BRITISH OPEN '13: A surprise storm at Muirfield that stopped Tiger Woods' bid for a slam

  • Article by: DOUG FERGUSON , AP Golf Writer
  • Updated: July 12, 2013 - 11:05 PM

The spiritual side of Stewart Cink keeps him from believing in golf gods. His last trip to Muirfield was enough to at least make him wonder.

Eleven years ago, there appeared to be no stopping Tiger Woods. He won the Masters and the U.S. Open, the first man in 30 years to capture the first two legs of the Grand Slam. And after two rounds at Muirfield, he was only two shots out of the lead going into the third round of the British Open.

"If the wind ever blows," Woods said Friday after his bogey-free 68, "it's going to be interesting."

Saturday appeared to be another bonnie day along the Firth of Forth, with only a mild breeze for most of the morning.

And then it got interesting.

Cink recalls being on the third tee, just as the outer loop of the front nine turns clockwise. On the eastern horizon, he could see a black wall of clouds. He remembered saying to himself, "Oh my gosh, it's coming toward us."

"At it just clobbered us," Cink said. "It was intimidating."

Woods caught the worst of it. He couldn't reach the par-3 fourth hole. He hit only one fairway on the front nine. He made his first double bogey in 14 rounds at a major, and more followed. He went through 12 gloves trying to say dry. And when this remarkable day was over, Woods had an 81, the highest score of his career.

And so ended his bid to become the first player to win all four professional majors in the same year.

"That was unfortunate. We could have maybe been looking at a Grand Slam because Tiger was playing so well," Cink said. "I don't really believe in golfing gods, but if they were to exist, they would be smirking a little bit. We're talking about a Grand Slam and then they threw that at us."

The squall only lasted a few hours, but it did plenty of damage. Ten players failed to break 80, including Colin Montgomerie, who went from a 64 on Friday to an 84 on Saturday. The last 32 players to tee off all shot over par. No one broke par who teed off in the last five hours of play.

Ian Poulter was in the group ahead of Woods and Mark O'Meara. He was two shots out of the lead. He shot 78. When asked what he remembered about that day, Poulter's eyes got as wide as when he makes a big putt in the Ryder Cup.

"What bit of that three hours of torture would you like to know about?" he said. "I don't think I've ever played a round of golf with it dropping that much water and the course was playable. It's the most amount of cubic capacity of water I've ever seen drop and not flood a green. Have I ever played in it? No. Would I ever want to do it again? No. How can you prepare for that? Your caddie needs eight hands."

Mother Nature was only a contributing factor, however, to the end of Woods' bid for the slam. Thomas Levet played in the group behind him and shot 74. Levet wound up losing in a sudden-death playoff. Ernie Els was won the claret jug in 2002. He was in the last group on Saturday and played most of the back nine in calmer conditions when the storm passed. Even so, he weathered the storm and shot 72.

Woods wasn't at his best, and it happened at the worst of times.

"It's just part of the deal when you play over there," Woods said. "I think that's the beauty of the playing The Open Championship. ... I just happened to be at that time when we got the worst of it right when we started."

The British Open is renowned for its wacky weather, and it can show up with little notice.

Even with a forecast for dry conditions when the Open returns to Muirfield, it should serve as a reminder how much golf's oldest championship depends on the weather.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - M. Latos 6:05 PM
Baltimore - B. Norris
Boston - J. Kelly 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - S. Greene
Detroit - K. Lobstein 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Miami - B. Penny
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Toronto - R. Dickey 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Arrieta
LA Angels - C. Wilson 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Peacock
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. Milone
Texas - D. Holland 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Guthrie
Pittsburgh - J. Locke 7:15 PM
St. Louis - A. Wainwright
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Seattle - J. Paxton 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
Washington - D. Fister 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw
Arizona - W. Miley 9:10 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
NY Giants 9/8/14 6:10 PM
Detroit
San Diego 9/8/14 9:20 PM
Arizona
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
(25) Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(19) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(18) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(23) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Washington
(14) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(13) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(15) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(7) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(17) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(21) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(12) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(16) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(9) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(21) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(8) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Phoenix
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close