It has been a long two years since Shane Lowry lifted the Claret Jug at Royal Portrush. Listening to the commentary on day one of The Open and you could hear the warmth in the voices of the commentator’s as they were clearly happy to be back talking us through the action.
Here’s something you may not know though, one of our Links Diary team has been attending and working alongside the production and TV at The Open for many years now and he is down at Royal St George’s making the rest of team TLD slightly jealous. Graeme made his way down to ’England’s Garden’ earlier in the week and has collected some beautiful shots to bring us all closer to the action.
As you probably know, all of our content has focussed on the links of Scotland. This is the first time we have ventured out-with where golf began and this is incredibly fitting. You see, Royal St George’s was the first course in England to host The Open Championship.
One of the most famous members of the club was Sir Ian Fleming, the man who wrote the James Bond novels. In fact, the course staged a match between Bond and Gold Finger where the winner would take home $10,000. In the novel the course is called Royal St Mark’s but it is thought to have been inspired by Royal St George’s.
The course has a unique feature in that it has no holes that go in the same direction. This means that the world’s best are going to have to constantly finesse their shots to compensate for the ever-changing wind. The wind is, of course, one of the classic links features of a round on the links.
Links golf requires creativity that inland golf doesn’t. Tour golf is about knowing distances and landing the ball precisely where you have to but we all know that links golf doesn’t work that way. Royal St George’s has some of the most undulating and complex terrain of all Open rota courses.
It is going to really test the creativity of the competitors as they build their campaigns in the hope of becoming Champion Golfer of the Year. The champion here was Darren Clarke back in 2011, so technically we have a double Irish defence this week.
This is often regarded as one of the hardest of The Open courses with thirteen of the fourteen champions winning with a score of five-under or less. The only exception is Greg Norman with thirteen under. Whatever happens this week, it is just glorious to have The Open back, enjoy.
Words - Kenny Pallas
Photography - Graeme McCubbin