A controversial change and a surprise leader | Inside Day 5 at the Open Championship

Welcome to GOLF.com’s “Seen & Heard” video series, where we’ll endeavor to give you an inside look at golf’s biggest events through the eyes and ears of our onsite crew. On deck this week: The 2023 Open Championship from Royal Liverpool Golf Club. Let’s go!

ICYMI: John Lennon’s house and a round at West Lancashire | Inside Day 1 at the Open Championship
ICYMI: Nick Faldo, Mike Tirico and an odd local rule | Inside Day 2 at the Open Championship
ICYMI: The new ‘Tiger’, players’ final prep and fan predictions | Inside Day 3 at the Open Championship
ICYMI: Liverpool locals shine, Jon Rahm vents his frustration | Inside Day 4 at the Open Championship


Friday at the 151st Open Championship was another MASSIVE day of golf with players going from dawn to dusk to play the second round and complete the 36-hole cut.

By far the toughest challenge of Royal Liverpool in Round 1 was the deep and penal pot bunkers that dot the course. For the Open Championship, the R&A had raked the bottoms flat, so balls would fall along the edge and stay there, forcing players to play sideways, backward or even putt to the center just to get out.

Friday, the R&A called an audible and raked up the sand higher along the edges so balls would roll toward the center. The sudden about-face after just one round caught GOLF’s on-site team by surprise.

“I get almost more than anything else, pot bunkers are hazards, and I actually enjoy playing courses like this because they’re hazards and because you’ve got to be more strategic and think more off the tee,” said Richie Ramsay who had to play out backward of a bunker on 16 and took to get out of one on 18. “It’s difficult because now you’ve got two just shockers, really. I don’t know if that’s an anomaly or I don’t know if that’s something that’s a regular occurrence.”

Not only that change but the coffee table in the media center was moved overnight, causing our James Colgan to wonder if the R&A had “lost the media center” too.

But back to the golf, some players are heading home early, including Justin Thomas. The 2022 PGA winner shot 82-71 to miss his third cut a major this season, putting his spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team in jeopardy.

Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy played a practice round at this week's Open. They'd make for a dream ending, too.
Rory McIlroy-Tommy Fleetwood surprise encounter reminds us why the Open matters
By: Dylan Dethier

“I want to make the Ryder Cup more than anything. I’m probably honestly trying too hard to do it. It reminds me a lot of my first or second year on Tour,” Thomas said. “I’ve tried so hard to make that team for the first time. I’m in a very similar position.”

But on the other side of the leaderboard, the biggest story of the day was also one of the earliest as Brian Harman shot a stunning six-under 65 to open up a five-shot lead at 10 under that would hold the entire afternoon.

Our Dylan Dethier says to expect some “leaderboard gravity” where Harman comes back to the field. That would bring in a number of chasers, like Jordan Spieth who is eight back, and Tommy Fleetwood, who’s playing a home game this week. Fleetwood is in solo second heading into the weekend at five under.

“[Harman is] a long way in front. Of course, there’s a long way to go, but still, for myself and everybody else playing, it’s just do your thing, play one shot at a time,” Fleetwood said. “We don’t know what the conditions are going to bring, and you just have to keep playing until it’s over and see where you finish.”

Check out the entire video above to catch up on the GOLF staff’s day at Royal Liverpool on Friday, and follow along every day this week for more behind-the-scenes action from the 2023 Open Championship.

Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.