Monday, 25 July 2011

Tee time in Sandwich

No that isn't a spelling mistake in the title, I am referring of course to golf. This has nothing to do with beauty so feel free to switch off now before I get into golf geek mode!

You may or may not know that in golf there are four majors a year and only one of those is held outside the USA, The Open. It is held at a different links course around the UK every year and I am fortunate to live right by three that have had this honour. The club I belong to sadly hasn't had it since 1932, but St George's, (women members are not allowed there) is only round the corner from me and tends to get it every decade. The town has been building up for The Open for months and months, but the actual tournament is just 4 days.

Golfer Adam Scott modelling for Burberry
Before I lose everyone right now, I had better admit that as well as admiring the very talented golfers, the main thing that got me interested in golf as a teenager was one talented golfer in particular, Australian Adam Scott. He has modelled for Burberry and is easily the best looking player on tour. To make this year's tournament all the more exciting, he became my next door neighbour for the week.

This is probably going to make me sound like the worst golf fan in the world but I really prefer the practice days if I am down on the course. Phones are completely banned and we had to go through security similar to airports which seemed excessive, and you could only take cameras on the practice days. There is no way my health would allow me to traipse all over a hilly course for 4 hours following my favourites so instead I chose to loiter around the putting green, 18th hole and 1st tee. If you really want to follow the golf closely, I find it better to watch the TV coverage, as it is impossible to keep track of 132 golfer's progress on the course.

The stands at the 18th green before the tournament started
It was Rory McIlroy's first tournament after his major victory in America so there was a lot of hype about him, and luckily I quite by accident managed to see him play with Darren Clarke and others at 6.30am one morning.

Rory McIlroy at practice

 To put it into perspective, my town is very quiet and tends to be populated by the over 65s, so when an international event like this arrives on your doorstep, bringing 180,000 people with it, it is quite a sight to behold. Although I studied in St Andrews and was there for the same tournament in 2005, the home of golf actually has hotels etc and is so much more geared up for something like this.

At The Open in St Andrews 2005, the weather was a lot better there!

Sadly the weather was diabolical, wind, rain and just plain miserable. The only decent day was Friday, when I had to be at Canary Wharf, so I saw less of the golf than I had wished, but the most depressing part is how quickly it is all over. By 6am the morning after Darren Clarke's emotional win, the signs were down, and everything was being dismantled. It is like a ghost town. In St Andrews it wasn't the same as tourists visited constantly and there was always a buzz about the place, along with the annual Dunhill Links. Lets hope I don't have to wait another decade for something interesting to happen here!

Couldn't let this post go by without at least one picture of Adam & I!

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