Open diary: Thursday
From Brian Keogh at Royal Birkdale
Five-time Open champion Tom Watson proved he isn’t gone with the wind after matching defending champion Padraig Harrington with a 74.
Playing in his 31st Open the Kansas City legend, 58, was chuffed to start so well on the 25th anniversary of his last win.
Heading into the clubhouse after his round, a security man congratulated him, saying: “Well done Mr Watson.”
Without missing a beat, Watson said: “Thanks. Not bad for an old fart.”
Double major winner Sandy Lyle had a meltdown at the Open and “chucked it” after just 10 holes.
But it wasn’t the first time the Scot, 50, has taken the high road before completing 18 holes.
The 1985 Open champion walked out for the third time in his career when he was eleven over par after racking up four bogeys, two double bogeys and a treble bogey.
His first walk out came the Irish Open at Royal Dublin in 1985, where he plonked three balls into The Garden at the 18th in his opening round and picked up.
Then in 1989 he walked off in the second round of the Nestles Invitational at Bay Hill when eleven over par and was fined $250 (€160) for "conduct unbecoming a professional golfer" by the PGA Tour.
Dyson slams set up but Harrington backs R&A
Simon Dyson slammed the Royal and Ancient Club for the course set up after crashing to a 12-over par 82.
But Padraig Harrington reckons the championship organisers were right not to push tees forward.
Out in the first group of the day, Dyson said: “It's a slog - you can't play. You put a four-handicapper on that first tee and they'd probably shoot 100. That's no exaggeration. It’s nearly unplayable. This is the worst day I have played in.”
But Harrington defended the R&A, explaining: “You’ve got to take the attitude that the lowest score is all that counts this week, not the guy who’s under par or over par. They didn’t need to push the tees forward.”
Monty feeling chipper
Colin Montgomerie was feeling chipper after shooting a 73 alongside pal Boo Weekley.
Monty said: “I had my Monty supporters but he had his fan club. They’re having a beer and having a good time - a better time than we’re having, I can tell you.”
The Scot is hoping that a big week will help him earn a ninth Ryder Cup cap on the trot.
He said: “I’ve played eight in a row and I want to make it nine. I don’t want to stop playing the Ryder Cup.”
Weekley shot 80 and groaned: “Monty is a good guy. But if this is the summer, I couldn’t live here.”