It’s still anybody’s Open…which doesn’t augur too well for TG’s flight back home.
We’re due to catch an evening flight from Prestwick airport back to London but that could be in jeopardy if there’s a play-off which at the moment seems a distinct possiblity.
So many players are stll in the Claret Jug picture though, for me, Lee Westwood is looking a good bet to win his first, long overdue major.
At the time of writing this Westwood was playing solid, steady Eddie golf while those around him were generally dropping shots left, right and centre with poor Ross Fisher being the biggest culprit.
Another young Englishman, beanpole Chris Wood, has impressively played his way into contention and don’t rule Uncle Tom out yet. He’s still very much alive and kicking…
It’s rivetting stuff but hopefully it won’t be necessary to go into ‘extra time.’ Having said that, a play-off involving wily Watson and ‘Westy’ would be well worth watching…and missing a flight for!
What a day we’ve got ahead of us. Tom Watson looking good on top, Brits challenging and a whole host of other big names in contention.
Turnberry has stood up brilliantly all week, both from a playing and spectating point of view, and with the course beginning to yield birdies on Sunday it looks like we’re in for a tasty finish.
The only problem is I just can’t work out who to cheer for. I think every golf fan has fallen in love with Tom Watson again, and then there’s the likes of Ross Fisher, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell and Justin Rose threatening to end the 10 year British major drought.
And what about the possibilty of the ‘Cabrera slam’? The Argenitine is handily placed on +1, and with the 2007 US Open and this year’s Masters already to his name I wonder what odds the bookies are giving on him winning today and completing the quadruple at the USPGA Championship next month.
With all this going on, who cares that Tiger Woods didn’t make the cut? And I so nearly managed to write the whole thing without mentioning him…
Oops, I’ve done it again. I just had to go out and catch up with ‘Uncle Tom’ didn’t I? And as a result the five-times Open champ paid the price.
I caught up with Turnberry’s 1977 Open victor on the 9th and Watson only went and three putted from the rear of the green to register a bogey. TG strikes again!
The sorry tale continued: a birdie attempt at 10 just failed to drop and at the par-3 11th Watson again went so close to holing a 15 footer for birdie despite the best efforts of the enormous galleries to blow the ball in.
Watson was cheered on every inch of the way, cries of ‘Come on, Tom’ echoing around the Ailsa swiftly followed by whoops and whistles.
The huge crowds were loving every second, every step and every shot though I decided to leave Tom to it after watching him three putt again for another bogey on no. 12.
Turnberry is great for the galleries with some of the best vantage points in Open golf. None more so than the massive dune topped by a war memorial towering over the 10th and 12th holes.
It’s Turnberry’s answer to Wimbledon’s Henman Hill and Murray Mound. They should probably call it the Turnberry Tuft…
I’ve got serious reservations about watching Tom Watson this afternoon.
So far this week I’ve been something of a ‘Jonah’ virtually every time I’ve ventured out onto the course, consistently putting the mockers on the players I’ve chosen to follow.
I’ve just got back into the Media Centre after watching Kenny Perry’s last two 3rd round holes. What happened? He only went and missed a tap-in putt for birdie on 17 and then watched in dismay as his tee shot at the last trickled into the deep left fairway bunker.
Over the first couple of days I witnessed a good slice of Ian Poulter (+14) and Greg Norman’s (+12) untold woes.
Is it me or is it just coincidence? Of course it’s almost certainly the latter but you never know and that’s why I just might stay clear of Mr Watson when he tees it up in a bit.
I know us journos should be neutral but just about everybody in here is rooting for 59-year-old Watson in the hope of telling the Greatest Open Story That’s Ever Been Told…
The weather hasn’t been as good today but that didn’t stop me (TG Features Writer Kit Alexander) getting out onto the course to see Tiger Woods in the flesh for the very first time.
I followed Woods, Westwood and Ishikawa for the first seven holes and got within touching distance of the world number one, but resisted the urge.
The rain came pelting down on the sixth green but I wasn’t going to head in until I’d seen a birdie.
Fortunately, Tiger duly obliged on the par 5 seventh and the roar really made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
I decided to take a walk alongside the 16th, 17th and 18th on my way back to the media centre and, I’ve gotta tell you, the 16th green really does have to be seen to be believed.
The TV just doesn’t do the undulations and slope at the front of the green justice. It really is brutal and none of the groups I saw come through were threatening the front pin position.
Fortunately it’s been a case of so-far-so-good on the Turnberry traffic front.
Much to our relief we’ve experienced relatively troublefree and painless trips to and from Turnberry from our base in the centre of Ayr.
In fact the only spot of road congestion we’ve encountered to date came on Tuesday night and as a result of the bumper-to-bumper mayhem our eagerly-awaited game at Prestwick had to be delayed which was a crying shame.
Otherwise it’s been a piece of cake which I suppose is down to the disappointing Turnberry turnouts – just 19,500 pitched up for the practice days while yesterday’s 1st round attendance was 23,500…figures which are well down compared to virtually every other venue on the Open rota.
Turnberry may be the most beautiful and breathtaking of all the Open venues but being stuck on a limb on the Ayrshire coastline, it’s also the most remote and not the easiest place in the world to get to.
