A look back at the opening round of the British Open. Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy put himself into the record books with a score of 63. Not far behind was Tiger Woods (67) — who was among the many taking advantage of the favorable weather conditions early in the day on the Old Course at St. Andrews.
Player of the day
Last year, Scotland’s Andrew Coltart was an on-course commentator for the BCC, following Tom Watson in his magical opening round at Turnberry. This year, Coltart traded his headset for his clubs and posted a 66. “It’s great because it really inspires you again,” Coltart, 40, told reporters of his TV experience. “You’re on the other side of the ropes. You’re watching the golf from a different perspective. You know, you want to be there.” Playing with John Daly (66), Coltart joked that he was hitting 5-irons into greens while Daly was hitting wedges. Coltart averaged 303 yards per drive to Daly’s 324.
How much tougher did the Old Course play as the day went on? Of the first 51 players who teed off, 24 broke 70. Of the final 51 who teed off, only six broke 70. Players who teed off before 10 a.m. averaged 70.3. Players who teed off after 3 p.m. averaged 74.8. Among those who played in the afternoon and bucked the trend were Peter Hanson (66) and Lee Westwood (67), who showed no ill effects of a foot injury. Among the quality players victimized by late tee times were Jim Furyk (77), Justin Leonard (76) and Phil Mickelson (73).
Players from the U.S. have won 11 of the last 15 British Opens. But of the 29 who shot 68 or better in the opening round, players from the British Isles outnumbered Americans 10-6, with many surprising names, including Irishman Shane Lowry (68) and Brits Steven Tiley (66), Robert Rock (68) and Ross McGowan (68). While three of the six U.S. players who shot 68 or better have won majors, none of the British Isles players have done so.