2013 Open, Round 1: The Kapur Caper
By Torleif Sorenson on 7/18/13

The Tiger Tracker

On Monday, we showed you some of Tiger's predictions about how Muirfield would play this week during the 142nd playing of the Open Championship — Firm, fast, and fiery. Intelligent guy that he is, Woods was right.

After a wicked opening tee-shot that could have gone OB, Tiger was lucky to have just bogeyed the first hole. Like most golfers, Tiger had a see-saw round, bogeying 6 and 14, while getting birdies at 4, 11, and 13. Especially impressive were two dicey putts for birdie at 10 and 17. He was 3-for-3 out of the bunkers. Tiger's 2-under 69 leaves him tied for 9th — not bad for a guy who hasn't played competitive golf in over 30 days.

Not Rory-ing out of the gate

Rory McIlroy hit only five of 14 fairways and had over 30 putts on Thursday at Muirfield.

It is interesting that McIlroy has made the cut in nine of the ten PGA Tour events he has entered this year, marred only by his ugly withdrawal at the Honda. He has one second-place finish (San Antonio) and has earned $1,390,586 so far this season. Most ordinary golfers would be pretty pleased with this kind of season — but we're talking about Rory McIlroy. On Thursday, Colin Montgomerie sized up McIlroy's 2013 as "a lost season."

Rors: Nick Faldo is right. It's time to junk the Nikes and go back to those Titleists.

How to 86 your 6

Charl Schwartzel had a most unpleasant afternoon. After a double at the first, the 2011 Masters champion managed get back to level par at 11. But he bogeyed 12, 13, and 14... and then his tee shot at 15 landed in a spot of bother:

That was a six-iron.

They need a hug, too

Phil Mickelson wasn't much happier; at the par-5 17th, he said he tried to lag his first putt — and it finished six feet past the hole. Lefty got in with a 2-under 69, but suggested that as much as one-third of many of the greens were either dead or dying, and then let the R&A have it:
"I got very lucky to play early today because as the day wore on and we got to the back nine, about a third of every green started to die and become brown. And the pins were very edgy, on the slopes. The guys that played early had a huge, huge break. Because even without any wind, it's beyond difficult.
Mickelson then had some choice words for R&A chief Peter Dawson:
"We've got (to) let go of our ego sometimes and just set the course up the way the best players can win."
Amongst other players, Adam Scott described the 18th green as "borderline," Graeme McDowell spoke similarly, while Lee Westwood broadly hinted that it was unfair. Ian Poulter wasn't far behind in noting that with the wind and heat, the course conditions got out of control in the afternoon:

The R&A responded by watering all of the greens after play ended.

Blasts from the past

1998 Open champion Mark O'Meara, now 56 years old, carded five birds on the opening nine, got dented with bogeys at 10, 14, and 15, but made eagle at the 17th to get in with a 4-under 67, tied for 2nd with Spanish newcomer Rafael Cabrera-Bello. 1996 champion Tom Lehman (54 years old) had a similar round, offsetting two bogeys at 1 and 8 with five birdies, to get in with a 68, tied for 4th with Miguel Angel Jiminez, Dustin Johnson, and Brandt Snedeker.

The other big names

The current Masters champion, Adam Scott had four birdies and four bogeys to shoot a level-par 71. Martin Kaymer, Jason Dufner, Tim Clark, Lee Westwood, Hunter Mahan, and the aforementioned Ian Poulter are at +1. The defending Open champion, Ernie Els, is at +3.

The Kapur Kaper

Admit it: You have never heard of Shiv Kapur. We had not either, before today. The New Delhi native torched the first nine, getting birdies at 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7. He needed those birdies, too, since he doubled the 10th and bogeyed 14. With 14 of 18 greens-in-regulation, Kapur nicely fits into the "unknown who has a great first round" category, which we're so used to seeing at the U.S. Open. He's T-4 with a 68.

The leader

The stud of the day was Zach Johnson, who suffered only one bogey (at 14) and got four birdies, along with an eagle at the par-5 5th. He has the solo lead with a 5-under 66. Johnson also described Muirfield as awfully tough, pointing out how many of the greens were "glazed" from all the foot traffic and the lack of water.

Johnson will now do something he has never done in his professional career: Sleep on a lead at a major.

Friday's weather

The winds should be only 5 to 10 m.p.h. from the east, with a high temperature of 72° F. No rain is in the forecast.


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[ comments ]
legitimatebeef says:
Judging by Shwartzel's snapped club, that must be some firm turf.
mjaber says:
Oosthuizen WD again? Didn't he do the same at the US Open?
mustang6560 says:
mjaber: Yes. And he missed the cut at Augusta.
[ post comment ]
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