Thursday, July 17, 2014 | 4:37 p.m.
HOYLAKE, England — Justin Rose played the first two holes at the British Open without a driver on Thursday after it was mistakenly removed from his golf bag and shipped nearly 300 kilometers south of Royal Liverpool.
Rose's caddie, Mark Fulcher, had arranged to send two drivers to a couple of his friends in the south of England. Unfortunately, one of the drivers he gave away belonged to Rose.
"It was a bit of a comedic start to the day, no doubt," said Rose, who managed to get the driver returned — but only after he started his first round in Hoylake.
The 2013 U.S. Open champion shot an even-par 72, leaving him six strokes behind leader Rory McIlroy, but said he hadn't been affected by his club troubles in the morning.
"I knew I would have it by the time I really, really needed it out there, toward the 7th and the back nine," he said. "The way the course was playing I knew I wasn't going to require the driver for a good couple of hours."
It wasn't quite on a par with the costly blunder made by Ian Woosnam's caddie at the British Open at Royal Lytham in 2001.
Woosnam was in a share of the lead after one hole of his final round when he was informed that he had 15 clubs in his bag, one more than permitted. The Welshman was given a two-shot penalty and he threw a spare driver — the club that took his allocation over the limit — into the rough near the second tee.
Rose is one of the favorites for the claret jug after winning his last two tournaments — the Quicken Loans National at Congressional and the Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen — but already has ground to make up.
The afternoon starters encountered the toughest conditions of the day, with the wind picking up off the Irish Sea, and Rose said he "ran out of a little bit of steam" on a back nine that he played in 1 over.
"Even par always feels like a waste of five hours, really," Rose said. "I felt like there was a lot of good stuff today. Really felt comfortable with my game early on.
"You don't always get off to a flying start and keep it going. It's a platform for which I can build for the rest of the week."