HOYLAKE, England (AP) — Tiger Woods was playing his second shot into the par-5 18th when he made a sudden stop in the middle of his swing Thursday at the British Open.
If nothing else, his back must really be better.
What made him stop — and then back off on the next shot — were clicks from cameras. The culprits appeared to be a few journalists using cellphones, and the second time Woods indicated toward the balcony of a corporate tent where two dozen people had phones out.
"There was a lot of cameras out there," Woods said. "We were backing off a lot of shots, and a lot of people moving around. It was tough."
The Royal and Ancient later put out a statement urging spectators to keep their phones on silent and reminded them that photos are not allowed during the tournament.
The number of cellphones wasn't extraordinary. It certainly wasn't as bad as the 2011 PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club, or at the Memorial Tour a few years ago when Phil Mickelson sent a text to PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem that phones were out of hand. Mickelson withdrew.
Perhaps the worst abuse of cellphone pictures was at Royal Liverpool in 2006. It was so bad that the R&A banned mobile devices from The Open for the next five years. They were allowed again two years ago. For this British Open, the R&A has encouraged fans to bring mobile devices to take advantage of its app and Wi-Fi on the course.
Woods was asked about the R&A urging fans to bring phones and tablets.
"Just put it on silent," he said.
MICKELSON'S START: Phil Mickelson has been saying it for months: His score isn't reflective of how close he feels he is to playing well.
He shot 74 on Thursday, eight shots away from the lead. Even so, Mickelson said he had better control of the ball that he's had in a long time. He played in the tougher afternoon conditions. And he's not about to write off his chances of defending this British Open title.
"I remember back in '04 at Troon I shot 74 the first day in pretty benign conditions came out the next day and shot 66 and got right back in it," Mickelson said. "And I feel like I'm more on that side of the equation than having another round over par because I just think the way I'm starting to hit it and the way I feel with the putter is just totally different."
Mickelson actually opened with a 73 at Royal Troon and finished one shot out of a playoff.
He gave away two shots on the final hole Thursday by hitting his second shot on the par 5 out-of-bounds. Mickelson didn't even realize the shot landed out-of-bounds.
Royal Liverpool has out-of-bounds inside the course, and Mickelson and many others don't like it. On most courses, out-of-bounds markers are boundaries of the course.
WATSON'S EYE: Five-time Open champion Tom Watson opened with a 73 and was headed to the practice range to iron out some problems.
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