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Luke Donald scored two shots better on Friday (2-under 68) with a fill-in caddie than he did with his regular looper on the bag in Thursday’s opening round.
The world No. 1 said on Twitter that he was letting John McLaren take a break from his duties to “welcome his 1st child into the world.” Taking McLaren’s spot on Donald’s bag was Gareth Lord, the regular luggage handler for Robert Karlsson, who cited “bad habits” in his game as the reason for withdrawing from this week’s major.
Lord and Donald teamed up at last year’s Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Disney World, where Donald ran up six consecutive birdies on the back nine on his way to a 64 and the win, which led to his becoming the only golfer to clinch the money titles on the PGA and European Tours in the same season.
Friday, Donald made five birdies, including three in a row on his front nine, and told Sky Sports he told McLaren to “not to rush” his return.
"For me that was an important thing in my life to be around for [the birth of a child], especially your first one, and enjoy that experience,” Donald said. "But I know what he's like. He's very passionate about his job, as well, and he'll get back here when he's ready.”
Turns out that Donald, McLaren, and Lord were rooming together this week so when Karlsson withdrew his bagman was available.
“It worked out well and obviously I’ve got some history with Lordy, having caddied for me at Disney,” Donald said, “so it was an easy transition.”
With Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, and the rest of the afternoon wave early into their rounds, Donald was in a share of ninth place -- eight shots back of clubhouse leader Brandt Snedeker.
In the meantime, McLaren’s wife Helen gave birth on Thursday.
“Congratulations John & Helen on your new arrival Georgina Elizabeth,” Donald tweeted.
Adam Scott's record-tying first round at the 2012 British Open was good enough to get him the lead after the first day at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. But he's not nearly clear of a pack that tore up the course on Thursday.
Scott's 6-under 64 in the first round has him just one shot ahead of Zach Johnson, Paul Lawrie and Nicolas Colsaerts, all of whom fired 5-under 65s. Brandt Snedeker is alone in fifth at 4-under, and then come eight players who got around in 3-under on Thursday, including former Open Championship winners Tiger Woods and Ernie Els, 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson and U.S. Open champions Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.
That bodes ill for Scott: He has seven top-10s at majors but no wins, and has been cited as one of the better players on the PGA Tour to never claim a major championship.
Players who can't get into whispering distance of red numbers when Friday's second round may not see the weekend. The cut at the British Open includes the top 70 players and ties, and the projected cut line for the 2012 British Open is currently 1-over, where 41 players sit, tied for 54th.
For a complete live leaderboard, visit Golf.com.
The interminable first day at the 2012 British Open is in the books and Aussie Adam Scott maintains his one-shot lead at 6-under par. Some of the treacherous weather forecasted for Royal Lytham held off on Thursday and the field took advantage of the favorable conditions by posting plenty of red numbers.
After wandering for a lengthy stretch of his twenties, Scott's game has re-emerged over the past two seasons. While a lot of the headlines have been made by his caddie, Scott has consistently been in contention, including at the major championships. He's been knocking on the door of his first career major win, but has yet to break through. He carded eight birdies on Thursday in an early round that finished with a bogey on the "sea of sand" 18th hole.
A trio of players stand one shot back of Scott at 5-under. The one American in that group is Zach Johnson, who fired a 5-under 65 fresh off his win at the John Deere last week. Johnson is another player who spent the first half of the season on fire, clinching two wins and several top-five finishes. Nicolas Colsaerts and Paul Lawrie join him at 5-under. This is just the second major appearance for Colsaerts, but he's also been hot this season, picking up a win in the Volvo World Match Play Championship in May. Lawrie has had a relatively quiet career since he captured the '99 Open Championship as the benefactor of the Jean van de Velde catastrophe. The Scot did have a good showing at this year's Masters, however.
Royal Lytham historically produces a champion who is one of the game's greats, or at least one of the top-ranked players in the world at the time. That could be the case again this year, as the leaderboard is littered with superstars in the top 10 at 3-under. Tiger Woods headlines that group, joined by fellow major champions Ernie Els, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson.
For a complete live leaderboard, visit Golf.com.
Most of the notables have finished their opening round in the 2012 British Open on Thursday. While Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy finished strong at 3-under, just a few strokes off the pace set by current leader Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson had a shaky start and is continuing less-than-stellar play that he has exhibited in the last few months.
Mickelson finished his opening round on Thursday by shooting a 3-over. He settled down and made par over his last six holes, but he bogeyed four times on his front nine. He suffered through a backbreaking stretch of three straight bogeys, beginning with a double-bogey on the par-5 seventh hole.
Mickelson will try to regroup and regain some ground on Friday.
