British Open 2014 Results: Biggest Winners and Losers from Day 3
Saturday was a great day of British Open golf at Royal Liverpool. Youngsters took over the leaderboard, schedules made sense and new names were allowed to shine. (Literally.)
Of course, if you're an American who slept in a bit, you likely missed it all. Due to the weather forecast, the third round was bunched up so that it could be completed quickly.
With all of the biggest names in the sport playing at Hoylake at once, there was a lot of drama happening everywhere. Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia were able to put a little bit of pressure on Rory McIlroy, McIlroy showed his nerves of steel by finishing strongly and Tiger Woods collapsed once again.
If you didn't catch the action live, have no fear. Here are all of the winners and losers from moving day at the Open Championship.
For what felt like the first time ever, the organizers of a big-time sporting event looked at the weather forecast, took it seriously and made schedule adjustments accordingly. What a novel idea!
There were a lot of thunderstorms in the forecast for the British Open on Saturday, and that is the one thing that golfers aren't allowed to play through, for good reason.
So the tournament adjusted the schedule to make sure that they did everything in their power to get the third round completed on Saturday. The groups were expanded from two to three, and for the first time in the 143-year history of the Open Championship, there was a two-tee start.
While this put viewers at a disadvantage, giving both the crowds at Royal Liverpool and the audience at home a lot less golf to watch, it did prioritize fairness to all players. The weather was rainy but far from destructive, and all of the rounds were completed early on Saturday.
It was great to see leaders take the initiative instead of waiting idly by for the worst-case scenario to unfold.
Loser: Ivor Robson's Bragging Rights
Ivor Robson has become a legend in golf circles over the past 40 years with his singsong announcing of golfer's names from the first tee at the British Open.
This year, for the first time, Robson's workday looked rather unimpressive, as the scheduling changes bunched up the groups and sent half of the starters to the 10th tee. He only had to work for a couple of hours, and then he got to actually go watch some golf!
Brendan Porath of SB Nation looked at Robson's usual workdays:
Robson, the legendary voice and starter of this major championship, has been a part of the British Open for 40 years and this is the first time he'll get a half day. He's usually posted up on the first tee for the 10-plus hours of tee times for the first two rounds, and about seven hours of rolling tee times on the weekend.
With the last-minute scheduling change, European Tour official Mike Stewart was called in to call the names on the 10th tee. He lacked Robson's flair, but certainly got the job done.
Winner: Rory McIlroy's Par Saves
Rory McIlroy has done a lot of great things throughout the first three days of the Open Championship—that's how he got to 16 under par and goes into the final day with a lead of six strokes.
But while his flashy eagles on 16 and 18 will make the highlight reels, it was his par saves that were the most impressive in this round, particularly on the front nine.
The 25-year-old started off shaky, getting a bogey on the first hole. He was in danger of bogeying the second as well, but a clutch par putt saved him from giving up more ground. He went on to shoot six more pars and one birdie on the first nine, setting himself up nicely for a late surge on the back nine. Who knows where his nerves would have taken him if he hadn't stayed steady at the start.
Pars will be key for McIlroy on Sunday, as he goes for his third major title.
It was not a great day for the veterans of the PGA Tour, as the 35-and-under crowd took over the leaderboard.
Phil Mickelson didn't have a terrible Saturday, but a one-under-par round wasn't nearly enough to put him into the conversation for a repeat on Sunday.
After barely making the cut on Friday, Tiger Woods went backwards on Saturday, shooting a double bogey and a triple on his first nine holes to finish at one-over on the day, three over for the Championship.
All in all, the average age of the guys on the Top 10 on the leaderboard is 31. There are only two guys in that group who are over 35—Robert Karlsson and Jim Furyk, both 44. The kids are officially taking over.
Winner: The Bromance of Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler
For the third day in a row, Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia were paired together on the course. And, for a third day in a row, the two spurred each other to great rounds. They both shot under par, and now Fowler is at 10 under and Garcia is at nine under for the Championship.
After his round on Friday, Fowler talked to reporters about how much fun he has playing with Garcia. Via ASAP Sports:
Well, Sergio and I, we've become really good buddies, and we've played a lot together. We've been paired together numerous times over the past year, year and a half. So we've enjoyed playing together. It always seems like the two of us play well when we're in the group. And he seems like, I swear, scoring average is 68 or better, the rounds we've played together. We enjoy it. It's good company. It's definitely nice when you can have a good chat. The two of us are playing well, and you can kind of keep feeding off each other.
