Thought for the Day
Never test the depth of the water with both feet
Cockles of the heart warmed all round
It was emphatically not the most dramatic Open Championship ever – once Dustin Johnson knocked it OB at Suez the destiny of the claret jug was pretty much sealed – but by heaven it was one of the most emotional. And in retrospect, having had a few hours to come to terms with the unlikely enormity of Darren Clarke’s achievement, probably the most surprising element of all was his serenity over those final two superb rounds of golf. And serenity really does seem to be the only appropriate word. It seems fitting, perhaps, that in a week when we both celebrated and mourned Seve Ballesteros, the man who believed absolutely in ‘Il Destino’ when it came to winning The Open, that an overweight, ageing champion with a history of both triumph and tragedy was seemingly destined to capture his own slice of golfing immortality in the 140th playing of the event.
Once again we have witnessed sport’s endless capacity to produce the most emotional if improbable stories, and the one with the greatest resonance is that of the old prize-fighter who comes off the ropes when he should be going down for the final count, to take his greatest victory. And without wanting to suggest that Darren is a washed-up has-been (more…)Add a comment
It is the 1st day of competition at the 140th Open, at last – game on.
For those looking for an omen – on our way in this morning we passed a bus numbered N50 going to …. Westwood.
All of the cones, road signs that have been lying around all week are now firmly in place. We even passed a crocodile of people walking from the station. To be fair that was the only place we were held up as they were shepherded across the road near the course by Kent Constabulary.
Another sign of the massive increase in numbers was that instead of parking in row 5 of Green(Sandwich) car park we are in a field some distance away. Looking around we can see hoards of people moving from all sorts of places towards the pay gates.
On the few exhibitor stands in the hospitality area the staff are more animated than they have been buoyed up by the influx of people.
There is a very noticeable increase in the helicopter traffic approaching the course and the BBC aerial view plane is almost constantly circling the course the drone of its engine becoming quite monotonous.
As an aside,an early contender for hat of the week is Ken Ferries ‘ wife – it looks like a squirrel black and brown in colour with knitted ears , 2 big buttons for eyes a smaller one for a nose. It even had a tail. (more…)Add a comment
We parked on the sea front last night and due to the very strong winds last night found that North Sea had ‘washed’ our car overnight. As it was 5.15 a.m. we just laughed and went off to Sandwich.
Margaret’s shift stared at 6 a.m. and mine at 4 p.m. so I was able to spend the final day of cameras being allowed on the course walking the whole course taking pictures of players , holes, 4th hole bunker, and a series of chief referee John Paramor. The girl friend of a golfing mate reckons she is related to John hence the photos – he spotted me doing it and I told him why. He did know Diane she is his brother’s cousin in law – yes I thought that was very tenuous too. By the way, for you older readers did you know that John’s Dad was the famous band leader Norrie Paramor?
The shift started and there is a very noticeable change in the mood of many of the players – best described as nervous anticipation coupled with a desire to get on with it.
We had a very quiet shift ending at 7 pm instead of 8 due to players wandering off early due to the cold or as one caddy said ’if we ain’t fixed it now it ‘s gonna stay bust’.
Ian Poulter was sitting in the buggy when a police officer approached him – this should make the blog interesting I thought. But he only wanted to compliment Ian on his working of the crowd over autographs. ebayers ask for loads of items to be autographed and the police are aware of this and the ill feeling it can cause when players spot this and refuse to join in. Ian said he was aware of many of the ‘professional ebayers’ and dealt with them firmly.
We ran him and his caddy back to his car in the players’ car park near to the buggy track.’ That Jag parked over there ‘he said pointing to a (more…)Add a comment
Our man in Sandwich has had a busy day – but managed a quick 18 at Herne Bay all the same:
“I rose bright and early. Well, at least there was no alarm call from yesterday’s gull – had to be at Sandwich for 6 a.m. We all arrived at about the same time and all very bright and eager for the day.
The pace has moved up a gear and it is beginning to get quite exciting; loads of players are on the range from 6.30 onwards and they are a lot more animated as well, and greater in number. The buggy team are in good spirits and we are all working well. I call for reinforcements and two arrive taking us up to a team of ten.