The first round of the 2012 British Open is nearly at an end on Thursday in Lancashire, England. The current leader is Adam Scott, who closed out his opening round with a stellar 6-under; a score that would be even better were it not for a pair of bogeys on holes three and 18.
Close behind Scott are a trio of golfers tied at 5-under in Paul Lawrie, Zach Johnson and Nicholas Colsaerts. Lawrie and Johnson have wrapped up their rounds for the day, but Colsaerts is only through 17 holes and has an opportunity to tie Scott for the lead.
Tiger Woods finished his round at 3-under and is tied with seven other golfers for fifth place, including Ernie Els and Bubba Watson.
When you’re crawling around on your knees trying to find your golf ball in the deepest of deep rough, you can pretty much kiss your round goodbye. Phil Mickelson, who deployed a search-and-rescue mission to find his ball on the eighth hole, can certainly relate.
It hasn’t been a comfortable start to Mickelson’s 2012 British Open Championship, what with three balls in the junk, an unplayable, a double-bogey and three bogeys for an outgoing 3-over-par 37. He found the nasty fescue for the first time on the third hole, and on the seventh, he and caddie Jim Mackay had an animated discussion about whether to take a drop and a penalty shot.
"I could be in here forever if I don’t take an unplayable," Mickelson said to his long-time bagman. "It’s possible it won’t come out ... I don’t want to hurt myself."
After Mackay ended up talking his man out of the drop, Mickelson skidded his next shot into the rough across the fairway. His result on what had been playing as the easiest hole on the course: double-bogey 7.
A fuming Mickelson then hit his tee shot from the eighth with an iron to the front of a pot bunker. His second shot carried the steep face of the sand but plugged in even juicier stuff atop the bunker. After much digging around, aided by an army of volunteers that included playing partner Luke Donald, Lefty finally found his ball embedded. He got no relief, however, since it was nowhere near the closely mown areas from which golfers may take drops without penalty.
A "good" bogey later, and it was on to the par-3 ninth, where Mickelson flew the green from the tee and ended up with yet another bogey. Mickelson finally made something happen on the 10th, when a birdie putt from just off the front of the green found the bottom of the cup.
With the winds calm and the skies relatively clear, a number of golfers are posting under-par scores in the first round of the 2012 British Open, including a pair of former major tournament winners.
Graeme McDowell and Bubba Watson are both in the clubhouse at 3-under through 18-holes, currently tied for fourth with four other golfers.
"There's been so much chat about how bad the weather's going to be, how unplayable the course is, and it was kind of weird to be out there this morning in shirt sleeves and looking at four-, five- and six-under par," McDowell said.
Watson, known for being a free-swinging risk taker, had only one bogey on the day and told the media after his round he was happy with how he was able to play conservatively and stick to his gameplan coming into the Open.
Meanwhile, defending champion Darren Clarke was brutal on his Thursday round, posting 76 that included seven bogies and just one birdie. It's unlikely he will be playing into the weekend with so much ground to make up.
Tiger Woods got off to a solid start with four birdies in his first seven holes and had not missed a fairway and only three greens well into Thursday’s first round at Royal Lytham. And then he got to the 15th tee and after one errant shot, faced the possibility of playing himself out of the 2012 British Open.
As if to prove his pre-tourney complaint that England’s record-breaking wet weather had made the dreaded rough “almost unplayable,” Woods’ errant tee shot found the deep, wispy fescue with the treacherous soggy grass underneath. Again, as if on cue, Woods stood in the knee-high fescue and took a mighty swipe at the ball, which, after the lush, sodden grasses and vines caught his iron’s shaft and hossel and shut the club face, moved maybe 120 yards, but farther left into the same gunge.
If the analysts at ESPN were right, It looked like curtains for Woods’ chances to win his 15th major.
“He can really hurt his chances here,” Paul Azinger said as Woods surveyed his next shot from the deep stuff. “This is a big moment. ... It’s early on but this may be one of those moment when you look back on the week and ask is this where it all went away.”
Perhaps if Woods comes up one shot short on Sunday, he’ll point to Thursday’s adventure on 15 as the reason. But despite Curtis Strange opining that “there’s not much you can do” from where the ball resided in about five inches of healthy grass below the wispy fescue, Woods wound up with a massive back swing and made a steep, hard swing with a short follow-through and muscled the ball onto the green.
“The rough actually grabbed the shaft and turned it down, it didn’t get to the hossel part of it it, grabbed the shaft, so I didn’t have a chance,” Woods told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi after his round. “The first [lie] was worse. [The second] one was decent. I felt like I could at least get to the front edge of the green.”
That he did, and though he could not sink the long par putt, he would have to consider a five to be a good bogey after his errant tee shot. Three tidy pars to finish put Woods at 3-under 67 -- just three shots back of morning-wave leader Adam Scott, who flirted with a 62.
