6:09 a.m., the endless Saint Andrews marathon

In theory, a classic round of golf for three average players on an ordinary course should last around 4.5 hours. In Saint Andrews, an anything but ordinary place in an exceptional tournament, the game lasts much longer. Until 6:10 a.m. Thursday for the Tiger Woods, Max Homa and Matt Fitzpatrick party.

Started at 6:35 a.m., the first round of The Open ended at 10:20 p.m. Shortly after the trio mentioned above made their last putt, as night began to fall on Fife. Fitzpatrick, a bit drunk after his 72: “Billy (Foster, caddy son) warned me that the game is particularly long in Saint Andrews. But still, it’s just a joke, right? Playing in 6:10 should never happen in golf. »

In the particular case of Saint Andrews, it was hard to blame the players and no penalty for loaned play fell on Thursday. Between the shared greens, the intersecting holes, the minutes go by quickly. Concrete example with the 1-18 crossing with the game of Ernie Els, who after his last putt had to wait a good five minutes behind the green of 18, instead of going directly to the recording. Quite simply to let Woods and his two friends start quietly on the tee of 1.

But it is above all the many par 4s that can be reached in one shot (including 9, 10, 12 and 18) and the par 5s that can be reached in two shots that pose a problem. Due to the power of the current players and the difficulty of the ground, the waiting times at the start of the holes can then reach 15 or even 20 minutes. Add to that some deep bunkers like tombs and huge greens suitable for 3-putts, that’s why this North Sea links is the longest to play in The Open rotation.

Patience and acceptance

Collin Morikawa struggled to insert this particular “rhythm of play”, he who is playing his first Open in the cradle of golf. “I suspected it would be loaned, but not to this extent, declared the defending champion, author of a 72 after a start at 10:58 a.m.. We wait on the tees, then on the fairways. Alex (Schaule) and I talked about it. We have never watched so much golf. You stand on the fairway and watch two other groups play golf. That’s part of the problem this week, you have to be patient and make sure you don’t rush your shots. »

“We all know, this is how Saint Andrews is played with 156 players, also said a fatalist Rory McIlroy who, leaving in the morning, took 5h43 to complete his first lap. We play, we stop… But it will be better at the weekend, with the games of two players. »

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