Still, the man many favor to prevail this week insisted the other day that no matter what the conditions are, he won’t be distracted from the task at hand.
“We play so many events and have to deal with the weather. It’s just part of our sport,” said Tiger Woods, a three-time Open champion who is trying to win his 15th major title and first since his victory at the 2008 Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. “We deal with delays. We deal with coming in and going back out, playing 36 holes, finishing up rounds. It’s the nature of summertime golf on the East Coast.
“I’ve won the Open in both conditions. I won at Pebble Beach and Torrey when it was dry and fast, and I won at Bethpage when it was soft and slow. Either one, the execution doesn’t change. You’ve still got to hit good shots and get the ball in play, especially now with the rough being wet. It’s imperative to get the ball in play so that we can get after some of these flags and make as many birdies as we can.”
In similar soggy conditions at the 2011 Open at Congressional in Washington, Rory McIlroy set a tournament scoring record at 16-under-par, four shots better than the previous mark. Along the way, he set or tied 11 other records with a 72-hole total of 268, prevailing by eight shots over runner-up Jason Day.
“There might be a few similarities to the way Congressional played to the way this week’s going to play,” McIlroy said. “It was soft then and it’s obviously going to be soft again this week.”
Still, he said he did not expect scores to go quite as low as his eye-popping performance in the Washington suburbs two years ago.
“They call [the Open] the toughest test in golf, and it’s a pity that it has rained so much the last few days and might not play as tough as it usually does,” McIlroy said. “But it’s still going to be a good test out there, and you’re still going to have to play some good golf.”