“I’m right there,” Woods said. “I’m only three back. Adam played a beautiful round of golf today and I’m right there.”
Scott, with Woods’ former caddie Steve Williams on the bag, knew he needed a birdie on the 18th to post the lowest-ever score in a major. He pulled his tee shot into the rough, however, and had to settle for a bogey and a 64.
Woods’ 67 by the way, was the same opening score he posted in 2006 at Hoylake, which just happens to be the last time he won an Open Championship.
Tiger Woods started his quest for major number 15 on a positive note Thursday at the 2012 British Open, firing a 3-under 67 and placing himself in a tie for fourth place.
His round started with a birdie at the par-3 first hole to quickly reach red numbers, followed by three additional birdies to close out his front nine with a 30. At that time Woods was tied for the lead with Adam Scott, who also put on a show of his own. Woods would struggle slightly on his back nine, however, recording eight pars and one bogie on the par-4 No. 15 hole at Royal Lytham after getting caught-up in heavy rough.
What was most impressive about his opening round was Woods' ability to keep the ball in play. Tiger hit all but one fairway during his round (13/14, 93 percent) and managed to hit 15 out of 18 greens in regulation (83 percent). Both statistics were better than the rest of his fellow competitors in the field, and by a wide margin (63 and 59 percent, respectively).
The first round of the 2012 British Open is well underway as most players started their rounds while many of us in the United States were sleeping. Adam Scott has emerged as the first round leader with a stellar 6-under score of 64 Thursday; however, a few familiar faces are hot on his heels, including one Tiger Woods.
Scott was on pace to shoot the lowest round in major tournament history before slipping a bit on his final two holes of the day en route to his 64. His round consisted of eight birdies overall, but a bogie on his final hole may leave a sour taste in his mouth leading into Friday's second round.
Woods had a taste of the lead early in his round but fell back in the pack ever so slightly. He is currently playing No. 16 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes and currently stands at 3-under for the tournament. Paul Lawrie and Zach Johnson are tied for second position after a pair of 65's, while former major-winner Graeme McDowell holds steady in fourth position at 4-under par.
2012's edition of the British Open tees off in the wee hours of Thursday morning, but fans will still be able to get live Open Championship golf via online streams and television.
ESPN will begin coverage from Royal Lytham & St. Annes at 4:30 a.m. Eastern, but ESPN3 will have live streaming golf from the Nos. 9-11 holes on the course and more comprehensive coverage starting at 4:00 a.m. Eastern. ESPN3 adds streaming coverage from the No. 1 and No. 18 holes at 5:00 a.m. Eastern, not quite in time to see the first swings of a slew of prominent golfers. Three-time British Open champion Tiger Woods, 2012 Masters winner Bubba Watson and defending Open Championship champion Darren Clarke all tee off in the 4:00 a.m. Eastern hour.
ESPN's TV coverage will last most of the day, with live coverage lasting from 4 a.m. to 3 p.m. on ESPN, followed by a recap show from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and select highlights from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ESPN3 will mirror ESPN's live coverage until 3 p.m.
The 2012 British Open tees off on Thursday, but it'll be a really early morning for those Americans who want to catch the action from Royal Lytham and St. Annes live. The first and second day British Open pairings are set, but what groups are really worth watching?
The most obvious must-see group for the avid golf fan includes both 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson and world No. 3 Lee Westwood, still in search of his first major. It goes off at 4:20 a.m. Eastern, or not too early. And if you want to catch Tiger Woods, you're in luck: he tees off with Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia just 22 minutes later at 4:42 a.m. EDT.
Defending British Open champion Darren Clarke is in a compelling group with Ernie Els and Zach Johnson (both of whom have major titles), and that threesome goes off at 4:09 a.m., which isn't that much earlier than Watson and Westwood.
But if you want a good night's sleep on Wednesday, you'll still be able to catch a couple of premier groups. Rory McIlroy, Louis Oosthuizen and Keegan Bradley form one triumvirate of players with majors at 9:21 a.m., and Phil Mickelson headlines a group with world No. 1 Luke Donald and U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy that tees off at 9:43 a.m. EDT.
Of course, if you want to wake up earlier, or not go to sleep at all, there will be plenty of action for you beginning in the wee hours of Thursday morning. Here's the full listing of 2012 British Open first round groupings and tee times.
