Sandwich, England A lost ball by Tiger Woods. A triumphant return for Greg Norman. A stunning struggle for Ernie Els.
And, by the way, who is Hennie Otto?
Meet the leader in the first round of a British Open that was as unpredictable as the quirky links on which it was played.
Sunshine, rain and a steady blast of wind off Sandwich Bay produced a slew of surprises, none more than the sight of Otto, a 27-year-old South African, making one long putt after another at Royal St. George's for a 3-under 68.
Otto, who had to qualify for the British Open earlier this week, took a one-stroke lead over Norman and Davis Love III after both of them bogeyed the 18th for a 69.
The only other players to break par were S.K. Ho and Fredrik Jacobson, who played bogey free despite 35 mph gusts late in the afternoon.
Otto was thrilled with the first tee time of the day -- 6:30 a.m. -- because the forecast was for thunderstorms in the afternoon. He got to Royal St. George's and it was raining.
"You've got to relax and take what the course gives you," Otto said.
Royal St. George's certainly doled it out.
- Woods hit his opening tee shot in the right rough, and 25 officials scouring a patch of thick grass the size of a kiddie pool never found it. The lost ball led to a triple bogey, and he had to play the final four holes in 2 under just to shoot 73.
- Trying to become the first player in 20 years to defend his title, Els didn't make a birdie and opened with a 78, his worst round ever at the British Open.
- Four past major winners were among more than two dozen players who shot in the 80s. The most noteworthy was David Duval, who played well except for two triple bogeys and a quadruple bogey on his way to an 83.
- Colin Montgomerie got off easy. He tripped on his way to breakfast, injured his hand and withdrew after seven holes.
Equally surprising was Norman, even though he won 10 years ago when the British Open was last held at Royal St. George's.
Still, the Shark hasn't won in five years. That shock of blond hair is tinged with streaks of gray, and a few more wrinkles surround those piercing blue eyes. Norman, 48, has played only two tournaments this year while dealing with a bad back.
Is he back?
"If I get myself in position after the first two rounds, hopefully momentum will start to build," Norman said. "I think 69 is a good start to that momentum. I hope I can keep pushing it forward."
At times, it looked as if he never left, especially on the par-5 fourth. From 194 yards, Norman punched a 4-iron that scooted up the severe shelf of the green and trickled down the slope to 6 inches for a tap-in eagle.
"You've got to be able to feel comfortable with those shots," he said.
Love, who has never seriously contended in his favorite major, made only one mistake in an otherwise solid round. He played conservatively off the 18th tee with a 3-wood that left him a 4-iron to the green. He missed to the left, and failed to save par.
Tom Watson flirted with the lead for the second straight time in a major. He fell apart at the end, a double bogey-bogey finish for 71.
Also at even-par 71 was Charles Howell III, Fred Couples and Gary Evans, known best for losing his ball on the 17th hole at Muirfield last year.
Woods can relate.
He knew he was in deep rough, and it wasn't long before he realized he was in deep trouble. As he walked up the first fairway, he saw a search party of two dozen people in a desperate attempt to find his ball.
"Did you guys see where it went?" Woods inquired of thousands of fans, who pointed him this way and that as his frustration grew.
Woods cursed as he got into a cart for the long ride back to the tee. He picked up two birdies, then gave them back with three consecutive bogeys by driving into bunkers and into more rough, one shot traveling some 15 yards.
The good news?
"I kept myself in the tournament," Woods said.
That was no small task on a links that punished players when they least expected it.
The rough was so high in spots that Shigeki Maruyama dug deep into the grass with a wedge on the fourth hole and two balls came out. Another one was buried beneath his ball, probably left behind the last time the British Open was played here.
Jerry Kelly hit four shots that traveled a combined 14 feet on the first hole. He made an 11, and had to withdraw because of an injury after his club met a clump of grass that didn't budge late in his round of 86.
The wind was so vicious that Phil Mickelson was assessed a one-stroke penalty when his ball moved on the 15th green as he stood over the ball, giving him a double bogey.
Mickelson was tied for the lead at 3 under with a short birdie putt on No. 8, but finished with a 74. At one point, he went seven holes without a par -- an eagle, two birdies and four bogeys.
"As hard as it blew, I thought it was a good round," Mickelson said. "You couldn't land an airplane in a crosswind this strong."
That left the stage to Otto, a part-time player on the European tour who once got so mad after a tournament in South Africa that he stopped on a bridge, broke every club in his bag and tossed them all into the water.
"I'm much calmer now," he said. "I'm still a bit edgy sometimes, but that's changed."
Besides, "I'm playing with better clubs."
The most important club in his bag was the putter. He made a 35-footer for par on No. 4, holed from 25 feet on No. 8 and added a couple of 30-footers on the 12th and 13th to take the outright lead.
Can he keep it for three more days?
"I hope so," Otto said. "Give it to me now. I'll take it."
Then again, the British Open is loaded with unheralded players who find glory to be short-lived at golf's oldest championship.
Remember Rod Pampling? He led after the first round at Carnoustie in 1999 and became a footnote as the only first-round leader to miss the cut in the British Open.
And here's some more history that Woods should keep in mind: Norman opened with a double bogey in 1993 when he won the claret jug at Royal St. George's.