“Who hasn’t?” Spieth said after seizing upon a calm Carnoustie for a 6-under 65 to tie for the lead with Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele. “We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it’s turning out to be that”.
Woods might not win The Open this week, and he might not win the PGA Championship at Bellerive in August, and we can still debate whether or not he can catch Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships.
“I thought I had the golf ball a bit more under control today”, McIlroy said. It is irrelevant to me.
Fleetwood shot a 63 at Carnoustie a year ago in the Dunhill Links, but that was a European Tour event. Not bad for his first six rounds of links golf!
“I think if I focus more on the middle of the fairways, I’d probably hit more fairways, but I’d also end up, probably if I did miss it, in the wrong spot”. “I felt like I had something I had to prove to other people with last year’s Open and to myself … really to myself more than anything”. I’ve never been anywhere near before. “I don’t think he’s very far away from really taking everybody on again”.
Tiger Woods set the British Open alight with a vintage six-under 66 in Saturday’s third round but he no longer possesses the fear factor that will send a shiver down the spine of his rivals, according to Tony Jacklin.
Johnson, the 2015 British Open champion, followed up his miraculous hole-out with a birdie at the 7th hole to re-gain a share of the lead at 8-under par. When he arrived for the second round to be greeted by constant rain he changed that philosophy.
It was every bit of that on Saturday, a rare day when Carnoustie had little defence. I tried to do that for the most part. “Who hasn’t? It’s kind of a dream come true just to have the opportunity”.
Said Spieth: “My hair got a little long, and I needed to get a haircut, so I did this morning”.
If McIlroy does have an advantage at this Open, it’s not just that he played well at Carnoustie in 2007.
The 37-year-old said: “Momentum wise, birdieing the final hole picking up where I left off last night got me into the round early”.
And with a body repeatedly put back together, for now holding up as he launches a very real bid to add to his haul of 14 majors.
“I’ve got a chance in this”, Woods said, beaming that ice-white smile.
Even defending champion Jordan Spieth seemed ordinary, in a round where he was doing some extraordinary things.
Zander Lombard dropped two shots on the 17th hole when he pulled it into a ditch, took a drop, and hit into a bunker.
“It’s insane. Absolutely crazy to think so many people can follow a person”, he said. His low ball flight, grinding nature and good putting give him the right ingredients. When he joined the leaders after another birdie at 14, he was tipping his hat to the crowds like it was 2004.
Overnight co-leader Zach Johnson gave up a shot early at the British Open when his drive at the fourth found a hazard, but he bounced back by holing what will nearly certainly be the putt of the week at the par-5 sixth hole. And there was a welcome return to form for Australia’s Adam Scott, who is level with Kopeka after second round of 70. “I didn’t let the conditions get to me”. He didn’t miss the cut so it will be good.
Englishman Justin Rose was another to make a big move.
The idea of Tiger Woods as a major-tournament threat, which flickered all along in golf imaginations even as it also spent much of this decade in a dormancy, returned fiercely on Saturday when Woods’s name appeared atop the British Open leaderboard.