(Editor's Note: Golf fitness trainer Sean Cochran (www.seancochran.com) is at the 2006 Open Championship with Phil Mickelson, for whom he serves as trainer. Sean will be filing daily journal entries through the conclusion of the tournament.)
Tiger went out early today and is in the middle of his round as I write this. Phil is off this afternoon around 2:30 local time (no idea what time that is in the States).
Day one was interesting. We had rain late Wednesday night and it was just enough to revitalize the course. If you recall, the greens were rock hard ("concrete" might be a better word for them than "greens"), but as of Thursday morning approach shots were sticking.
I think Jim Furyk made the best comment about the greens. Paraphrasing, he said the surprise of the day was walking up to the second green and seeing a ball mark. Something that was unheard of earlier in the week. Bottom line - the greens are holding approach shots. What does this do in terms of the tournament?
Well, according to my sources, it brings a lot more players into contention. The greens are holding shots, and mis-hits are less costly. And these statements are probably true. I mean, take a look at the leaderboard after day one!
The number of players at 3-, 4-, and 5-under par is huge. Two-under after day one is tied for 32nd. When is the last time you have seen a leaderboard, let alone a leaderboard for a major, crammed at the top with so many players?
Watching morning play today, the greens are still holding shots, and the wind is a non-factor. What I am hoping for - and yes, I am biased - are that the conditions stay benign for the afternoon tee times (meaning Phil). Remember, differing conditions between the morning tee times and afternoon tee times can play a huge factor in the outcome of a tournament. If the wind picks up in the afternoon, the course will get tougher, giving those players who had morning tee times a huge advantage.
My question for the remainder of the week surrounds the course. What will the grounds crew do? Will they "let the course go," making it hard and fast by Sunday, or will water be placed on the greens, keeping them receptive? We will just have to wait and find out. And let's not forget the weather; it can change on the flip of a coin, and cause havoc on the course.
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