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QUICK TAKE: Sunny Skies Not Expected To Last At Birkdale

Open Championship
Spectators huddle under umbrellas early in the morning of the first round at Royal Birkdale. (Photo Credit: REUTERS/Andrew Boyers)

SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND – A gift arrived Thursday afternoon at the Open Championship.

The sunshine.


Relatively gentle breezes.

And almost no hint that when Mark O’Meara hit the opening tee shot at 6:45 a.m. at Royal Birkdale the weather was frightful. It was cold. It was blowing. It was raining.

The weather at the Open Championship is always part of the story – even if it’s a lovely summer afternoon, though a few degrees cooler than what most people in the United States are experiencing this week.

And if there is a lesson in an Open Championship day like Thursday it’s this:

Take it when you can get it.

“This morning it didn’t sound good when I was lying in my bed, the wind and the rain,” said 47-year-old Ernie Els, who shot 68 in the afternoon sunshine. “I didn’t even want to look out of the window. It sounded horrific.

“If you shoot 70 or better today, that was a good opening round because of the weather changing; it’s better now. (Friday), 74 might be great.”

Matt Kuchar (65), Paul Casey (66) and Charley Hoffman (67) made the most of their afternoon opportunity. The same can’t be said, however, for Sergio García and Rory McIlroy, who have work to do to make the weekend.

And here’s the kicker to what happened Thursday:

The weather for Friday’s second round is expected to be lousy – or worse.

“I think it’s going to be pretty poor the whole day,” said Jason Day, who birdied the 18th hole to shoot 69.

Here’s what the Friday forecast calls for:

“Rather cloudy with outbreaks of rain on and off. Some heavy spells of rain are likely, bringing a blustery feel in combination with the winds. 5-10mm possible. Winds remain from the SE, generally 15-20 mph with gusts 30-35 mph, although potentially easing by end of play. Max temp 18 C (64 F).”

Some players embrace the bad weather. Others wither in the wind and rain.

“I don’t mind bad weather,” said U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, who shot 65 Thursday.

“It doesn’t faze me. I don’t really care that much. Just go play golf and shoot the lowest you can.”

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