British Open Notebook

'Incredible' Run Ends For Va. Tech Amateur

By Leonard Shapiro
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 21, 2007

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland, July 20 -- Virginia Tech junior Drew Weaver was only two back-nine bogeys from making the cut at the British Open on Friday, saying he "played my heart out" in an attempt to stay around for the weekend.

"It was incredible," said Weaver, the 20-year-old British Amateur champion who birdied three of his first six holes, but faltered on the brutally difficult back nine at Carnoustie, shooting 72 -- 148 and missing the cut of 4-over 146.

"I had it going early, but the golf course got the best of me. I just missed some six- and eight-footers. If I could have made a couple more putts, I think I could have made it. I couldn't give it any more."

After missing two putts inside 10 feet for bogeys at the 14th and 15th holes, Weaver parred his final three holes and finished with a flourish. At the 499-yard 18th hole, which yielded only four birdies all day, he hit a booming drive and a 2-iron to within 25 feet of the pin, and barely missed the birdie putt.

"I was grinding so hard because it could mean making the Walker Cup team," Weaver said. "There are definitely some people I know who were doubters. But I believe I have a good amount of game. If captain [Buddy] Marucci thinks it's enough to make the team, that's great. If not, I just know I played my heart out. It's not in my hands."

Weaver, of High Point, N.C., intends to play two more years of college golf before turning pro in 2009.

"It's hard to put into words how much confidence I gained this week," he said. "I knew I had some game, but it's the self-realization that you can do it. . . . And that walk up 18 was very special. I had to take a moment and take it all in."

No Playing Favorites

The chairman of the rules committee overseeing the 136th British Open said Friday that Tiger Woods did not get favorable treatment in a controversial ruling he received at the 10th hole in the first round and that the rules official on the scene made the correct decision.

"The ruling was based on the facts of the case," said David Rickman, director of rules and equipment standards for the Royal & Ancient governing body. "That same ruling would have been given in the same facts to any other player this week."

Woods hit his tee shot down the left side of the 10th hole and his ball came close to television cables that prevented him from getting an unimpeded swing. Rules official Alan Holmes declared the cables as immovable objects and directed Woods to a free drop a club length away. Instead of having to hit his ball from deep rough, Woods dropped in trampled grass and was able to par the hole. Even Woods said later he was surprised by the ruling because he expected the cables to be moved.

"The referee, on arriving there, his expectation was that these cables would be moveable," Rickman said. "However, on trying to move them, he found that was not the case. He therefore correctly advised Tiger . . . that he was entitled to lift his ball and drop it at the nearest point of relief.

"I am conscious that other people have been to the same spot, have inspected the same cables and reached a different conclusion, namely that [the cables] are readily moveable. I have been there myself and I have moved those cables, so all I can conclude is that the situation changed between the situation Alan faced and the situation that presented anyone when they went there."

Significant Drop

There was another intriguing rules decision on Friday. Phil Mickelson's second shot at the second hole plugged into a sandy mound near the green. Mickelson sought relief for an embedded ball but was told he'd have to hit it where it was or take a penalty stroke for an unplayable lie.

He chose the penalty and tried to drop his ball, but it kept rolling away. He was finally allowed to place it, but as he walked up to the green to survey his next shot, his ball began trickling off the spot and rolled down to the fringe. Mickelson then played it from there, with no further penalty, and made bogey.

"It was an accurate ruling," Mickelson said. "The ball was stationary. The rule is it has to be stationary five seconds, which it was. And then after a minute or so, you just play it where it lies, unless I addressed it, which I never did, because I felt like it might roll."

It didn't help. Mickelson shot 77 and 6-over 148 with five bogeys and a double on his card, and missed the cut for the third time in his past four tournaments.

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