has to... 

11:27 - Harrington lays up with 7 iron, has full wedge left. Sergio's lie is good. 233 yards, slight upslope, will affect shot according to Andy North. "If I hit five and it comes out hot I'm going to hit the clock." -Garcia  Hitting big 6, sticks it 18 feet left of hole! Great shot.

11:30 - Harrington hits it outside Sergio, appears he's going to give him the line. Harrington gulps as he walks up 18, Sergio's already there.

11:34 - Harrington's putt slides by an uncomfortable distance. So does Sergio's birdie putt. Sergio drains. Padraig, just over 3 feet to win the Open. ESPN logo on the screen please...he makes it! 11:37. BBC cameras don't know what to shoot..anything but the right thing!

11:40 - They're dancing in the streets of Dublin by now. Never again will we have to read about Europe's winless drought in the majors. Well, not for a while anyway.

11:46 - These ESPN microphones are really letting the ABC brand down! Padraig's first 20 seconds are silent in his interview with Tom Rinaldi.

11:48 - Martin Kippax is hosting the R&A ceremony. We've found the cure for insomnia. He's reading from his notes in slow motion, right?  Uh Martin, we have affiliates waiting for us to switch over the Indy race here. Might we pick up the pace lad?

11:51 - Low amateur Rory McIlroy is wearing Puma's fall line for the awards ceremony. Ah amateur golf. 

11:52 - Sergio picks up his silver plate. He'll be slipping that under his Maserati to collect leaking oil. 

11:56 - Ah, he's thanking his pit crew now. That's it, ESPN on ABC has heard enough. Time to say goodbye. Tirico: "this has been like riding a bike." See you guys at the Ryder Cup in 2008. Does that mean they won't be back at the 2008 Open? Oh well, over and out.