1:30 a.m. ET -- Barry Lane, James Driscoll, Garth Mulroy
1:41 a.m. ET -- Matthew Baldwin, Adilson Da Silva, Tadahiro Takayama
1:52 a.m. ET -- Rafa Echenique, Kodai Ichihara, John Huh
2:03 a.m. ET -- Sandy Lyle, Todd Hamilton, Mark Calcavecchia
2:14 a.m. ET -- Alejandro Canizares, Jeev Milkha Singh, Greg Chalmers
2:25 a.m. ET -- John Daly, Chad Campbell, Michael Hoey
2:36 a.m. ET -- Thongchai Jaidee, Justin Leonard, Simon Khan
2:47 a.m. ET -- David Duval, Raphael Jacquelin, Miguel Angel Jimenez
2:58 a.m. ET -- Stephen Ames, Robert Rock, Kyle Stanley
3:09 a.m. ET -- Stewart Cink, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Johnson Wagner
3:20 a.m. ET -- Jamie Donaldson, Bill Haas, Y.E. Yang
3:31 a.m. ET -- Davis Love III, Tim Clark, Paul Lawrie
3:42 a.m. ET -- Adam Scott, Alan Dunbar (A), Matt Kuchar
3:58 a.m. ET -- Vijay Singh, Nick Watney, Ian Poulter
4:09 a.m. ET -- Darren Clarke, Ernie Els, Zach Johnson
4:20 a.m. ET -- Lee Westwood, Yoshinori Fujimoto, Bubba Watson
4:31 a.m. ET -- Dustin Johnson, Graeme Mcdowell, Hiroyuki Fujita
4:42 a.m. ET -- Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia
4:53 a.m. ET -- Ryo Ishikawa, Martin Kaymer, Tom Watson
5:04 a.m. ET -- Thomas Bjorn, Aaron Baddeley, Charl Schwartzel
5:15 a.m. ET -- Jason Dufner, Martin Laird, Kevin Na
5:26 a.m. ET -- James Morrison, Daniel Chopra, Joost Luiten
5:37 a.m. ET -- Thorbjorn Olesen, Troy Matteson, Thomas Aiken
5:48 a.m. ET -- Brad Kennedy, Mardan Mamat, Steven Tiley
5:59 a.m. ET -- Warren Bennett, Aaron Townsend, Grant Veenstra
6:10 a.m. ET -- Dale Whitnell, Sam Walker, Elliot Saltman
6:31 a.m. ET -- Bob Estes, Steven O'Hara, Brendan Jones
6:42 a.m. ET -- Juvic Pagunsan, Scott Pinckney, Nicholas Cullen
6:53 a.m. ET -- Steven Alker, Lee Slattery, Russ Cochran
7:04 a.m. ET -- Tom Lehman, Pablo Larrazabal, Greg Owen
7:15 a.m. ET -- Marcel Siem, George Coetzee, Chez Reavie
7:26 a.m. ET -- Marcus Fraser, Lucas Glover, Gregory Havret
7:37 a.m. ET -- Charles Howell III, Paul Broadhurst, Richard Sterne
7:48 a.m. ET -- Carl Pettersson, K.T. Kim, Gary Woodland
7:59 a.m. ET -- Ben Curtis, Paul Casey, Trevor Immelman
8:10 a.m. ET -- Robert Karlsson, Mark Wilson, Branden Grace
8:21 a.m. ET -- Harris English, Simon Dyson, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
8:32 a.m. ET -- Angel Cabrera, K.J. Choi, Ross Fisher
8:43 a.m. ET -- Jonathan Byrd, Sang-Moon Bae, Alvaro Quiros
8:59 a.m. ET -- Nicolas Colsaerts, Hunter Mahan, John Senden
9:10 a.m. ET -- Bo Van Pelt, Francesco Molinari, Toshinori Muto
9:21 a.m. ET -- Rory McIlroy, Louis Oosthuizen, Keegan Bradley
9:32 a.m. ET -- Rickie Fowler, Padraig Harrington, Manuel Trappel (A)
9:43 a.m. ET -- Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson, Geoff Ogilvy
9:54 a.m. ET -- Steve Stricker, Toru Taniguchi, Anders Hansen
10:05 a.m. ET -- Peter Hanson, Retief Goosen, Robert Allenby
10:16 a.m. ET -- Jim Furyk, Koumei Oda, Fredrik Jacobson
10:27 a.m. ET -- Marc Leishman, Brandt Snedeker, Alexander Noren
10:38 a.m. ET -- Andres Romero, Jbe Kruger, Richie Ramsay
10:49 a.m. ET -- Ted Potter Jr, Ian Keenan, Andrew Georgiou
11:00 a.m. ET -- Troy Kelly, Morten Orum Madsen, Anirban Lahiri
11:11 a.m. ET -- Prayad Marksaeng, Justin Hicks, Ashley Hall
The British Open is officially underway, and the world's biggest names are tackling everything Royal Lytham & St. Annes has to offer. But who has the best chance this week?
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