Europe's richest golf tournament, the GBP 58,000 ($145,000) John Player Classic at Turnberry in Scotland, has suffered a terrible buffeting from the weather.
Europe's richest golf tournament, the GBP 58,000 ($145,000) John Player Classic at Turnberry in Scotland, has suffered a terrible buffeting from the weather. Gale-force winds swept across the greens of this Ayrehire coast course and players had to produce their finest form to keep their scores down on the sodden turf.
For some it proved too much. British Open Champion Tom Weiskopf of the United States lined up for a putt, but was blown off his stance and forced to abandon it. U.S. Open Champion Johnny Millet threatened to quit if the rain continued. "I don't really understand why I'm still here," he said. Peter Thomson of Australia said the course was "a nightmare" on the third day of the contest.
But, thanks to some superb putting and chipping, Tom Coody of the United States moved into a narrow overall lead, with one round to go.
SYNOPSIS: Rain and gales that battered the Scotland's Ayrshire coast on Friday made play extremely difficult in the John Player Golf Classic at Turnberry. It required top form from the world's top players to keep their scores down to a minimum on the soaking turf. Here, one of the leaders, Tom Coody of the United States, attempts to putt against the wind.
But Coody was to persevere, in a splendid display of fortitude, through to the and of the tempestuous third round.
Another of the front-runners was the British Open Champion, Tom Weiskopf of the United States. He was literally blown off course as he lined up a short putt. All his professional concentration, and the lure of fifty-eight thousand pounds sterling - Europe's biggest-ever golf prize money, were insufficient to withstand the gale.
Tom Coody lines up a putt on the ninth green. His brilliant putting and chipping enabled him to end the day as leader, slightly ahead of the field. Though his score was far from the record, it was attained in what another player described as "a nightmare."
The most spectacular too on the course, and the one where most came to grief, is the ninth. It is perched on a spit of la??? overlooking the sea, forcing players to drive across the inlet to reach the green. The United States Open Champion, Johnny Miller, here making a brave attempt to drive at the ninth, said afterwards: "I really don't understand why I'm still here". Miller, another of the leaders, said he would quit if the weather did not improve.
Chi Rodrigues, also from the United States, and Miller both negotiated the ninth successfully, in what must have felt like Alaskan conditions. It remains to be seen how many players will stay on for the final round, and if they will then be able to play their natural game.