Golf: The Open - The American nightmare team

Gracious Duval begins to eat his words about the cruel course but pained Payne is not for turning

OVER THE past three days the deadly links of Carnoustie have sent many a good golfer to meet his maker - Ping, Wilson, Callaway, Taylor Made. It's all very well creating fancy clubs like Fat Shafts, Bubble Burners, Firesticks and Hawkeyes when what they could do with out there are rough-blasters and hay-flatteners.

Not that the club manufacturers are likely to respond to the demands created by the rigours of this Open. If they did, an all-purpose club designed on the lines of the Swiss Army knife would have an immediate appeal. Their more likely reaction is to ignore it and hope that their boys are soon restored to courses that provide a more generous and infinitely less volatile carpet for the execution of shots.

Nevertheless, many lessons have been learned and the most important involves the counting of chickens. There was every indication coming into Carnoustie that the interest would be centred on the jostling for domination between several groups - the up-and-coming "cheeky kid" youngsters; the fine and dandy US Ryder Cup hopes; the nice but dimly shining European Ryder Cup candidates; the usual hotch-potch of colonials; assorted Swedes; and Tiger Woods. The French? Don't be daft.

The kids fared worst of all. When they took a roll-call yesterday of the younger Open fraternity, no one turned up. They'd all been mowed down by Carnoustie's opening fusillade. Most notable among the young victims was Sergio Garcia. Spanish super-kid meets enfant terrible. He finished last of the 154 finishers. But don't say he didn't warn us. His last words before the tournament started were "golf is not as easy as it looks". There are many hopeful beginners who are today hoping that it is not as hard as it looks.

Listed among the fallen whipper snappers were the four amateurs - Luke Donald, Zane Scotland, Paddy Gribben and Graeme Storm - which means that for the first time in 10 years there will be no winner of the coveted silver medal.

In those balmy pre-tournament days when all the talking is done, the American contingent were shaping up menacingly. Before he began carping about the course, Payne Stewart, fresh from his US Open triumph, spoke with an assured eloquence, echoed by the current Open champion Mark O'Meara, as he made extensive references to the Ryder Cup and Uncle Sam in the same sentences.

O'Meara was a cut victim as were Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker. But, in fairness, seven of the top 10 US Ryder Cup candidates were in action yesterday which by no means backs up the calamity theory. Stewart, despite a poor first day, came back slightly with a 75 on Friday and a 74 yesterday. Justin Leonard, in 17th place in the Ryder reckoning, did best of all with a 71. Of those more highly placed than him, Hal Sutton did best with a 72 but is still three shots adrift of Tiger Woods despite the latter's late collapse. Disappearing off the radar screen were Davis Love and Jim Furyk.

But there was good news about the top ranked American David Duval. Not so much about his golf, which drifted five shots further away from the title yesterday, but his feelings about Carnoustie which had not been gracious hitherto. Asked how he felt about the course after yesterday's 76, he replied: "I like it. I never said that I didn't like it, in spite of what's been said."

Stewart, however, wouldn't let the subject die. He vowed his continued affection for The Open but still expressed his disappointment with the set-up. "It's tough when you have amateur bodies running golf events. I think the USGA have listened to the players in recent years and made the courses playable.

"Will the Royal & Ancient learn a lesson this week? We'll have to wait and see how they set St Andrews up next year. If they do this to St Andrews it is not going to be any fun at all." Perhaps we can arrange a karaoke.

Over in the European camp, where four of the top Ryder men - Jose Maria Olazabal, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Garcia and Alex Cejka - had been lost to the cut, the grumbles were confined to the scores and it wasn't a happy time on balance. Colin Montgomerie fought valiantly but fell one shot to nine over. Darren Clarke took a 76, Jarmo Sandelin a 77 and Sven Struver a 79. Despite a birdie on the last, Mark James came home three to the worse which was the same margin by which Lee Westwood lost ground.

While Jean Van de Velde was by far the best European, Andrew Coltart was the best Briton and his 72 gave him a toe-hold on the leaderboard which he is in the mood to improve upon today.

The colonials, meanwhile, were mixing their messages. While Greg Norman was leaking shots, his fellow Aussie Craig Parry produced the best total of the event so far with a 67. His fellow Australian, Peter O'Malley, managed a 74 but South African Ernie Els couldn't get settled at all on the first nine, had a seven at the sixth, and eventually returned a 54- hole total of 13 over par.

Sweden's Jesper Parnevik jolted his many followers with a round disappointing enough to make you turn the brim of your hat down. His countryman and yesterday's partner Patrik Sjoland also had a faltering round despite two birdies in the first three holes.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in Fast and Furious 5
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss