British Open | Mickelson Skipped R&A Dinner Amid LIV Rift
Cameron Young opened his most memorable British Open by shooting 8-under 64 to take a three-stroke clubhouse lead at St. Andrews. Among the players on his tail are couple of former champions. Phil Mickelson says he didn’t go to the champions’ dinner before the British Open because the R&A let him know the club didn’t “think it’s a great idea you go.”
Mickelson won the British Open in 2013 at Muirfield, yet he is among the players who have irritated the PGA Tour by playing with LIV Golf, the Saudi-funded breakaway series which has caused a rift in the sport.
Young two-putted for birdie at No. 18 to finish a clean card in his first competitive round at the home of golf. The American was 7 under after 12 openings and looked set to challenge the most minimal 18-hole score at a significant title, Branden Grace’s 62 at the British Open in 2017.
“The R&A contacted me a couple weeks before and said, ‘Look, we don’t think it’s a great idea you go, but if you want to, you can.’ I just didn’t want to make a big deal about it, so I said, ‘Fine,’” Mickelson said. “We both kind of agreed that it would be best if I didn’t.”
Rory McIlroy, the 2014 champion, and the 52-year-old Ernie Els, who lifted the claret jug in 2002 and ’12, were 5 under halfway through their back nines. Cameron Smith of Australia is in the clubhouse after a 67.
Greg Norman, the CEO of LIV Golf and a two-time Open champion, was asked not to come to St. Andrews for the champions’ dinner either at the 150th anniversary of the tournament because it might be a distraction. Mickelson shot even standard in the principal round on the Old Course. He said missing the meal wasn’t taking away from his pleasure at St. Andrews.
“I love being here,” Mickelson said. “Everybody here loves golf, and we find this place to be very spiritual.”
Cameron Young may be supporting all the pre-event discuss record low scores at St. Andrews.
Young moved in a birdie putt from four feet at No. 12 and was leading by three shots on 7 under. Not bad for his most memorable serious round at the home of golf.
The American missed the cut in five of his initial six majors. In the other the PGA Championship this year, he was tied for the lead heading to the 14th tee in the final round but wound up finishing in third place. With six holes remaining in his round, Young may be testing the most lowest 18-hole score at a major championship.
Barclay Brown is a member from a similar English golf club as Matt Fitzpatrick and appears to be taking some inspiration from the recently crowned U.S. Open champion.
The 21-year-old beginner is the clubhouse leader in the initial round at his first British Open after shooting 4-under 68 at St. Andrews.
Brown is a member at Hallamshire Golf Club in Sheffield, from where Fitzpatrick also hails. Fitzpatrick won his first major last month at Brookline. Unmistakable at the home of golf in his colorful cap, Brown curled into long, right-to-left birdie putt at No. 17 for the last of his five birdies in his round. Paul Dunne, shared the lead through 54 holes at the last Open at St. Andrews in 2015.