OPEN DIARY – THURSDAY
Get some of the anecdotes and interviews in our daily diary from the 136th Open Championship at Carnoustie in Scotland.
The last time the Open was staged at Carnoustie, tournament organisers the R&A were criticised for their “unfair and ridiculous” set-up of the course.
A few weeks ago in the qualifying competition at Sunningdale, one European Tour player said the R&A “couldn’t run a bath” after the fourth green was deemed unplayable due to the pin placement on top of a steep slope.
Eight players had already completed the hole – Australian Brett Rumford four-putting from two feet – and were forced to play it again after their rounds when the pin was relocated.
But at least R&A officials appear able to laugh at themselves.
Martin Kippax, chairman of the championship committee who admitted responsibility for the blunder, began the traditional pre-championship press conference yesterday with an anecdote involving colleague Rhodri Price.
Price apparently decided to enjoy a soak in the tub after dinner on Tuesday evening, opening the taps, adding the bubble bath and then retiring to watch some TV while the bath filled.
“Fifteen minutes later he decided it was time for the bath,” Kippax explained. He went into the bathroom, no water in the bath. He had forgotten to put the plug in.
“So, R&A couldn’t run a bath!”
No dodgy pins
One of those players affected by the qualifying farce was Sweden’s Fredrik Andersson Hed, who had made par the first time he played the hole, but ran up a double bogey on his second attempt.
That turned his 66 into a 68 but he ended up qualifying right on the mark of four under par.
Asked after a practice round at Carnoustie if there were any more dodgy pins, Andersson Hed said: “No, I’m glad to say, and I hope there won’t be.”
Carnoustie award for Leadbetter
The trophy everyone wants to get their hands on is obviously the Claret Jug, but many more awards are given out during Open week.
Swing guru David Leadbetter picked up one such award on Tuesday, the Zimbabwe-born coach named as a PGA Master Professional at Carnoustie.
Leadbetter was delighted with the honour and revealed he was still as passionate about coaching the game as he was as a teenager, when he used 1994 Open champion Nick Price as a “guinea pig.”
“It’s a great privilege,” said Leadbetter. “I think it is something that you aspire to when you first start in the profession – everybody aspires to be the best they can be and obviously to be awarded the highest one that the PGA has to offer is very pleasing and I’m thrilled about it.
“I joined the PGA back around 1970 when I was 19 so I go back with it a long way.
“At the time I still really wanted to be a player but I loved teaching all along and always had my nose in books and magazines even way back when and the technique side of things really fascinated me.
“It was something that probably affected my playing career because I was so swing orientated and very much a perfectionist and having grown up with peers like Nick Price and Mark McNulty they were handy guinea pigs in those early years.
“The great thing for me is that you are continually learning, whole new areas are opening up from the mental side to bio-mechanics which is a very exciting area too, looking at how certain techniques work with certain players depending on their build, depending on their mindset.”
Bob Torrance also honoured
Another legendary coach, Scot Bob Torrance, picked up the Association of Golf Writers Award for Outstanding Services to golf.
One of his most famous pupils, Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, presented Torrance with the award at Tuesday night’s dinner, and paid tribute to the 75-year-old’s undiminished enthusiasm for the game after 60 years.
“At Wentworth recently Bob came up to me and said ‘I’ve just broken the record, 15 and a half hours,”‘ said Harrington, who has been coached by Torrance for 11 years.
“I didn’t know what he meant until he explained he’d been working on the driving range for 15 and a half hours, from 5.30 in the morning until 9pm at night – and that was only because he was kicked off at 9!”
Tiger Woods is the 3/1 favourite with bookmakers to win a third straight Open title, but there are plenty of other bets available for those who don’t fancy those skinny odds.
Mobile phones may have been banned but Colin “Rabbit Ears” Montgomerie is a 10/1 shot with Boylesports to ask for a spectator to be removed for using their phone, while you can get 250/1 that Woods answers his own phone because wife Elin can’t get their baby daughter to stop crying.
Suddenly that 3/1 is looking a far more attractive proposition.
Carr and Nagle make the Hall of Fame
Ireland’s Joe Carr and Australian Kel Nagle will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on November 12 as part of the Class of 2007.
Carr, who passed away in 2004, will become the first Irish member and was selected in the Lifetime Achievement Category. Nagle was selected in the Veteran’s Category.
Born just outside Dublin in 1922, Carr won the Amateur Championship three times and played in a record 10 Walker Cup matches. In 1991 he was captain of the R&A.
Nagle is best known for his 1960 Open victory at St Andrews, though his career includes 61 wins in Australasia.
Edited by Phil Casey, PA Sport
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