‘Twas a strange and fascinating Thursday, this opening round of the 150th anniversary British Open. The past and future trumped the present.
From the depths of memory came lumbering John Daly, 44 now and no longer lumbering. His greatest moment in golf was 50 pounds ago and the 1995 British Open, which he won at this same St. Andrews seaside shrine to the game. His second-greatest moment, with apologies to his 1991 PGA title, might well be the six-under-par 66 he shot here Thursday.
A few groups behind him strode the future, a 21-year-old from Northern Ireland named Rory McIlroy, who did Daly three better with a 63 and mused later that he had given some thought near the end to a 62, knowing that the best British Open round ever, anywhere — and, for that matter, any major championship round — is 63. Equaling the greats of 150 years apparently was less than completely satisfying for the leader of golf’s tomorrow.