‘ There were no tears’

Wat­son, Faldo bid farewell to the Bri­tish Open; Dustin John­son seeks to es­tab­lish con­trol

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY DOUG FER­GU­SON

The grand pur­suit of Jor­dan Spi­eth, re­demp­tion for Dustin John­son, the mys­tery that has be­come Tiger Woods. It all came to a mo­men­tary halt Fri­day in the gloam­ing of St. An- drews when Tom Wat­son said good­bye to the Bri­tish Open.

Wat­son, the most pro­lific win­ner of golf ’s old­est cham­pi­onship in the last cen­tury, fin­ished his 129th round with lights from the Royal & An­cient club­house il­lu­mi­nat­ing the 18th green. The five-time cham­pion made bo­gey. The score was ir­rel­e­vant.

“There were no tears,” Wat­son said. “This is a joy­ous oc­ca­sion. I have a lot of great, great mem­o­ries. And those mem­o­ries filled me up.”

Ev­ery­thing else about this wet and wild sec­ond round re­mained un­set­tled.

A heavy down­pour at dawn flooded the Old Course and dis­rupted the start by more than three hours. John­son and Spi­eth teed off shortly be­fore 6 p.m. and were headed in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions when it was too dark to con­tinue.

In swift, shift­ing weather — um­brel­las on one hole, sun­glasses on the next — John­son made three birdies in four holes on the front nine and built a two-shot lead be­fore he made his first bo­gey of the tour­na­ment. He three-putted on the par-3 11th in wind so se­vere he had to back off a 4-foot putt and wipe his eyes.

John­son was at 10-un­der par.

Spi­eth three-putted for bo­gey three times in 11 holes to off­set three birdies and was five shots be­hind John­son, whom he beat by one shot in the U.S. Open last month to cap­ture the sec­ond leg of the Grand Slam.

Both were just short on the par-5 14th hole in two shots when they chose to mark their golf balls and re­turn at 7 a.m. Satur­day to re­sume the round.

“I’m in a good spot,” John­son said. “Def­i­nitely got very tricky this af­ter­noon, all day. Even the front side, the wind was howl­ing and it was blow­ing straight left-to-right pretty much. It played very tough all day.”

Danny Wil­lett of Eng­land had to cope with the wind, too, and he had a 3-un­der 69 to walk off the 18th green with his name atop the leader­board at 9-un­der 135.

“Yeah, I think it’s a child­hood dream and look­ing up there it’s still a lit­tle bit sur­real, but some­thing I’m go­ing to have to get used to,” Wil­lett said. “Other- wise, no point in be­ing up there. We’re go­ing to try and rest up and then try and go out for another good week­end and hope­fully, we can be up there in two days’ time.”

Wat­son wasn’t the only player to bid farewell to the Old Course.

Nick Faldo, the three-time Open cham­pion re­garded as Bri­tain’s great­est cham­pion, came out of the TV tower to play St. An­drews one last time. He switched into a sweater that he wore for his first Open ti­tle in 1987 at Muir­field, thrust his arms in the air atop the Swilcan Bridge, and saved par for a 71.

And then there was Woods, headed to­ward the wrong kind of history. Bar­ring a burst of birdies when he re­turns Satur­day morn­ing — the kind of form he has not shown in two years — he was likely to miss the cut in the U.S. Open and the Bri­tish Open for the first time in the same year. Woods was 5 over with seven holes to play.

So much at­ten­tion has been on Spi­eth and Jor­dan, the main char­ac­ters from the drama that played out at Cham­bers Bay last month.

John­son had a 12-foot ea­gle putt on the fi­nal hole to win the U.S. Open, and three-putted to fin­ish one shot be­hind golf ’s new golden child.

The wind was fierce, tax­ing shots with ev­ery club in the bag down to the put­ter.

John­son con­tin­ued to ham­mer away with his driver, set­ting up birdies, and he looked ev­ery bit like the player to beat. Spi­eth got in enough trou­ble off the tee that he of­ten left long-range putts that led to bo­geys in­stead of birdies.

Be­hind them, a long list of play­ers lined up to take their shot on the week­end.

Jason Day, in con­tention at Cham­bers Bay even though he bat­tled symp­toms of ver­tigo, was at 8-un­der par through 11 holes. Paul Lawrie, the ’99 cham­pion at Carnoustie, also was at 8 un­der through 12 holes. Louis Oosthuizen, who won the claret jug the last time the Open came to St. An­drews, was at 7 un­der through 11 holes.

Among those who man­aged to fin­ish was Adam Scott, a for­mer Mas­ters cham­pion who is start­ing to feel the void of giv­ing away the Bri­tish Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 2012 when he bo­geyed the last four holes.

“This is a joy­ous oc­ca­sion. I have a lot of great, great mem­o­ries. And those mem­o­ries filled me up.

Tom Wat­son

Tom Wat­son bows to the crowd af­ter fin­ish­ing on the 18th green dur­ing the sec­ond round of the Bri­tish Open Golf Cham­pi­onship at the Old Course in St. An­drews, Scot­land, Fri­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.