‘I’m laughing but I’m internally crying’: Pros battle horrid conditions in St. Andrews

dunhill links weather

Branden Grace and Richard Mansell show their different ways of battling the weather at the Dunhill Links Championships.

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The forecast didn’t lie. At least there’s that. 

The second round of the Dunhill Links Championship was always going to be marred by brutal conditions. The event even went so far as to schedule a shotgun start considering how miserable the weather was going to be. It would be best to get everyone on the course at once, making progress en masse rather than roll them out one at a time. And now that we’ve seen what came from a blustery, rainy day in St. Andrews, that decision was completely warranted. 

Friday’s high was in the upper 50s, but considering the 100% chance of rain and wind ranging from 25 to 35 mph, the feels-like temperature would have been much cooler. Instead, the real high of the day was Sky Sports getting Tyrrell Hatton to agree to a mid-round interview. The question was simple:

Describe playing conditions …

“Uh, truly miserable, to be honest,” Hatton said with a chuckle. “I’m laughing but I’m internally crying, I think. I just want a time machine to just fast-forward the next two-and-a-half hours to be back in the warm and dry.”

What’s the most difficult aspect of playing in these conditions?

“Everything. Trying to keep the clubs dry, hands dry. And then try to figure out — the wind today is obviously pretty consistent. But trying to figure out how long the shots actually play. I hit a 4-iron earlier that went 150 yards straight into the wind. I hit it nice and flighted it as well. There’s just things like that that we’re not used to doing on a daily basis. It’s all just try and get a feel for it and hope for the best.”

And that is why Tyrrell Hatton should be wearing a mic at all times during all rounds. He’s one of the best quotes in the business. Matt Wallace, the next interviewee via Sky, wasn’t too bad either. 

“Ah, it’s just brutal,” Wallace said. “I’ve already had one umbrella — this is a new umbrella. Changed jacket, just bought two more towels from the pro shop in here. It’s brutal.”

What’s the mindset when you tee off and you know it’s going to be brutal?

“Um, hold on. Just like I’m doing with this umbrella. Hold on for dear life.”

He was describing the physical version of the phrase but the figurative one was playing out on scorecards all over Fife Friday morning. Thursday’s benign conditions saw 76 scores in the 60s at the three host courses: Kingsbarns, Carnoustie and St. Andrews’ Old Course. Plenty of rounds still needed to be finished as of Friday morning in the States, but the number in the 60s will be whittled down to a single digit tally, rest assured. 

The beanies are out. The brollies, too — that’s what Scots call their umbrellas. As for us, we’ll continue to watch gleefully from wherever we are, warm and dry.

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