Woods fails to buck winners' losing streak

The Claret Jug has had a new name for eight years. Peter Corrigan lifts the lid on a very strange brew

Of all the possibilities that were blown out of Tiger Woods' grasp on the howling links yesterday was a unique opportunity to end one of The Open's most remarkable sequences.

Compared to the Grand Slam dreams that were swept away, it would be the least of his torments to learn that he had been in a position to put right an anomaly in the history of The Open.

For the past eight years, the tournament has been won by a first-time winner. This is vividly at odds with the past. The records of the past 131 years of the championships are packed with multi-winners. Through every decade, the same names keep etching their way into the rim of the old Claret Jug.

But since 1993, when Greg Norman won his second title at Sandwich, each year has seen a different winner. The Open is not accustomed to such Openness. Having won it once, many past champions have said that it gave them the confidence to win it again.

Can the reason why this no longer seems the case be down to the more ferocious, competitive nature of modern golf? Or is it that the pressures nowadays pile too much burden upon past champions?

Some of those who have been busting a gut to win it for years may say that theirs is the bigger pressure. Better to have champed and lost than never to have champed at all. Nevertheless, it is a record that surely cannot last and few believed it would.

Obviously, Woods was the out-and-out favourite to bring it screaming to a halt. But there are other former winners still in a position to restore the tradition of repeat achievements.

When play started on Thursday, there were 13 previous holders of the title. We had already lost Seve Ballesteros – we hope not forever – and Gary Player's automatic entry ended on his 66th birthday last November.

Friday's cut took care of three: Tom Watson (winner in 1975, '77, '80, '82 and '83), John Daly (St Andrews, '95) and Tom Lehman (Lytham, '96) left the scene.

The 10 remaining offered some hope but none more than Woods. He was favourite to do it last year as well but finished nine shots behind the winner, David Duval.

By his own admission, Duval did not bring a high level of confidence to Muirfield. He has not "trained on", as they say, and he missed the cut in the US Open in June when he was 11 over par. But he did possess that seed of hope that all ex-champs have. "I've done it before and I know I have it in me," he said.

This belief that the magic may return drives them all on. It may still drive Duval on. His 70 yesterday places him at level par and although his residue of hope is shallow, the first three days of the tournament should encourage anyone to keep plugging on.

Some are past that. When Mark Calcavecchia birdied the first he would have found it hard to subdue a frisson of anticipation that a repeat of his win at Troon in 1989 was still alive. To reach halfway at level par would not have entirely destroyed that hope but he had a horrendous back nine of 45 to return an 81.

Paul Lawrie (Carnoustie, '99) has never received the recognition he deserved because of the bizarre nature of that particular championship. He is burning to prove a point by doing it again and at two under par before yesterday's round he was certainly not out of the hunt.

Yesterday's 78 could not be anything else but an extinguishing factor. He is on five over par and one of his neighbours on that mark is Nick Faldo ('87, '90, '92).

Faldo keeps offering evidence of a resurgence but his display yesterday was too full of doubts and nervous swing checks to keep him contention.

Sandy Lyle, another who has been dropping hints that the past may not yet be finished with, has not been able to build on his first day 68.

Mark O'Meara (Birkdale, '98) might have fared better had he not been paired with his friend Tiger yesterday. He did marginally better with a 77 to Woods' 81 but it was not better enough.

Justin Leonard (Troon, '97) is one of the best placed to buck the trend. He accompanied Justin Rose in an amazing partnership that began the day as joint 35th and finished as joint third.

Nick Price (Turnberry, '94) looked good enough to expect better than a 75 but he still has a faint chance to put to rest the run of the newcomers to Open success.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power