2010 British Open: St. Andrews Loses Her Bite

Ron FurlongAnalyst IIJuly 16, 2010

ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - JULY 15:  Tiger Woods of the USA tees off on the third hole during the first round of the 139th Open Championship on the Old Course, St Andrews on July 15, 2010 in St Andrews, Scotland.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The grand old lady was in a good mood on Thursday. The Old Course at St. Andrews doesn't often feel charitable, but she did for round one of the British Open.

"Today felt awkward," Tiger Woods said after his round of 67. "You never play a links course with no wind and so you knew you had to take advantage of that."

The Old Course relies on wind to help keep her from getting destroyed by the best golfers in the world. Normally, wind on the Scottish east coast is not a problem. On Thursday, at least for the first several hours of play, the wind was nowhere to be found.

Perhaps Tom Watson described it best, "The old lady had no clothes on today," the 60-year-old said of St. Andrews' lack of bite. Watson fired a one over 73, unable, like many, who went out in the morning to shoot a low number.

Without wind and rain, it may as well be target practice for the world's best golfers.

Of the 84 golfers who teed off before noon on Thursday, only 25 of them were above par.

Compare the reactions of two golfers: one, Rory McIlroy, who went out in the morning and shot a major tying record round of 63 in route to his leading score of 9 under. The other, Phil Mickelson, who played later in the day and shot a one over 73.

"It was a very pleasant round of golf," Rory said sheepishly.

Mickelson said nothing. He refused interview requests in a very un-Mickelson like manner.

Lee Westwood, who managed a 67 on a bum leg, described the course as "defenseless."

Others used words like passive, serene, and toothless.

Friday's forecast looks much more St. Andrews-like; wind and rain expected.

The old lady is set to put her clothes back on.