Hoylake: Tiger Woods is clearly not a fan of the R&A allowing mobile phones at the Open after a first-round 69 in which he claimed to be continuously distracted by fans taking pictures.
While his three-under opening was more than satisfactory — considering he underwent back surgery in March and had played only two competitive rounds since then — the morning was marred by the clicks and whirrs.
It must have reminded him of 2006, when he won at Hoylake despite being blighted by the snap-happy galleries. The R&A chose to outlaw mobiles after Woods’s complaints but elected to repeal the ban in 2012. Woods may just have something to say to Peter Dawson, the R&A chief executive, about this policy
“People were taking pictures — like we had it all day today,” he said. “There were a lot of cameras out there. We were backing off a lot of shots and a lot of people moving around. It was tough.
“Unfortunately people just don’t put their phones on silent or some of the professionals were getting on the trigger a little early.” Later he added: “Just put it on silent. Just put it on silent.”
The R&A has marshalls who walk with the select groups to weed out mobile offenders, although because of the huge crowds following Woods it is an impossible task. This year, the R&A has installed free wi-fi around the course and encouraged the fans to check on the scores on their official app and even to stream live pictures.
On Wednesday, Dawson expressed the hope that the supporters would adhere to the rules, but Woods’s comments suggest that might be a hope too far.
Woods, though, is happy with his performance on the first day.
“That was a rough start there, bogeying the first two but I stayed patient,” Woods said. “I figured it was one of those days where someone would shoot seven under par today and I had to just get in there.
“If you’ve been off a few months it can be tough, compound that with surgery and it’s hard. I know what it’s like to win here but the golf course is completely different to when I won in 2006.”