LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND -- Graham DeLaet was on the course on Monday, playing a dozen or so holes to see the course and shake off the jet lag. This is the fifth major for DeLaet and he's missed the cut in the previous three, admitting that while he likes the test of the biggest tournaments, his record isn't all that good. However, he attributed much of his performance to learning the nuances of major championship golf.
DeLaet also said that last year at Muirfield, his wrist took a beating due to the firmness of the turf and the steepness of his swing.
The ground here at Royal Liverpool is a bit more lush than a year earlier which may help the Canadian.
Phil Mickelson handed over the Claret Jug on Monday, a tradition the defending champion goes through each year. As do most winners, the lefthander took the trophy to every clambake and family outing he could, sharing it with friends who've helped him along in his career.
Mickleson arrives in Liverpool in the midst of what most would consider a down year. He has no wins and not even a top-10 finish to speak of. But, not surprisingly, he's upbeat.
“Well, it obviously hasn't been a good year,” he said. “Normally I would be discouraged or frustrated, but I'm just not. I'm not frustrated and I'm not discouraged. I feel like I've had some good breakthroughs in some areas. I haven't had the results, I know I haven't played well. But the parts feel a lot better than the whole right now.”
Mickelson has armed himself with a few new clubs in the bag this week. He's added a two-iron as well as a 64-degree wedge that has almost no bounce. It's the only tournament where he'll carry these weapons.
On Monday, members of the International Golf Federation met with the media. That's the group charged with running golf in the Olympics, among other things. Of course the hot topic is the golf course, which, as with many of the facilities in Rio, is behind schedule.
Ian Andrew outlined some of the issues in the latest SCOREGolf Magazine.
The powers that be seem to think it will be completed on time and Ty Votaw, who works for the PGA Tour but is also the IGF's vice-president, said there will be a test event prior to the Olympics although there won't be any time to make any changes of significance after that.
He also said there is an emergency plan in place.
“Well, as far as contingency plan,” he stated, “I think we're in no different place than all the other sports in the Olympic games for Rio 2016 and the readiness and preparedness of Rio.
“But, yes, we do have plans in place, but we're not going to tell you what they are.”
The weather outlook for the Open, always a concern, is calling for a nice opening day on Thursday with unseasonably warm temperatures (that means getting into the 20s). But the remaining three days aren't so positive with thunderstorms in the forecast.