This Week in Sports: The British Open started...yesterday

Before going to bed last night around 11:30pm PT, I checked one last time and learned that some French guy had birdied the second hole to take the VERY early lead at the British Open. Now that I'm in my office, most of the rounds have been completed. That's definitely a big part of why I've never gotten into the British Open quite like my love of the Masters and the US Open. It's weird golf over there. Normally the ground is very hard and your ball rolls a lot making it easy for a nice drive to roll through the fairway into the fescue...even though the fairways are very wide by pro golfer standards. The hardness of the fairway and greens make it hard for the pros to really spin the ball and stop it like they normally can. They have to plan on landing the ball short of the hole and rolling it close. However, supposedly the putting is actually very slow. I haven't really figured out how the greens can be hard and slow...

Also, the Old Course at St. Andrews is a par 72 with only one par 5 and one par 3 on each nine. Unlike having two par 5's and two par 3's that everyone in America is used to. And they don't even call it the British Open. It's just called the Open Championship. I'm fine with that, because it has been around a lot longer than anything else. I just wish American media hadn't forced me to get used to the term. They put a gun to my head...I didn't have a choice. Now everything about golf across the pond seems weird or wonky.

Fortunately for the golfers, it has rained quite a bit the last few days softening the course and the overall weather conditions, especially the wind, have been very benign. As a result, Rory McIlroy shot a 63 (7 birdies, 1 eagle), tying the best round in any major (24 people have shot 63, no one has shot 62 in a major), to take the opening round lead


  1. A couple other weird things about this course: the MASSIVE greens and a few double greens and the fact that the 7th and 11th holes actually cross each other. How would you like to be standing on the tee only to step back when another group starts walking across your hole?

  2. I will never forgive you for your 'wonky' link.

    I would love to know the percent of people who chose added Rory McIlroy to their Best Ball teams for tomorrow. Has to be at least 90%, right? I know I added him.

    PS - I am relatively sure that the beer he's pouring into the Claret Jug in the above photo is John Smith's Extra Smooth. That was my favorite beer in my time in England.

  3. I did not. I tend to believe that reversion to the mean is more common than a hot streak. However, I do acknowledge that some players are just playing this course better. So I have guys at -5 or -6 like Tiger, Lee Westwood and Peter Hanson.

  4. You know I completely agree with you that regression (reversion?) to the mean is more common in events like this. I am kind of going against my usual policy by taking the outright leader after 1 round, but McIlroy just looks really strong to me. I don't expect any more 63 rounds but I can easily see him shooting a solid -5 or -6 on the next few rounds also.

    I swapped him in for Justin Rose, who isn't playing bad and is also English. Westwood not a bad choice there either. All of those 3 look like they'll post good scores.

    Love Peter Hanson at $9 right now and I'm really glad I picked him in round 1. This isn't quite as lucky as when I chose De Jonge (who I had never previously heard of) for $7 in the US Open and he was on the leaderboard in round one, but it still feels pretty lucky to me.

  5. I was about to lambaste you for insinuating that I didn't use the proper statistics phraseology, but a little research revealed that both "regression" and "reversion" are commonly used.

  6. Yeah I looked it up too... I always use regression but it looks like reversion is basically interchangeable

  7. From Jason Sobel's Live Blog (it has a theme song):
    [Comment From Dan : ]
    Rory McIlroy begins his 2010 British Open with 63-80, not to be confused with Roy McAvoy beginning the 1996 US Open with 83-62.