|Grand day out|
|Thursday, 02 September 2010|
Robert Jeffrey reports from this year’s Open Championship
The Open Championship took place at St Andrews in August and I was fortunate to be a guest of the Royal and Ancient on the first day’s play. The Champion’s Challenge to mark the 150th celebration, which was open to previous champions over four holes, had been planned for the day before. Unfortunately, this was cancelled on account of the appalling weather. However, Thursday morning was fair although not sunny.
‘Wild Thing’ launched an enormous drive which was still rising as it passed the hazard on the left hand side
We joined the course beside the sixteenth tee and watched several well known professionals, including Sir Nick Faldo, tee off. The loudest applause from the crowd undoubtedly came when the new svelt John Daly, arrived on the tee. Following his gastric band, he is alleged to have lost around 100lbs, but he remains a big chap! At this point, he was in contention and was on the leader board. Previous competitors had taken long irons to land short of the Principal’s Nose (bunkers) on the left and the out of bounds on the right; ‘Wild Thing’ went to his golf bag and retrieved his ‘big stick’ and launched an enormous drive which was still rising as it passed the hazard on the left-hand side. On a 423-yard hole, he left himself a mere pitch to the green! His golf swing was only matched by his flamboyant dress, which included a pair of purple/blue psychedelic trousers with a fractal design. Of further note were the ladies that accompanied Mr Daly, who wore miniskirts of the same fabric – much to the approval of the predominantly male crowd.
I followed this group in to the notorious seventeenth hole and then made my way to join friends in the R&A marquee. We proceeded to Forgan House, a most spectacular location overlooking the eighteenth green. One floor up, this commands a panoramic view and we watched several competitors holing out. Professor Maran, a past president of the College, also seemed to be enjoying the day from this vantage point.
We returned for lunch to the Links restaurant where clearly the great and the good of golf were dining. After lunch, we made our way to the new stand just short of the famous seventeenth ‘road hole’. We watched numerous players fail to get par; some competitors obstructed by the wall, but fortunately nobody in the infamous road hole bunker.
By 7pm it was time to consider returning home and the drizzle commenced. On reaching the car, the heavens truly opened and I had sympathy for those competitors still left on the course. Altogether, it was a thoroughly enjoyable day at the Open Championship, which was justly won by the young South African, Louis Oosthuizen.