July 16, 2010
OK, golfers, playtime's over. A day after catching St. Andrews napping, the finest golfers in the world got a full-in-the-face taste of Scottish fury as winds at the Open Championship howled hard enough to suspend play for about an hour a little before 10 a.m. ET.
Now, suspending play at a British Open for wind seems absurd — as DB's Shane Bacon put it on Twitter, it's equivalent to suspending the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest for indigestion — but the conditions were approaching unplayable status.
The precipitating event was Jason Dufner's drama at the seventh green. Dufner repeatedly tried to place his ball to putt, but as soon as he placed it, the ball would roll away, as if Dufner had dropped it on a hillside rather than the table-flat green. Meanwhile, ESPN commentator Sean McDonough took on the role of weatherman in a hurricane, hanging on as gusts of 40-plus-mph winds rocked TV towers and nearly blew golfers sideways.
Officials with the R&A pulled the golfers off the course but kept them close at hand, indicating that the stoppage of play would, hopefully, be a short one. R&A officials tried to assess the situation on the greens firsthand, leading to the vaguely absurd scene of rules officials leaning over a twitching ball observing its oscillations, like birds watching an egg hatching. Play finally resumed after about an hour's delay.
About a third of the field finished the second round. They're the lucky ones. Louis Oosthuizen (pronounced "clubhouse leader") played quite well, as did Mark Calcavecchia and Lee Westwood, among others. Tiger Woods, first-round leader Rory McIlroy, John Daly and others had to continue through the winds, which were likely to blow the birdies of Thursday right out to the North Sea.
(Image via Dogs That Chase Cars)