Many of the world’s best humbled by Royal Birkdale, Mother Nature

SOUTHPORT, England — Ever play golf in a car wash? Wish you could hit 4-irons in a wind tunnel? Enjoy watching your fingers turn Dodger blue?

Well, we’d love to have you here at the cold and flu season known as the 137th British Open. It’s the Kimbo Slice of majors.
“It was miserable, miserable, miserable weather,” said Vijay Singh, who posted an opening-round Jeremy Shockey (80, 10 over par) at cold, heartless Royal Birkdale.

“If this is the summer, I couldn’t live here,” said Boo Weekley, who carded his own 80.

“Can’t wait to go home,” said Pat Perez, who looked like someone had sprayed him down with a fire hose. “Be there [Friday] night. I might go out tonight.”
Perez, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., shot 82. It’s not as if he’s a stiff; he’s ranked 54th in the world and already has made more than $1 million this year on the PGA Tour. But Thursday’s merciless conditions (gale-force winds, highs in the 50s, rain) didn’t care about rankings or reputations. The scoreboard was one huge bruise.
Phil Mickelson, one of the pre-tournament faves and the highest-ranked player in the field, had a 79. But look at the bright side: Ten years ago he shot a third-round 85 here. So he has that going for him. Which is nice.
Ernie Els, who almost always plays well in this tournament, shot 35 on the front, 45 on the back for a personal-worst score of 80 at the Open. That wouldn’t win the ESPN employee tournament.

espn.com
7/17/08