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Tag:british thursday
Posted on: July 14, 2011 11:28 am
 

Laughs that make the hurt go away, sorta

SANDWICH, England -- Sometimes, laughter is the best medicine.

British Open leader Thomas Bjorn has quite a history at Royal St. George's, having blown a three-shot lead with four holes to play to lose the title in 2003. He shot 65 in the first round Thursday and spent much of his interviews talking about the '03 debacle.

At the time, his caddie tried to make light of the circumstances of Bjorn's disastrous finish by making his boss laugh at himself, which is rarely a bad idea, depending on how thin a player's skin might be.

Veteran Billy Foster, Bjorn's looper at the time and now the caddie for Lee Westwood, was in a bar at the Irish Open with Bjorn, Darren Clarke and Westwood a matter of days after the 2003 setback when he asked his boss a question, a discussion that generated huge laughs when it was repeated in the London Daily Mail this week.

Foster asked his boss, "Have you seen the draw sheet?"

"No, who are we paired with?" Bjorn said.

"With Doug Sanders and Jean van de Velde," Foster deadpanned.

For those with short memories, those two guys blew the British Open in 1970 and 1999, respectively.
Category: Golf
Posted on: July 14, 2011 10:31 am
 

Fan favorite Donald can't find an English edge

SANDWICH, England -- Luke Donald is wearing his world ranking on the scoreboard.

Unfortunately, it's written in black ink, not red.

The reigning world No. 1 shot a 1-over 71 on Thursday at Royal St. George's and was unable to ride the energy from his partisan countrymen in the first round and finds himself six shots off the early lead.

Donald has won three times globally in 2011, including last weekend at the Scottish Open, and had evolved into the pre-tournament favorite. In fact, after the Scottish win, the betting line moved steadily toward his favor and away from Rory McIlroy.

No Englishman has won a major since Nick Faldo in 1996, and he was later knighted by the queen. A similar reception, at least from the crowd, would await the current No. 1 if he ended the drought in Kent, located two hours from London.

"Obviously you hear a few shouts from the crowd, No. 1, and "congrats" and stuff like that," Donald said. "You try and draw from all the good stuff that got you to No. 1. 

"But no, I haven't really thought about playing this week. It doesn't feel that much different."

Category: Golf
Posted on: July 14, 2011 9:54 am
 

Rory and Rickie are Open's dynamic duo

SANDWICH, England -- For Generation Next, or whatever the demographers and sociologists are calling them, it was the day's marquee pairing.

Planted alongside 41-year-old Ernie Els were two of the game's greatest prospects, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler, both already veterans of Ryder Cup play.

Right from the start, they delivered some goosebumps and fare to compare. On the firwst hole, the two youngsters blew the ball over the green, both balls coming to rest about a foot apart and 30 yards from the pin.

Fowler rapped his putt into the hole, drawing huge applause, and McIlroy started quite a bit slower by three-putting from the fringe for par.

By the time they finished, Fowler shot 70 and shaded the Northern Irishman by a stroke. Els finished with a 2-over 72.

"Having a good time, yeah," Fowler said. "It was a fun pairing. Rory and I always enjoy playing together, and it's always fun to play with Ernie. But when you're playing well, hitting good shots and getting off to a good start, it's not too hard to have a good time."

Though they are but kids as professionals, the American and Ulsterman go back a ways.

"First time Rory and I played together we played alternate shot match in Walker Cup in Northern Ireland [in 2007]," Fowler said.

No question, the fans were feeding off their youthful vigor, lousy weather notwithstanding. After McIlroy's record-shattering win at the U.S. Open last month, the gallery was hot on their heels all day. Comparatively speaking, the tally following leader Thomas Bjorn was downright paltry.

"Obviously they're cheering on Rory," Fowler said. "It has a feeling like he's a hero over here now. Obviously he's had a pretty big impact and impressive playing recently, and obviously at the U.S. Open. 

"So it's fun to play alongside him. I've always enjoyed it, and definitely feel like the crowd was definitely in his favor today."
 
Might stay that way for years. Unless Fowler can steal some of his thunder.

Category: Golf
Posted on: July 14, 2011 9:31 am
 

Fowler in front row for Rorymania

SANDWICH, England -- For Generation Next, or whatever the demographers and sociologists are calling them, it was the day's marquee pairing at the British Open.

Planted alongside 41-year-old Ernie Els at Royal St. George's on Thursday were two of the game's greatest prospects, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler, both already veterans of Ryder Cup play.

Right from the start, they delivered some goosebumps and fare to compare. On the firwst hole, the two youngsters blew the ball over the green, both balls coming to rest about a foot apart and 30 yards from the pin.

Fowler rapped his putt into the hole, drawing huge applause, and McIlroy started quite a bit slower by three-putting from the fringe for par.

By the time they finished, Fowler shot 70 and shaded the Northern Irishman by a stroke. Els finished with a 2-over 72.

"Having a good time, yeah," Fowler said. "It was a fun pairing. Rory and I always enjoy playing together, and it's always fun to play with Ernie. But when you're playing well, hitting good shots and getting off to a good start, it's not too hard to have a good time."

Though they are but kids as professionals, the American and Ulsterman go back a ways.

"First time Rory and I played together we played alternate shot match in Walker Cup in Northern Ireland [in 2007]," Fowler said.

No question, the fans were feeding off their youthful vigor, lousy weather notwithstanding. After McIlroy's record-shattering win at the U.S. Open last month, the gallery was hot on their heels all day. Comparatively speaking, the tally following leader Thomas Bjorn was downright paltry.

"Obviously they're cheering on Rory," Fowler said. "It has a feeling like he's a hero over here now. Obviously he's had a pretty big impact and impressive playing recently, and obviously at the U.S. Open. 

"So it's fun to play alongside him. I've always enjoyed it, and definitely feel like the crowd was definitely in his favor today."
 
Might stay that way for years. Unless Fowler can steal some of his thunder.

Category: Golf
Posted on: July 14, 2011 9:17 am
Edited on: July 14, 2011 9:19 am
 

Johnson needs seatbelt during even-par Open

SANDWICH, England -- The best way to frame it, not that there were a ton of options, is to note that Dustin Johnson managed two pars over his final 10 holes in the first round of the British Open.

Somehow, usually in the most spectacular way, the lanky American managed to finish with a level-par 70 at tricky Royal St. George's.

The theme-park ride began on the back nine, where Johnson had skied to a 4-over start and was seemingly destined for a jet out of town a day later. Then he birdied Nos. 14 and 15 to get some semblance of momentum going.

Then he executed the shot of the day when he aced the 163-yard 16th.

"We needed to make a few birdies at least," Johnson said. "Standing on 14, I wanted to make a few birdies and give myself a chance to get back in this thing. If you would have bet me money that I would be 1-under standing on the 18th tee, I would have taken it."

The bet, he means. Not the money. Because that's exactly what happened. After the ace, he birdied the 17th to move to red numbers overall, but then bogeyed the last for a 70.

He wasn't exactly giddy afterward, for less-obvious reasons.

"I'm not very excited at all," he said. "I'm going to go home and sleep. I'm not feeling all that well, so a little bit under the weather. My glands are all swollen. I don't know, I've got some kind of infection. I'm on some antibiotics, so hopefully it'll go away."

Despite a wild ride, Johnson didn't go away Thursday after all.

Category: Golf
 
 
 
 
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