Garcia echoed this sentiment, saying that he and Fowler have become "quite close" this year.
Unfortunately, the two won't be paired together tomorrow. Fowler will be in the final group with McIlroy, and Garcia will tee off right before him with Dustin Johnson. Hopefully they'll still both bring their form and put some pressure on McIlroy.
Loser: Birdie Tries on the Seventh Hole
The seventh hole has been a doozy throughout the Championship, and that didn't change at all on Saturday.
The 480-yard par four is currently ranked as the hardest hole on the course, with a scoring average of nearly 4.4. There have only been 20 birdies, as opposed to 140 bogeys (or worse) on the hole throughout three days of play.
The leaders on Saturday didn't fare well on the hole, either. Rickie Fowler hit his only bogey of the front nine there. Dustin Johnson, Edoardo Molinari, Charl Schwartzel and Matteo Manassero lost a stroke on the hole as well. Victor Dubuisson was the only guy in the top 10 to come away with a birdie on the hole.
Winner: Bob Torrance Tributes
If you were paying close attention to hats on Saturday, you might have noticed that many of the golfers, including Tiger Woods, had black ribbons attached to theirs.
The ribbon is in honor of Bob Torrance, an influential golf instructor and the father of former European Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance. Bob passed away on Friday at the age of 82 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Jay Busbee of Yahoo looked at what Bob Torrance meant to the pros:
Torrance taught a wide range of European players, including three-time major winner Padraig Harrington and current European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley. He also apparently once watched Rory McIlroy and declared that he could do nothing for McIlroy, and refused to teach him.
'Bob is the best swing coach in the world,' Harrington said after winning his second Open Championship.
In addition to the commemorative ribbons, many players—including Sergio Garcia—tweeted their condolences to the Torrance family. It was nice to see the golf community honor Bob on Saturday.
Loser: Francesco Molinari
Francesco Molinari did not have the day he had hoped for. The Italian started the day in the final pairing with Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, but went on to shoot three over par, one of the worst rounds of the day. Three of his bogeys came in the first three holes, immediately taking him out of contention.
His older brother Edoardo fared far better, although his starting position wasn't as kind. He shot four under par in his round to go to seven-under for the Championship. He is tied for sixth heading into Sunday and will play in the third-to-last group with Frenchman Victor Dubuisson.
It's been quite an eventful week for the Molinari brothers.
Francesco, 31, and Edoardo, 33, both made appearances on the front page of the leaderboard at the end of the first day of British Open play, finishing the first round tied for third at four under par.
It's popular to complain about the broadcasting of sporting events, and most of the time that criticism is very just. But it's also important to give credit where credit is due.
ESPN did a great job of covering the third round of the British Open on Saturday, adjusting their live window on the fly to accommodate the earlier schedule and keeping up with the busy course while remaining focused on the leaders.
It was particularly surprising that they hardly ever mentioned Tiger Woods. With the adjusted schedule, even though Woods just made the cut, he was teeing off at the same time as the leaders, albeit on the back nine.
Thankfully, instead of frequently cutting to an out-of-contention Woods just because he was there, ESPN referred viewers to its Tiger-only stream on ESPN3 and stuck with the golfers who were relevant to this tournament.
Kudos to Mike Tirico and his crew. This was a well-handled broadcast day. It was a shame that the action ended too early for West Coast golf fans to enjoy it live, but hopefully they'll enjoy the replay.
Loser: Final Sunday Drama
For a while on Saturday, it looked like Sunday was shaping up to be a classic, as Rory McIlroy gutted out pars while Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia and others chased him down.
That didn't quite pan out, though. McIlroy heads into Sunday with a six-shot lead, and now the odds for high drama on the final day of the Open Championship are slim. It all happened very quickly, too.
As freelance journalist Simon Cambers tweeted, McIlroy was tied for the lead with Fowler at 2:15 p.m. and five shots ahead less than an hour later. Brutal.
The big swing happened on the back nine, when McIlroy birdied No. 14 and eagled 16 and 18, while Fowler bogeyed 14, 16 and 17. As Coleman McDowell of Golf Magazine wrote, "For a moment, we had ourselves a golf tournament. Now it looks like a coronation."
McIlroy has won both of his majors by eight strokes, and it's looking like he'll run away with this one as well. Of course, it's the British Open, so anything can happen. Last year, Phil Mickelson came back from five strokes back to win the Claret Jug on the final day.