MY OPEN – THE PRACTICE GROUND

Features

Matt Cooper makes a dawn raid on the practice ground to size up how Vijay Singh and John Daly warm-up.

The practice ground was a bleak place to be at 7.30 on Friday morning – a biting North-easterly wind was chilling the bones and freezing the blood of all but the hardiest locals.
Not that Vijay Singh seemed to notice.
In fact he looked completely oblivious to the inhospitable July weather as he continued to excavate his little corner of the driving range.
According to Neil Holland, a member of the local Stationmasters Golf Club and a marshal in the practice ground stand this week, Vijay didn’t bother with booking accommodation this week – he just spent morning, noon and night bashing balls.
“It’s not aimless practice, though,” Neil insists. “He starts every session with slow motion swings before moving through the gears until he unleashes the full power.”
“And once that happens he just pounds the ball 300 yards time and time again.”
I can vouch for that. He had driver in hand at 7.30 am, and was still there when I passed him again one hour later.
Tiger Woods draws the biggest crowds of the week and like Singh he makes the most of his time off the course.
“Aye, he does his work,” says Neil. “Every club in the bag gets a workout and then he marches off to the greens to sharpen his short game. He’s not number one by accident.”
Not all the golfers are quite so committed.
John Daly – who else? – has a routine all his own.
“It’s unique,” said Neil. “He lights up a fag, grabs a bacon bap with one hand and swings at the ball with the other.”
“He does that for five minutes and then he gets bored.”

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