Adam Scott tops the British Open leaderboard.
In case you missed watching the British Open on Saturday, we’ve summarized it for you:
Tiger Woods and Steve Williams were almost together again.
Brandt Snedeker finally made bogey.
Graeme McDowell got a hot putter and has a better accent than Sean Connery.
Jason Dufner had a weird ruling.
Thorbjorn Olesen didn’t fold playing with Tiger Woods.
Ernie Els almost got his mojo back.
Paul Azinger had the line of the year.
Perry White, Superman's/Clark Kent’s newspaper editor’s line, “ Great Scot!” will be used a lot, having nothing to do with Scotland.
The weatherman was wrong. Again.
And Adam Scott is still yearning for a Gillette contract.
But let’s start with Paul Azinger, ESPN commentator, who always has interesting things to say.
Somewhere around the time the leaders were at the 6th and 7th, he said, “ Adam Scott has Tiger’s old swing and Tiger’s old caddie.” Hopefully he got paid extra for that, although it made you yearn for a slow-mo of Adam Scott now and Tiger Woods in 2000.
Making matters more interesting, until Graeme McDowell made a late-round charge and Tiger Woods failed to make some putts toward the end, it looked as though Sunday would include a pairing of Adam Scott and Steve Williams with Tiger Woods.
But enough about things that didn’t happen. Let’s get to what did.
Adam Scott started shakily, hitting into a greenside bunker at the par three. Although he made par, it did not look like a good omen for Scott fans. That was the end of his real misfortune, however. He was steady through the rest of the front nine, making birdie at the par five 7th and at the par four 8th.
“Just making some putts like that early in the round certainly frees you up and calms you down,” the stubble-faced Scott said about his par saves. “I was nervous going to the tee today, excited but nervous.” He said from there on, he was more settled.
Brandt Snedeker, who had not made a bogey for 36 holes, got to 40 holes before disaster struck. At the fifth, he had a mysterious brain cramp and missed a four-footer for par. It was definitely not a good omen for Brandt fans. At the 6th, he went from semi-rough to a bunker, his first of the week, made bogey and fell to one behind the lead of Adam Scott.
It got better for him and then worse. Much worse.
After making a come-back birdie at the 7th, he was in the rough again at eight, had a bad chip, left his first putt short and was probably lucky to make bogey. At the 9th, he was in a bunker and made another bogey. He made the turn at -7.
“He had a tough day I think around the turn and probably the holes where he was expecting to score well on, he got himself out of position a little bit and it compounded kind of quickly on him,” Adam Scott said about Snedeker’s round, but added that Snedeker was still had a chance in the tournament.
Tiger Woods, meanwhile, started with a bogey—not a good omen for Tiger fans. Woods, who only missed two fairways the first two days, hit his first shot over the par three green, followed with a lousy chip and pulled what looked like a six footer for par. In your mind you thought, uh oh. Bad Tiger is here today.
Then at the third, he missed a putt of similar length. He had fallen to -4.
Guys who were coming in at -5 and -4 started looking good. Calcavecchia was through the 9th at -4. Zach Johnson was through 15 at -4. Ernie Els made birdie at the 7th and went to -5.
Jason Dufner got a ruling when his ball, which was behind a green, moved while he was addressing it. He made double on that hole.
Then, things started to turn around for at least two of the leaders.
Tiger Woods made a miracle putt from 50 feet on the 6th. He dutifully made birdie at the par five 7th. But after all that drama, he was even for the round. He hit a great tee shot to six or seven feet at the 9th, made the birdie putt and turned at -7 for the tournament.
“Considering that I got off to such a bad start, I figured if I could get to 1‑over par or even for the day through the turn, that would have been positive going into the back nine,” Woods said. “I actually happened to turn at 1‑under for the day, which was a bonus.”
Scott meanwhile, birdied the 7th, made a monster putt at the 8th and made the turn at -11.
There were some miracle shots and missed shots coming in.
Scott hit his tee shot into a bunker at the 10th, hacked out, had a long putt for a par and somehow the ball found the bottom of the hole. At the 13th, Woods’ birdie putt just broke away from the hole. He muffed a chip at the 15th. Ernie Els lipped out several birdie putts on the back nine, but he finished -5.
Only Graeme McDowell seemed to gain momentum headed to the 18th. He birdied the 13th, 14th and 17th to pull himself up to -7 and finished in second place. He was also first in at -7 and earned a spot on Adam Scott’s Christmas Card list, because that put him, instead of Woods, into the final group with Scott.
“I wouldn't—it wouldn't bother me.” Scott said when asked what if he had been paired with Tiger Woods. “I've played with him a lot. And there was a circus out there today anyway. Steve ( Williams, Scott’s caddie) actually warned me about how many people are inside the ropes late at an Open, and just having to wait a little longer for the people to walk across the green in front following the group in front today. So I don't think it would have bothered me at all. I would have been happy. I'm just happy to be in this position.”
Woods, as it turned out, made bogey at the 15th and finished at -6 and will be paired with Brandt Snedeker..
Graeme McDowell, who played in the last group at the US Open with Jim Furyk, will play with Scott on Sunday.
He had the best assessment of the task in front of him on Sunday.
“Conditions like today I guess four shots isn’t surmountable in a way because it’ll be in Adam’s hands if conditions are as straight forward as they were today,” he explained. “But throw in a bit of wind across this course like they are forecasting and then all of a sudden he will have to work a lot harder and he will have to go win it.”
As McDowell explained, there’s the matter of catching up to Scott’s score.
“There’s a distinct lack of 65s and 66s on this golf course,” he said, "There really hasn’t been a lot of guys going super low on this golf course. 67 and 68 are great scores. If Adam—four shots ahead— shoots level par I’ve got to shoot 66, and like I said that’s a tough ask on this golf course.”
He said there was a chance the wind would help out those who were behind, but it can always work both ways.
When asked how his ball flight might be affect by windy conditions, Scott wasn’t worried. He was just looking forward to the final round.
“I actually don't think I have a very high ball flight. I can hit it high, but my normal ball flight is not very high,” he said. “If it's very windy, yeah, you've got to bring the ball down a little bit.” He said if it is windy tomorrow afternoon, he will warm up by moving the ball back an inch or two in his stance.
“I don't know what to expect tomorrow. I've not really teed off the last group of the Open before. I'm sure I'm going to be nervous, but it's good nerves and I'm excited. I'm playing well. I'm looking forward to the round.”
The weatherman has forecast wind every day this week. It has yet to materialize.
Kathy Bissell is a Golf Writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand or from official interview materials from the USGA, PGA Tour or PGA of America.