Golf Monthly editor at large Bill Elliott gives his verdict on an exciting opening day in the 143rd Open Championship at Royal Liverpool

By Bill Elliott

SO what have we learned after Day One? Probably the most important fact to drop our way is that it doesn’t take much wind to turn Royal Liverpool from a pussycat into a bit of a tiger. Grrrr.

Sunny and calm in the morning when Rory McIlroy schlepped round in 66 controlled shots and the Italian trio of the Molinari brothers and young Matteo Manassero added more lustre to the day. Even Tiger – first, I want to be first, nothing else matters, nothing – eventually cruised to three under par despite last playing big -time competitive golf several years ago.

When Sergio Garcia rocked into the action it seemed that the old Wirral course was pinned up against some fence with several fists drawn back. Then a light breeze floated in off the Dee Estuary and merry mayhem ensued. Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson and various others began to fall apart. Ernie Els shot himself in both feet and then just fell over. Mind you Ernie’s problem was with himself, three-putting from around 18 inches on the first green after trying to drag his second putt back into the hole. Very unprofessional, in fact he shocked himself so much with his daftness that he never recovered.

With the weather experts predicting a 20mph wind by mid-morning of the second round we may, I believe, expect some chaos to emerge here in the Wirral. It may be slightly cruel of me but, actually, I do hope so.

Let’s face it, few things in life are more enjoyable than watching multi-millionaires suffer. Schadenfraude rules. What is also true is that the stage is now set for what should be a fascinating rumble over the weekend. Meanwhile will The Wee Man avoid his usual Friday melt-down? He admits it is now burrowing deep into his psyche but claims that this is the week he removes this particular monkey from around his neck.

Somehow, I’m afraid to say, I doubt it. We’ll see.


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