Golf can be an awfully slow game at times. So slow in this age the R&A this week ran a seminar at St Andrews on how to alleviate the curse of five-hour rounds. It took them two whole days to come up with solutions none of which will have any effect until golfers stop ‘faffing about’ as the polite English would say. If every golfer was forced to walk in after four hours of play they would all finish in time. Allow them five hours and the average modern professional will take every minute of it. Having said that, the leader Matt Jones plays with remarkable briskness and it must drive him crazy waiting all day for the slow coaches.
For three almost three full days Jordan Spieth and Geoff Ogilvy had battled each other whilst they sought to catch Jones.
They came to the 16th hole on Saturday each four under par but they had arrived there by playing starkly different golf. Ogilvy, hitting the ball as well as he has in his long career had missed a seemingly endless number of holeable putts whilst the American champion had scrapped and fought his way to the same mark with some terrific short shots and first-class putting.
Ogilvy hooked a drive into the pines and Spieth was down the middle but from there he hit an awful iron shot that barely scrapped it’s way into the front bunker. Ogilvy followed with a high drawn middle iron which finished just off the back of the green but in a horrible spot from which to save par. Spieth’s escape was close enough for him to save a four but Ogilvy took a predictable three from the edge to fall behind.
Both drove well down the 17th but Spieth, a player with an almost indefinable quality and ability to make things happen, completely changed the complexion of the championship with one perfect seven-iron shot.
Ogilvy’s par saw the Victorian fall three behind in his private match with Spieth and then at the final hole, a par five fronted by a pond, the American’s long iron came so close to the water on the right of the flag every observer must have presumed he had pushed the shot by at least 20 feet.
Whether he aimed there or not it was a staggering shot, one pulling him with sight of Jones and offering more than just hope for the final day and a successful defense of his title.
Ogilvy completed the short but dramatic three-hole act by spinning his six-footer for a birdie out of the right edge and at three under par and seven shots behind Jones he is surely too far behind now. For a slow game both Spieth and Ogilvy must have walked from the 54th green and wondered how it had all happened so quickly.