You want the Troon? You can't handle the Troon!


Jordan Spieth has never played a round of golf like that in his life.

Before even reaching the ripe age of 22, Spieth had won two majors and with that came every accolade you can imagine.

Indeed, when the young American rolled into St Andrews for the 2015 Open Championship aiming to continue his bid for a calendar sweep of the majors, many were nudging the engraver to start etching his name onto the Claret Jug.

He came up just short there in a tournament plagued by abysmal weather, but was spared facing the worst of it as organisers postponed and then cancelled rounds, with play running into a rare Monday finish.

At Royal Troon on Friday, though, there was no such respite from the elements. Colin Montgomerie had warned 24 hours earlier that the South Ayrshire course was ready to bare its teeth, and boy it did.

Having failed to fully grasp the opportunity presented by the glow of the first-round sun, the warmth of which was barely touched by a subdued wind, Spieth toiled in worsening conditions during his second set of 18 holes.

The afternoon starters drew the short straw. No doubt. The anticipated rain did not come until late morning, initially politely introducing itself with a light shower. But heavy downpours followed and persisted, accompanied by gusts that completely transformed the challenge facing the field.

And so it was that while Phil Mickelson shot a two-under 69 to stay top and fellow early tee-off rival Henrik Stenson bested the lot with a stunning 65, those out later could not keep up.

Justin Rose made the worst job of hiding his frustration at that fact both on the course, where he belligerently tossed his club after a fluffed shot from heavy rough at the fifth, and off it, affecting the air of a thoroughly fed-up man in the mixed zone.

Spieth was a little more measured, but then, unlike Rose, he hadn't just dropped a double-bogey six at the last. In fact, Spieth's par saw him scrape through the cut mark by a stroke.

He had spoken after the first round about the prospect of facing up to a links course besieged by weather that is hell-bent on making the game of golf even harder than it already is.

The approach, he blithely surmised, would be to flip the script to mirror the changing direction and speed of the wind: ease up on the front nine, which had been generous in its willingness to dish out first-round birdies, and show a little more aggression on the way back in, which had played much tougher.

But, with the exception of the shot he gained on 14 - the only other bit of red on his scorecard coming at the fourth - Spieth could make no headway.

When push came to shove, there was no amount of planning, no degree of calculated aggression that could overpower Mother Nature.

As Troon flexed its muscles, Spieth merely sought to limit the bruising.

"I looked up and saw the sheets of water moving sideways, legitimately sheets of water moving sideways," he said, almost in disbelief.

"Man, if I've played in that, it's been over here on a practice round day or I can't remember. I can't remember anything that significant. I can't remember seeing the wind move a ball that much."

It was a day unlike any other for Spieth, but a key milestone in his development. If he is to one day win The Open, as would appear to be his destiny, he must learn to conquer even the most hostile of environments.