It seems as though the Carnoustie weather only gave the players a false sense of security on Thursday, setting them up for Friday. And it worked.
The vast crowds were not dodging imaginary lava, of course, but rain. Real rain. The sort of rain that turns course maps into mulch and makes bunkers look like mud. “I’m waiting here,” said one glum spectator, who had joined a swelling mob of clambering fans in watching a big screen from the comfort of the Open’s food tent. “I’ll have to go out later.”
By mid-morning, the food hall was part-cafe, part-viewing gallery and part-changing room. Those wise enough to bring waterproofs had found a place to pull them on, while others had been drawn to the smell of bacon butties. One woman, clearly unmoved by the prospect of exchanging her warmth for live golf, was simply reading a book. Another spectator told the Daily Telegraph that this was his first trip to the Open since Royal Troon in 2016, when the rain fell even harder. “At least I got a free course map,” he said.
It should be made clear that this weather is not unusual. This is Scotland. It rains. Get over it, right? But it was still hard to avoid the contrast between this misery and the opening day here, when Carnoustie provided a passable impression of a Mediterranean beach resort. On Thursday, the better-hydrated spectators fell asleep on the oversized, inflatable cushions. On Friday, those cushions drooped mournfully in the dirt like a herd of tired walruses.
It could always be worse, as they say, and it has been far worse than this at the Open. The conditions were so bad during the third round of the 2002 tournament in Muirfield that Trevor Immelman, the South African player, said he thought the world was going to end.
That braying sound you hear is Kim laughing uproariously.
(And thanks to Reader Pkudude, who sent me the link.)