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Having won the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale, TNT's Ian Baker-Finch can identify with what the field is facing this week. (Photo: Getty Images)

Q&A with TNT analyst Ian Baker-Finch

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Former Open Champion Ian Baker-Finch sat down with PGA.com's T.J. Auclair for a Q&A session Friday morning at Royal Birkdale. See what he had to say about the weather, his fellow Aussies and the luck of the draw.

Q: There were a lot of compelling storylines on Thursday. In your opinion, what was the biggest headline to come out of round one?

Baker-Finch: Weather. I think weather would be the biggest headline out of round one and I think that is going to be continuing. I think that the weather was the story of the day, but it was closely followed by Greg's Norman resurgence seemingly out of nowhere. Tom Watson played well as well with a 74 in the horrendous weather earlier, but Tom plays a little more often. He's a Champions Tour player. I normally expect him -- not necessarily to contend, but with Greg, we've only seen him three or four times in the last 12 months. That was big, too.

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Q: What was it like for you as a fellow Australian and a guy, who like Greg Norman, has won an Open (Baker-Finch won at Birkdale in 1991) to see him play so well yesterday? I mean, the guy is doing this at 53 years old.

Baker-Finch: I'm obviously enthralled by it and I'm happy to see it. He's a great champion and someone who relishes these conditions. It seems to me that the Open champions and major winners tend to accept bad conditions better than the rest. Whether it's the fact they know that half the field don't like the weather, so all of the sudden they've already gotten rid of half the field, I don't know. But the solid strikers of the ball will definitely do better in horrendous conditions like yesterday -- cold, wet, severe winds. I wouldn't be surprised to see Greg there Sunday afternoon with a chance.

Q: Let's get back to the weather for a minute. Thursday was a tale of two waves. The morning guys got the brunt of the nasty stuff and it calmed down a bit for the guys playing in the afternoon. Then, this morning, the guys who had late tee times on Thursday got started early on Friday and it's fairly benign out there. They obviously got the luck of the draw. Is it safe to say that a lot of big names -- Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh, perhaps -- shot themselves out of the tournament on Thursday morning?

Baker-Finch: I think a lot of the big names shot themselves out of it, yes. The weather was pretty bad all day, really. When you come out early in the morning and it's blowing 20-25 mph, and cold, and raining, you've got everything against you. It's early. It's taking you a while to warm up, you're a bit fuzzy, it's cold, you're a little bit stiff, perhaps. The wind was still 15-18 mph even later in the day, it just wasn't raining. It was still kind of bleak and miserable and 60 degrees. It's not like it totally changed. But definitely, I would say, the guys that played in the first couple of hours of tee-off times, they definitely had a three- or four-shot disadvantage to the rest of the day. I think the average score for the first couple of hours of tee times was something like 78 1/2 and then for the afternoon it was like 74. It was definitely a four-shot differential.

Q: You're out on TOUR nearly every week doing a great job as an announcer. Even though the announcing is nothing new to you, does it feel just a little more special this week seeing as this is the venue where you experienced the highlight of your golfing career?

Baker-Finch: Definitely. This is a really special week. I feel good about being back here. I love the course, I know the course well, but I feel really confident about my job this week and about talking about it because I won here. I'm a part of the Open Championship history as a winner, but even moreso this week as a winner here at Royal Birkdale.

Q: With that said, when you see your fellow Aussies like Robert Allenby, Greg Norman and Adam Scott all playing as well as they are at a place where you've won, do you get that itch and wish that you were teeing it up too?

Baker-Finch: Yes, a little bit. But on a day like yesterday, I was so, so glad to be in the booth.

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