O'Malley: Reactions to Birkdale's Bite
SOUTHPORT, England -- How tough was it Thursday in the opening round of the British Open? Some selected comments:
Boo Weekley (80): "If this is summer, I couldn't live here."
Retief Goosen (71): "I don't mind tough conditions. In a way you feel that maybe half of the field is sort of not trying anymore."
Lee Westwood (75): "You'd like to go and have a bath and watch people struggle on the TV. I'm afraid that doesn't work. I have to go and figure it out myself." (On the sixth hole, Westwood marked, lifted and replaced his ball on the green, but before he could play his next stroke, his ball was blown down a slope in front of the green. Westwood had to play the ball from its new position, off the green, but holed the chip shot for a bogey 5.)
Vijay Singh (80): "It was miserable, miserable, miserable weather. . . . I didn't play badly."
Heath Slocum (73), who got into the field when Toru Taniguchi withdrew because of a back injury: "I didn't pack appropriately."
Ian Poulter (72), when asked if the conditions were the toughest he'd ever experienced in the Open: "No. Saturday at Muirfield in '02 [when Tiger Woods' Grand Slam bid ended with an 81]. We all remember that one, don't we? That was a lot worse than this, but it lasted only nine holes."
Padraig Harrington (74): "I think I had 88 yards on the par-5 15th, and as it turned out, I thought I was being clever hitting 9-iron. I probably should have hit 8-iron. There were other shots out there, 170 yards, and you're saying, 'Well, I can't get there with 4-iron; I have to hit 3-iron.' . . . It was a big golf course today."
David Duval (73), on keeping the ball low, including while making a birdie-3 at the 346-yard fifth hole: "Frankly, there's no other way to play today. . . . I hit it really low off the tee with a 2-iron, hit it six feet off the ground with a 6-iron, and it rolled onto the green."
Mike Weir (71), when asked to compare his round with a second-round 71 at Carnoustie in 1999 after opening with an 83: "Pretty similar. I probably played a little better in that round in Carnoustie, given the circumstances after an awful first round."
Justin Rose (74): "You can't feel the putter, and there's no feel."
Colin Montgomerie (73), saying a higher power was at work: "Unfortunately, He's in charge, and He messed up today."