ST. ANDREWS, Scotland The locals are famous for saying that if its nae rain and nae wind then its nae golf.
There was rain. And there was wind.
There just wasnt much golf being played Wednesday on the eve of the British Open.
Kenny Perry wanted to play one more practice round, and the miserable weather wasnt about to stop him. It just made him think about how long he really wanted to be in the kind of elements St. Andrews hasnt seen in 15 years for the British Open.
Three holes after he teed off, with raindrops on his glasses and water dripping off a black rainsuit that had turned slick and shiny, he cut across the Old Course to play two holes back toward the clubhouse. As he stepped onto the 17th tee, Perry noticed a man grinning at him from beneath an umbrella.
Are you enjoying our weather? the man said in his thick brogue.
Whats there to enjoy? Perry said.
Worse yet was leaving the 17th tee with Nick Watney, rain pelting them sideways and the sound of laughter above them. There was Ian Poulter, dressed in shorts and a shirt, taking pictures of them from the comfort of his third-floor room in the Old Course Hotel.
Having fun down there, boys? Poulter called out to them.
The fun doesnt begin until today, when the 139th version of golfs oldest championship gets under way at St. Andrews, with weather that likely will play as much of a factor as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson or any of the players.
And its about time.
The last time the Open came to St. Andrews, there only was one round of a stiff breeze, and Woods won by five shots at 14-under 274. Ten years ago on a sun-baked links, Woods set a major championship record at 19-under 269 for an eight-shot win in perfect weather. But there was nasty weather in 1995, when John Daly finished at 6-under 282 and won a playoff.
The Royal and Ancient, which runs this tournament, doesnt get wrapped up in scores. It lets nature decide that.
The forecast for the championship is changeable blustery, showery conditions, said R&A chief executive Peter Dawson, barely able to contain a grin. Pretty good for links golf.
This is what Woods will face as he tries to make more history at the home of golf. No one has ever won the Open three times at St. Andrews, and this stage could be an important test for golfs No. 1 player.
Woods never has gone this far into the calendar without winning. He never hasgone more than seven tournaments to start a season without a victory, and the Open marks his seventh event. His preparations included playing Sunday in gusts that approached 50 mph and the next two days in wind out of different directions.
The challenge figures to be much greater, a result of Woods unpredictable form and a growing number of contenders especially a European resurgence.