ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — The R&A wanted to keep attention on the 150th anniversary of The OpenThis week and all other weeks The ongoing disputeThe PGA Tour and LIV Golf are the top two options for the best players around the world.
The R&A wasnt exactly subtle in trying to make sure that happened. It was. LIV Golf CEO was not invited Greg NormanTwo-time Open winner, he traveled to St. Andrews to celebrate. It didnt feature any LIV players at the pre-tournament press conference, nor the featured pairings of the opening round on Thursday.
Many LIV players performed well on the Old Course despite this. These were some of them: Dustin Johnson (4-under 68), Lee Westwood (4-under 68), Talor Gooch (4-under 68), Ian Poulter (3-under 69), Bryson deChambeau(3-under69) Scott Vincent (3-under 69).
— LIV Golf (@LIVGolfInv) July 14, 2022
Westwood, who is trying to win his second major at the age of 49, said that he received a warm welcome from his fans in Scotland.
Westwood stated that the media are stoking it up and doing everything they can to help the rift between LIV Golf Tour and the PGA Tour. I think that the general public just wants good golf regardless of where its being played and whos playing it.
Hes got an interest, hasn’t he? Westwood stated. The LIV players are going to talk up LIV. The LIV players will talk up the PGA Tour and the LIV tour to the PGA Tour players who arent on it.
Poulter, an Englishman, is a long-standing European Ryder Cup fan favorite. Poulter said he didnt hear the boos of some fans that booed him prior to his opening tee shot. Poulter also addressed a fan who shouted at the player on No. 17.
Poulter stated, Theres always an American in the crowd.
Gooch, who was criticised for comparing the atmosphere at Pumpkin Ridges second LIV event to that at the Presidents Cup, which he called The Open, received some flak.
Its impossible to compare because that was team-golf. [at LIV]This is not team-golf, Gooch said to ESPN when asked to compare both events. Its a lot of apples and oranges.
Tigers quick turnaround
Tiger Woods, who I struggled to get a 6-over 78The first round will be short and he wont have time to rest or recover before Fridays second round. His first round took him 6 hours, 5 mins to play. He didnt leave the Old Course until Thursday night at 9 p.m.
Woods admitted that he needed to rest for a while before he could play a round at Aprils Masters. Woods has been dealing with neck injuries and back problems for several years, aside from the serious injuries he sustained in a car accident in Los Angeles in Feb 2021.
Woods said that Thursdays walk was easier than those he did in the Masters or PGA Championship. It was a 6 hour walk because of the slow pace of play.
Woods stated that we werent exactly speed-demons out there either. The whole round took a while, and we were getting waved up. It was a slow, long day.
Defending the Old Course
They have been playing on the St. Andrews links since the early 15th centuries, but the home of golf doesnt hold up to modern players or equipment in terms length.
Balls were rolling like never before, thanks to the fairways being firm from the warm weather and not having any rain. Tiger Woods had a 412-yard driveOn the par-5 14th.
Gooch stated, Its one of the most solid Ive ever seen, Everybody Ive spoken to over the past 48 hours has confirmed my suspicions. Its the best golf course I have ever seen. Its amazing.
Players have noticed that fairways are faster than greens throughout the week. They stated that this was still true Thursday.
Ive been putting really good this year overall, but I noticed that the greens on the links are sometimes a little slower than what we normally play. Viktor Hovland said. I noticed in practice rounds that I was barely getting the ball to go into the hole. I didnt want to miss anything within 15 feet. I wanted to hit it two to three feet beyond the hole, just to give it a chance.
Theres a good chance that it will rain overnight before the second round.
If theres no rain in forecast, it might get slightly firmer, especially for the greens, said Rory McIlroy, who shot 6-under 64 in the first round. I definitely noticed. [Thursday]Some of the high points on the greens were starting to look a little bare and burnt. Because of this, I believe that certain greens were faster than others. Thats something to keep an ear on over the next few day.
There is still work to be done to stay put.
The Open cuts include the top 70 scores as well as ties. After the first round, 76 players had scores equal or better; 100 had scores 1 over or higher.
Last years Open at Royal St. Georges saw a 1 over cut. It was the same at Royal Portrush for 2019.
Neben Garcia and Koepka, there are many other notable players who must make up ground or not go in the wrong way Friday to stay for the weekend.
Homa stated, Just get up and do it. Fortunately, I have adrenaline from being here and playing Tiger, so itll be fun. Its a pretty cool problem to have. I need to get up at a reasonable hour and play the Old Course.
Do you think anyone will pay attention to No. 1?
Another major, another early run for the world No. 1 Scottie Schefflerto be in contention for a second victory. Scheffler tied for fifth with a 4-under-68. He is tied with McIlroy for most majors finishes by a player, finishing in the top five seven times. He has been in top 10 in 15 rounds of majors since 2021.
Scheffler won The Masters, but missed the cut at PGA Championship. He was tied for second at U.S. Open.
Scheffler stated that he was trying to maintain his position, avoid bunkers, and stay in one place. Thats all that Im trying. There are certain spots that you can attack this course, but there are many other spots where you cannot. Just trying to manage expectations, and just trying to execute and hit great shots.
The man who won four times in six starts this year is still being asked if his performance merits more respect. He was not included in the feature group in the first round, but he was paired with Joaquin Niemann Tyrrell HattonIt wasnt too bad.
Scheffler stated, I don’t really pay attention that kind of stuff. Scheffler said, Im just trying to play good golf and showing up. I thought I was in the featured pairing [Thursday]. The guys I played with were solid golfers. Its all your opinion. Its all perception. For me, its just trying to play good golf.