By Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 19, 2002
The Grand Slam pursuit got off to a rocky start when Tiger Woods was twice distracted by photographers on the first hole, once yelling at them. His tee shot sailed well right of the fairway into tall grass, from where he had a brutal lie and was fortunate to get the ball back to the fairway. Once there, he got up-and-down for a par from 50 yards, hitting a sand wedge to 8 feet to avoid disaster. It was better than any Woods birdie all day. "When I saw the lie, I was thinking don't make double. I would have taken 5," he said. "To make 4 was stealing a couple."
On the greens, Woods did not make the putts he typically drains. He made just three birdies, and two of them were by two-putting par-5s. He lipped out three times during the round and finished with 34 putts in his round of 70.
Most of the pre-tournament fodder centered around Scotland's Colin Montgomerie, who admitted even if he played his best, he could not beat Tiger Woods if he were at his best. Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke chided Montgomerie for this. England's Justin Rose also got plenty of attention going into his first-round pairing with Tiger Woods.
From the Daily Mail: "Rose Roars into Open spotlight: Great British hope arrives in style as he stalks Tiger
From the Daily Mirror: "FOOL MONTY"
The Sun: "TIGER's TOO GOOD FOR ME"
Daily Express: "Darren Dig at Monty."
NO WOMEN, DON'T ASK: Officials of the Royal & Ancient, which runs the British Open, are miffed that one of Scotland's sports ministers, Richard Caborn, this week voiced his displeasure over the fact that Muirfield has no women members. He suggested the R&A put pressure on the club to admit women.
"We announced this was going to be the venue for the Open Championship four or five years ago; it's strange we have had no remarks from the ministers in all that time, but during the week of the championship, suddenly we do," said Peter Dawson, secretary of the R&A. "The Open is one of the very few truly world-class events that this country hosts, and perhaps we could expect a little more support than we've had this week. ... Our policy is to bring the championship to the best links courses we have available in Britain and which can also take the infrastructure required for the championship. ... We do feel that equal rights should apply, but the fact that the Open is at Muirfield is in no way damaging the championship. It's one of the finest courses we have."
DRINK UP: Nick Faldo vowed to buy everyone in the crowd a "wee dram" -- a small shot of liquor -- should he win his fourth Open Championship. Faldo, 45, won the last two Opens at Muirfield. Ten years ago, he made a similar promise, and it cost him 6,500 pounds (nearly $10,000). "I bought all my fans a dram when I won in '92 and I'd love to do so again because this would be the most special of them all," Faldo said.