Inside the Ropes at the Open Championship
Gillian Stewart was part of BBC Radio Scotland’s Commentary Team for Carnoustie
Carnastie no more
Well, what an Open Championship that was; its last day had just about everything. A quiet and unassuming Australian Richard Green came within millimetres of a new course record and posted a decent score almost before the leaders set out. An unknown Argentine, Andres Romero, stood on the 17th tee with a 3 shot lead over the field having made 10 birdies in his round and proceeded to finish double-bogey, bogey.
Padraig Harinngton then stood on the last tee with a one shot advantage and tried to do his own Van de Velde. He made 6 on the hole and opened the door for Sergio Garcia in the match behind. Sergio who had started the day with a 3 shot lead over the American Steve Stricker and a six shot lead over the rest of the field needed a par four at the last to win and proceeded to take a bogey 5! In the ensuing play off with Harrington it was the Irishman who prevailed.
You had to feel sorry for Sergio, but as Padraig says, he will come again – although I have to say no matter how bitter the disappointment, he needs to learn to lose with a bit more grace.
The course was the winner too at the end of the day – the playing surfaces were magnificent, the rough was fair and with the toughest finish in Championship golf, the drama was plentiful.
First time visitor
America’s latest bolt from the blue Boo Weekley revealed to the media that he is eagerly awaiting the day he can retire from golf and spend more of his time fishing. Nicknamed after cartoon hero Yogi Bear’s sidekick, Boo Boo, Weekley knew nothing of the long history of the tournament he was in contention for.
“St Andrews? I thought where I came from (Florida) was the home of golf”!!
Where are The Scots?
It was rumoured in the media centre that because no Scottish player was setting the tournament alight, the galleries had decided to adopt the Spaniard Jimenez as one of their own, and name him ‘Jim Innes’.
Shot of the Week
For me it was Harrington’s pitch to the last green on the 72nd hole. Having visited the Barry Burn with a pushed tee shot he hit his 5 iron second a tad fat and plopped his ball once more into the same Barry Burn in front of the green. Brian Donald (my colleague at Radio Scotland) and I were sat 15 yards from where the ball entered the hazard and Harrington’s eyes were both starey and scarey as he approached the burn. He was able to retain sufficient presence of mind however to walk all the way up to the pin and pace back to his ball so he knew exactly how far he needed to pitch his ball. His execution was perfect; he got it 5 foot past the pin and popped the putt in for a brave 6.
A young American golfer, a clone of the type – beige chinos, cashmere sweater, baseball cap and shades – was walking to a tee with his caddy some way behind, when a marshal who didn’t recognise him as a competitor pulled a gallery rope across the front of him and said: “You’ll just have to wait a minute”
“But I’m a player” said the American.
An older marshal standing nearby said: “We’ll wait until Sunday evening to determine that, laddie”
What a week it was for Scotsman Bob Torrance!
I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to the Annual Golf Writers Dinner on the Tuesday evening, where Bob received the Michael Williams Trophy for Outstanding Services to Golf. Padraig Harrington, a long–time disciple of Torrance, spoke on Bob’s behalf and paid tribute to his dedication and expertise as a coach. Bob’s fascination with Ben Hogan began at Carnoustie in 1953 when he watched the great man win the Open at Carnoustie in his only visit to these Isles. How fitting then that his star pupil Harrington should become his first Major winner at the course where his hero had done the business 54 years previously.