But if you’re based in Ayr, as we are, taking the coastal road back home is a doddle. Not only that it’s one of the most scenic roads in Britain as you’re rewarded with stunning panoramic vistas over to the Isle of Arran, Ailsa Craig and beyond.
It’s a sight to behold and sets you up nicely for the rest of the golfing day…
There’s some days at work when you think “things aren’t too bad are they.” Today is one of those days.
TG Editor-in-chief Andy Calton and Equipment Editor Jon Greathead were out on the course just after 7.30am and watched the evergreen Tom Watson tee off with Sergio Garcia and the seemingly-unflapable Italian amateur Matteo Manassero.
Four hours later on and the “old” boy’s leading the Open – great stuff!
One man not leading the Open is Greg Norman. The Aussie had a shocker today, and we watched him struggle as early as the fifth hole. A poor drive set up a hooked approach which set up a lost ball. A double-bogey was inevitable but two birdies in the final two holes did “salvage” a 77.
Tiger’s not having his finest day – but saying that he is one-under, just four off the lead. Playing partner for the first two days Lee Westwood couldn’t be hitting the ball any better while Aussie John Senden shot a sublime 66, despite only arriving here on Tuesday.
Mr Watson has jusT made his way into the press centre for interview – we’ll have his thoughts online ASAP!
TG duo Kevin Brown and Kit Alexander had a narrow escape – courtesy of South African star Rory Sabbatini.
Brown and Alexander were innocently going about their business after American ace Sean O’Hair invited them to do an ‘In the Bag’ video feature with him.
But disaster nearly struck when Sabbatini somehow managed to horribly thin a wedge shot which fairly whistled past the startled TG pair who couldn’t believe their eyes and ears.
They were literally within inches of a trip to the local hospital. And while they were counting their lucky stars, Rory barely batted an eyelid and carried on regardless.
Hopefully his short game improves by the time the real action starts otherwise we don’t fancy his chances. The galleries could be in for a pretty rough time too!
After two relatively quiet days at Turnberry, things have perked up considerably. The spectators are flocking into the venue and the media centre is awash with golf writers just aching for the action to start.
Weatherwise it’s a jam-spangler of a day – sunny, warm and without too much wind. But let’s face it, that could all change very quickly up in Scotland!
We’ll be bringing you all the latest from the runners and riders as they go through their usual pre-tournament media engagements. Spain’s Sergio Garcia has just sat down with the assembled media so we’ll have his thoughts on the site soon.
Garcia actually tees off for his final practice round at 1250 along with former US Open champions Michael Campbell and Retief Goosen.
Right, be sure to log back on later for all the gossip from a very sunny Turnberry!
Right, it’s day two of Open Championship week and things are certainly a good bit busier than yesterday at the course.
Security seems tighter than in previous years, with Courses Editor Kevin Brown well and truly examined before he was allowed in.
But after that mild brush with the Law, Kev has made his way onto the famous Turnberry links ahead of an early morning interview with amiable American Kenny Perry.
Last night, the TG staff were invited to Callaway’s annual media night at the Open. The stunning Culzean Castle was the venue and although rain peppered the impressive structure, six Callaway players turned up and answered all manner of questions.
Thongchai Jaidee revealed that he would have been in the army had it not been for golf, while former US Open winner Michael Campbell admitted he turned down a lucrative communications career in New Zealand to pursue his golfing dream!
We’ll be blogging later today to bring you up-to-the-minute news from the second practice day, but for now that’s just about it…..
We’ve just had a wander out onto the front nine at Turnberry – and while the sun is shining and the scenery spectacular, the rough is punishing and the farways narrow!
There aren’t too many fans in just yet, so the wild stuff is still very untrampled – but if the wind blows this is going to be one tough week.
We followed amiable Brit Nick Dougherty through the first five holes – and apart from signing a plethora of autographs the Callaway staffer also got down to business with some booming drives, fine iron shots and well-read putts. The third is a par 4 measuring a whopping 489 yards – and today it played into the teeth of the wind. Dougherty hit driver straight down the middle and then rescue club – for the shorter hitters there are some holes that are definetely going to take their toll.
Away from the course, TG staffers have already been stung in the canteen. There wasn’t much change from a tenner for a cous-cous salad and a chicken sandwich!
But this is the Open – and we’ll pay whatever! More updates soon!
MONDAY – 1030
It’s the start of Open Championship week – and TG have landed safely at Turnberry to bring you the latest happenings from both on and off the course!
After a stellar couple of weeks for German Martin Kaymer, he’s straight into practice round action today with none other than three-time Open champ Nick Faldo.
As for what’s going on at the minute – well, it’s pretty quiet but the atmosphere is certainly building in the media centre as more and more journalists and photographers sign in for one of the most exciting weeks in the golfing calender.
Tonight, the three-strong editorial team of Editor-in-chief Andy Calton, Courses Editor Kevin Brown and Equipment Editor Jon Greathead are with Callaway at their annual Open Championship press extravaganza. We don’t know what to expect but judging from years gone by there will be a smattering of top-quality names all doing their bit for one of the biggest manufacturers in the game.
We’ll tell you what went on tomorrow but that’s about it for now – keep logging on to see what we’ve been up to and what’s going on at the course.