DEREK LAWRENSON: My Sandwich highs and lows… the fans make The Open special

The 149th Open Championship was very entertaining, with Collin Morikawa prevailing.

There were plenty of plus points from events at Royal St George’s but there were also some negatives to consider. 

Derek Lawrenson provides his highs and lows from the competition.

.

Derek Lawrenson provides his positives and negatives from the 149th Open in Sandwich

Share

 

THE HIGHS 

The fans

Count the ways they make The Open special. Sure they have their favourites — Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose are the top five — but there’s something to cherish about all 156 players being given their due, simply for being good enough to make it to the first tee. 

The fans make The Open special in many ways and give great support to all of the players

 

The 11th hole

I love finding a long par three played into the wind because it tells you who can play links golf and who can’t. This was a pearler, with the bonus of lovely views out to the Channel. Top of the class was Paul Casey, with a long iron that never got more than 30ft off the ground and finished 6ft away. He then missed the putt. No wonder so many golfers are driven mad. 

The eleventh hole at Royal St George’s caused difficulty for many golfers at the tournament 

 

The weather

Arriving on Monday in a torrential downpour, there were puddles all the way to the press centre. Thankfully, the storms abated and we got one of those Opens played in blissfully warm conditions. What joy to find a spot on a hillside, where the only ‘ping’ that people were thinking about was of the putter variety. 

The storms abated, with the majority of The Open being played in blissfully warm conditions

 

THE LOWS

Location

Yes, it felt wondrous to be at an Open with so many people but I couldn’t help but smile as the other thing we haven’t experienced at an event for quite a while made itself known: the traffic jam. You couldn’t design a town less suitable to host an Open. There’s no way Sandwich, charming as it is, would be on the Open rota if it wasn’t the only venue in the south of England. 

One frustration is that you couldn’t design a town less suitable to host an Open than Sandwich

 

Phil Mickelson 

No appearance in the media centre, despite being a major champion, which is certainly a first in my long experience. I mean, all that negative publicity he received following his victory in the US PGA Championship in May would annoy anyone. Apparently, Mickelson is still fuming about a piece in Detroit a few weeks ago. And that’s a reason to blank everyone else? 

Phil Mickelson’s lack of appearance at the media centre at the Open was rather unusual

 

Late tee times

We’re going the Wimbledon route, aren’t we? Forgetting that we’re a summer sport and teeing off at times that stretch play into the evening hours. Starting the final group of the third round at 3.55pm made no sense to anyone — bar the producers of American television. Over there, they got to watch the action during the afternoon. That’s when we should be able to watch it, too. 

The late tee times made no sense to anybody apart from the producers of American television

Share