In theory, a classic round of golf for three average players on a regular course should take about 4.5 hours. In Saint Andrews, an anything but ordinary place in an exceptional tournament, the game lasts much longer. See you Thursday 6:10 a.m. for the part of Tiger Woods, Max Homa and Matt Fitzpatrick.
Started at 6:35 AM, the first round of The Open ended at 10:20 PM. Shortly after the aforementioned trio made their final putt, as night fell on Fife. Fitzpatrick, a little drunk after his 72: “Billy (Foster, his caddy) warned me that the game is particularly long in Saint Andrews. But still, it’s just a joke, right? Playing in 6:10 should never happen in golf. »
In the particular case of Saint Andrews, it was hard to blame the players and there was no slow play penalty on Thursday. Between the shared greens, the intersecting holes, the minutes pass quickly. Concrete example with the 1-18 crossing with the play of Ernie Els, who had to wait more than five minutes behind the green of 18 after his last putt, instead of going straight to the shot. Very easy to get Woods and his two friends off to a quiet start on the tee of 1.
But especially the many par 4s that can be reached in one stroke (including 9, 10, 12 and 18) and the par 5s that can be reached in two strokes are a problem. Due to the strength of the current players and the hardness of the ground, the waiting times at the beginning of the holes can be up to 15 or even 20 minutes. Add to that some deep bunkers like tombs and huge greens conducive to 3-putts, which is why this North Sea link is the longest to play in The Open rotation.
Patience and acceptance
Collin Morikawa struggled to integrate this particular “game pace”, he playing his first Open in the cradle of golf. “I thought it would be slow, but not so slow, declared the defending champion, author of a 72 after a 10:58 am start.. We waited on the tees and then the fairways. xander (Schulele) and I talked about it. We have never watched so much golf. You stand on the fairway and see two other groups playing golf. That’s part of the problem this week, you have to be patient and make sure you don’t rush your photos. »
“We all know Saint Andrews is played like this with 156 players. also said a fatalist Rory McIlroy who, when he left in the morning, needed 5:43 am to complete his first lap. We play, we stop… But on the weekend it will be better, with two players’ matches. »