The team have devised a game – if we carry a Major winner in our buggy then we get a point for each of the Majors they have won. Planning begins in earnest as we try and remember how many Tom Watson has won as he seems to be the big winner around today. Rules are quickly written, and rewritten – we are not allowed to ask players directly how many they have won – this could avoid embarrassment later. One of the guys jumps the queue with his buggy to collect John Daley; he immediately has all of his points docked for cheating. (more…)Add a comment
Well we arrived at Herne Bay on a sunny Sunday ready to begin our stint at The Open, our 7th Open Championship – ‘inside the ropes’.
Our flat near the front was perfect and had also not been at an extortionate price, unlike other places. To be fair to the good folk of Kent the record for extortion still lies with a caravan site in Turnberry that wanted £2,000 for 6 nights in a caravan.
We reported for our first duties, Margaret ‘stealing‘mobile phones and me on a job you can’t buy; driving the players from the clubhouse to the practice ground. Due to my previous experience I was appointed shift leader (be still my beating heart) with some delightful young students who were very keen.
There were very few players there on Sunday so we spent lot of time doing dry runs to get used to the role. A late arrival was Justin Leonard, a previous winner. The very strong European contingent was still either in Inverness or at home drying out. Such was the lack of numbers that we clocked off at 7 pm instead of 8 – after reassuring the team that their take home pay would remain at the 8 pm level. (more…)Add a comment
Ever wondered who’s the lucky so and so with the job of driving the players around at the Open?
Meet Bill Edwards, a longstanding GoKart owner who’s going to be at St. George’s the whole week ferrying players to and from the practice ground. Bill and his wife Margaret regularly ‘do’ the Open (this is their seventh) and from what he tells us looking after the players can be pretty interesting. So he’s going to keep us updated every day on who’s done what, where, when and with who. With no Tiger this year we’re on safe ground we reckon, we won’t have to edit any x-rated material.
Protocol doesn’t allow any photos, but Bill’s blog diary will keep us all in the loop. If you click the ‘get our feed’ link at the bottom of the page you’ll get the latest news sent automatically.
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Thought for the Day
Light travels faster than sound. That is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak
Winning ain’t easy
The 1995 Walker Cup team, which beat the Americans 14-10 at Royal Porthcawl, featured an impressive line-up of British and Irish amateur talent. Padraig Harrington, Stephen Gallacher and David Howell have all gone on to taste considerable success in Europe and around the world, while Gary Wolstenholme is finally getting paid for his impressive talents, having joined the ranks of the European Seniors Tour. But another member of that victorious team, who was unbeaten during the competition, taking three points from a possible four, has had a slightly less stellar career. His name is Mark Foster and he has, since turning pro, recorded one European Tour victory, and that was back in 2003 when he landed the Dunhill Championship in South Africa after a six-man playoff.
Since then it has not even been a case of ‘close but no coconut’ as he has struggled to keep afloat in the turbulent waters of a Tour professional’s life – he makes plenty of cuts but rarely threatens the top of the leaderboard on a Sunday afternoon. You can imagine, therefore, that when he hits a streak of form, as he has done in recent weeks, he wants to ride it for all it’s worth but in the last fortnight he has twice led or shared the lead going into the final round, only to trip up coming down the stretch.
Two weeks ago in the BMW International Open he shot rounds of 68, 68, and 66 before a last day 72 left him tied third. And this weekend at the Alstom Open de France, three rounds of 68 were followed by a (more…)Add a comment
One of our very first customers, living in France, has just sent us this video. Yes, it’s far too long, but we promise you’ll be crying with laughter after 30 seconds.
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Just had a phone call from a customer who had an upset at the weekend and his GoKart electric golf trolley ended up at the bottom of a lake, still running. Took three hours for the rescue to happen, but when the trolley came out the motor was still running. Don’t try this at home.
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Rumour has it (well his own tweet) that Graeme McDowell is at St. G’s today for a quiet practice round. Looking good down there.
Helicopter footage courtesy of Mr. Andrew Cotter (just in case you thought we were utter stalkers). Where are the binoculars anyway?Add a comment