land. “I didn’t hit a good tee shot, but I
was aiming at the left rough. I simply
couldn’t have reached the fairway.”
Happily, that was just about as bad
as things got. By day’s end the fourth
was no longer a “par 6,” merely a vir-
tual par 5. Averaging 4.93, it was the
hardest hole relative to par. Indeed,
only one hole, the downwind 564-yard
seventh, played under par for the
day, with the course average an eye-
were generally a good bit better than
those Watson had confronted, the
round of the day came from a compatriot 39 years younger than the
So it was difficult to score well, but
not quite impossible—as a 61-year-old
man would later demonstrate. Five-time Open champion Tom Watson
added another chapter to his legend
by battling to a two-over-the-card but
three-under-the-reality round of 72.
Which shouldn’t have come as too
much of a surprise to those paying
attention to Rickie Fowler’s record by
the seaside. Three years after notching three points out of four for the
2007 U.S. Walker Cup team at Royal
County Down (one of those matches
against U.S. Open champion Rory
McIlroy), the baby-faced Californian
shot 11 under par for the last 54 holes
in his Open debut at St. Andrews.
“The challenge of dealing with a
course like this is to make it fun,” said
Watson, who won his five titles in a
variety of meteorological conditions:
rain at Carnoustie (1975), a heat-wave at Turnberry (1977), dull and
overcast at Muirfield (1980), sunny
and bright at Royal Troon (1982) and
cool at Royal Birkdale (1983). “This is
a game, and it is fun to be able to hit
a few shots that really are good. My
putter saved me though. Now I know
why I won all those Opens before.
“I love links golf,” said Fowler after
completing a nifty 68 in the company
of his old/young protagonist, McIlroy.
“I love the variety and the options this
course gives you. There’s so many
ways you can play one shot. I like that.
I like to hit different shots. It’s just the
way I grew up playing the game.
There were, of course, tales of woe
to set alongside that of Lawrie—who
eventually shot 81—and opposite
Fowler and Watson.
“There’s an old saying: ‘Swing with
ease into the breeze.’ Well, a lot of
times I see these young kids out there
trying to hit it really hard into the
wind.” Watson said. “That
doesn’t flight the ball very
well. Hitting low stingers,
you don’t have to hit hard.
“I played only one hole properly,”
lamented Spaniard Pablo Larrazábal.
“Four gloves and four towels,” said
defending champion Louis Oost-
huizen, in response to how many of
each he had used and discarded. “At
the eighth hole I couldn’t reach with
driver, 3-wood. In practice I hit 3-iron,
You can better flight the
ball by swinging a little
easier. Of course, I can’t
hit it hard. I’m 61 and
can’t swing hard, so my
ball is flighted naturally.
FYI . . .
eBirdies were hard to come
by during the third round
at Royal St. George’s. There
were just 113 on the day;
none on four holes: Nos. 3, 4,
8 and 18. Darren Clarke made
the only birdie on No. 1. Two
players, Tom Lewis and Tom
Lehman, were able to birdie
the par- 4 17th hole. In all 12
holes allowed five or fewer
birdies. There were, however,
two eagles: a 3 on No. 7 by
Paul Lawrie and a 2 on No. 9
by Anders Hansen.
“Trying to control
the ball was virtually
Australian Matthew Mil-
lar. “The conditions were
That’s good in these con-
Still, at least one
“young kid” has been
paying attention. Admit-
The last words—three
to be exact—must go
to Watson though.
Asked if he had smiled
as he looked out of his
bedroom window at the
pouring rain, the wily old
champion said only, “I’ll
never tell.” n
By Jim Moriarty
For a few hundred years or so, the
British were busy spreading plumbing,
brewing and cricket throughout the
world and, in return, got pith helmets
and Indian takeout. Of course, there
were a few other influences. We Americans, for example, like to think we took
the Magna Carta and ran with it. But
when it comes to a cultural exchange
of goods and services, there’s nothing
quite like vindaloo.
Every one-roundabout hamlet in
England has an Indian restaurant. And
seldom is anyone overheard saying
something like: Come on, Duchess, lets
go grab a little Canadian tonight and
take in that new Harry Potter movie.
Of course, the taste of English food
could be characterized as something
of a vacuum and, since nature abhors a
vacuum, it shouldn’t come as any real
surprise that tandoori rushed in where
French chefs feared to tread.
The English have become comfortable with a good curry, etc. The
problem comes when they have guests.
I discovered a vindaloo in Minster that, if
it was served in the States, would come
with a warning label and instructions
on what to do in the event of accidental
overdose. OSHA would require wait staff
to wear gloves and goggles. Some places
use a star system allowing the customer,
aka the pitiful, whimpering chap at the
corner table, to back off on the spice.
That’s not how they roll in Minster. You
order vindaloo, by God you get vindaloo.
There are a few warning signs
indicating you may have over-reached.
First, there’s the flop sweat and the
runny nose. Then comes the involuntary, guttural moaning of a wounded
animal, followed by uncontrollable
tears. You’ll begin to feel your throat
swelling shut. Don’t panic. Banging your
forehead on the table is the international symbol for check, please.