Weather Forces Course Changes
SOUTHPORT, England--You didn't have to get out of bed Saturday morning to realize the weather forecasters got it right: Whipping winds arrived, rattling windows and assuring that the third round of the 137th British Open would be an adventure. One member of our photo staff went out for an early-morning run and resorted to a pronounced lean into the crosswinds to keep from being blown off-course.
The worst of the weather was predicted just before the leaders were set to go off at 2:40 p.m.: Squally showers, some heavy before pushing through, and winds from the northwest at 38 miles per hour gusting to 45-48 mph, with temperatures from 50 to 61 degrees.
Knowing the nasty conditions were on the way, tournament officials single-cut rather than double-cut all greens and moved up tees on three holes:
--The par-4 sixth will play at 486 yards (down from 499). The sixth was the most difficult hole in each of the first two rounds, playing at 4.891 strokes on Thursday and 4.662 on Friday.
--The par-4 11th will play at 358 yards (down from 436). The 11th was the fourth-most difficult hole on Thursday and behind only the sixth on Friday.
--The par-4 16th will play at 371 yards (down from 439), officials choosing to abandon the back tee that was added after the 1998 Open. The 16th ranked fifth and third in difficulty the first two days.
Some players were handling the conditions better than others early Saturday: Andres Romero and Davis Love III were both even par for the day through 10 holes, but Lee Westwood was seven over through 11 holes and 16 over for the championship, last among the 83 cut survivors after three hours of play in the third round.