ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — The early part of the first round was going at a reasonable pace until it all came to a halt on the 15th hole thanks to an errant tee shot by J.B. Holmes, a gorse bush & a lad who thought he had a souvenir.
Holmes wound up with a triple bogey & wasn't pleased approximately the ruling – or lack of a ruling – that he received.
His drive went right into the prickly bush, & Holmes thought he might be able to obtain line-of-sight relief from a temporary immovable object. He said the referee wasn't sure & called for a second opinion. European Tour chief referee John Paramor denied it. Holmes couldn't obtain another official.
p>''I wanted one more opinion because our walking man (rules official) said he wasn't really sure approximately it,'' Holmes said after his 73. ''He wanted to obtain a second opinion, & then they said the second opinion is the final opinion. And I was like, 'Well, the first man didn't really donate his opinion.' But that said that's what it is.''
But there was more.
He said a child saw the ball & picked it up. By rule, Holmes had to replace it as near to where it was believed to be.
Sweden's David Lingmerth follows a drive from the 17th tee during the first round of the British …
''If it would have been 2 feet in another direction, maybe I would have received the relief because I could have received more a swing on it,'' he said. ''You would think most spectators would know not to pick up balls. He was a kid. I'm sure he was excited & thought he found a ball. I'll have to move on & go play out tomorrow.''
Speaking of moving on, the entire saga took so much time that the group of Bubba Watson played through. Sergio Garcia & Patrick Reed were hopeful of doing the same, yet by then Holmes was ready to go.
United States' John Daly plays from a bunker on the 17th hole during the first round of the Brit …
ROAD HOLE: Dustin Johnson kept the lead with a 15-foot par putt on the 17th hole, which must have felt like a birdie.
The infamous Road Hole was so difficult into the wind & with cold air that it didn't donate up a single birdie to the 156-man field. The scoring average was 4.83, & more telling numbers might be the clubs.
United States' J.B. Holmes lets go of his club after hitting a wayward shot on the 15th hole dur …
Rickie Fowler hit a 3-wood. So did Phil Mickelson, who didn't reach the green.
''I came out of my 3-wood a little bit so it was very short, & I didn't catch my next 3-wood that great,'' he said. ''So I was left with 60 yards back into the wind. It was a perfect shot I could spin. It might not be a offensive way to play the hole given those wind conditions. But I was disappointed I missed that putt. I had approximately a 6-footer. That would have been a heck of a par on that hole.''
Paul Casey can't recall having 247 yards left for his second shot. Justin Rose hit 3-iron. The pin was behind the Road Hole bunker, so most players were aiming toward the 18th tee & trying to obtain up-and-down for par from there.
''That's a pin you're not really attacking with those sorts of clubs,'' Rose said.
WATSON'S BIG DAY: Five-time champion Tom Watson, at 65 playing in his last British Open, looked like he might have a satisfactory chance to hang around St. Andrews all four days. The final six holes made that a lot less likely.
Watson was 2-under par for his round until he made three double bogeys coming in. He wound up with a 76.
''I knew the back nine was going to play a little tougher into the wind, & I knew I had to hit some quality shots,'' Watson said. ''And I didn't. That was the disappointment. I didn't complete the deal. I failed.''
Watson said it would take an ''extraordinary'' round for him to make the cut with a forecast of 30 mph wind. Either way, he plans a celebration for his final Open. Watson is the only player in the 155-year history of this championship to win on five links courses. But never at St. Andrews.
''We're going to have a huge party tomorrow night, & a satisfactory time tomorrow night,'' he said.
United States' Tiger Woods walks on the 18th green during the first round of the British Open Go …
DOPING PLEA: The director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency is pushing for golf to become fully compliant with the global drug-testing standards.
David Howman says he's encouraged by comments made by R&A chief Peter Dawson on the eve of the British Open.
Dawson noted that stricter doping rules will go into effect 13 weeks ahead of next year's games in Rio de Janeiro, where golf will make its return to the Olympic program. After that, he wants all tours to ''move toward being wider compliant at all times.''
Howman says ''no sport can be complacent on the doping issue,'' & he's hoping the Rio Olympics will spur the PGA Tour & other major organizations to adopt tougher guidelines.
England's Nick Faldo waits to play from the tenth tee during the first round of the British Open …
He calls WADA's system the ''gold standard'' & says it's the best way to ensure ''that clean athletes & the watching public can have full confidence in the anti-doping system.''
FAST START, SLOW FINISH: The numbers explain the day for David Lingmerth of Sweden. He had a 69 without shooting in the 30s on either nine.
Lingmerth showed that low scores were available in the morning when he made birdie on his first four holes & went out in 29, making him the fourth player at St. Andrews with that 9-hole score, & the first since Paul Broadhurst & Ian Baker-Finch in 1990.
And then he shot a 40 on the back nine for his 69.
The difference? Not much.
''Links golf, you can miss 30 yards one way & be fine, & if you miss 3 feet the wrong way, you're in huge trouble,'' he said. ''And that's kind of what happened to me on the back a couple of times. I just left myself some really tough positions & had to fight.''
DIVOTS: Tiger Woods is now taking shots from the American Association of Retired People. Asked on Tuesday if he ever thought approximately retirement, Woods said, ''I don't have an AARP card yet, so I'm a long ways from that.'' Long after the 39-year-old Woods opened with a 76, AARP tweeted to Woods, ''It's better to be over 50 than it is to be over par.'' … Twenty-five years after he won at St. Andrews, Nick Faldo didn't make a birdie in his round of 83. He was in last place. ''You can't fall out of a TV tower & come & play here & hope. Silly boy,'' Faldo said. ''I'm not a golfer anymore. You come here to try to do your best, yet these guys play every day of the week & it's a tough golf course. I'm not even a part-time golfer.''
Bubba WatsonJ.B. Holmes