Ricoh British Open – Wednesday

July 27, 2011

My Player is Moira Dunn

The tee sheet was filled with fourballs which precluded any type of reasonable pace of play. Chips and putts from every which way was the order of the day. We played eight holes then cut over to thirteen and joined a threesome.

The weather remains unbelievable. Overcast this morning with very light wind then the sun broke out and it was down right balmy. At least for here. Actually put on sunscreen. Wondering what country I’m in. Tomorrow is another story. Rain expected.

I figure the long par three sixteenth will prove to be one of the toughest. 190 to the front edge with no forward tee. The green is 50 yards deep and slopes off on both sides. There is a front shelf but starting at 17 deep, it slopes away and left. Plenty of balls will not find the putting surface. The 18th is another good one.

GhostThe compass Jeremy was using today was not syncing with what is printed in the yardage book. I checked on Google Earth and the book is correct. Scary.

The group we joined had the player who’s caddie refused to be fired yesterday. Wouldn’t you know it, he was there waiting for her when we finished. They conversed but no fireworks ensued. Good thing.

The player with the missing passport planned to have it sent back to her but the delivery service refused when they found out what it was. He hubby had to take it back himself. At least that’s how the story goes. Don’t know for sure.

Thumbs downNever got the promised picture with the Solheim Cup from last week.

Received this note of passing from “Little Rick”. – You might be one of the few remaining caddies or players who remembers Wild Man Steve. He recently passed away in Tampa. He had been caddying at Old Memorial until this year when his health deteriorated. He was one of the originals who came over to the LPGA tour from the PGA tour in the early 70s. I think he was 68.

Then there was this:

LPGA Announces New Major Event and Accolades for Twin Eagles’ Golf Course Architect Steve Smyers

LPGA Qualifying Tournament – Stage I Second Round Leaderboard – Looks like Lexi is gonna breeze.

Ricoh British Open – Tuesday

July 26, 2011

My Player is Moira Dunn

It’s pro-am day. If you’re not in, no playing the course before or after. It was a double-shotgun this year.

I met Moira at the course for breakfast then hit the rock pile. Chipping and putting afterward.

Had fish and chips for dinner at Murrys on Gray Street. Just a short walk into town. Had to at least once. I was low on oil.Open-mouthed smile

SunStruck gold with the weather today. Best I’ve ever seen here. Sunny and a light breeze.

Borrowed £10 from Louie yesterday. Had to add 20p for the vig  when I paid up this morning. There’s a reason he owns half of Deland.Money

Some caddies just won’t take no for an answer. It took one LPGA rookie almost a half an hour to axe her looper today. He kept trying to talk her out of it. Looked like the “It’s not you, it’s me.” episode out of Seinfeld. The dramatics went on and on with her mom paying very close attention. He finally agreed and put the bag up. Heard she’ll be taking a local.

Ran into former LPGA pro Diane Barnard. Worked for her once many moons ago in St. Louis. She’s now working with the LET Access Series which is the counterpart of the Futures Tour. Still looks great.

CameraAlso saw Stephanie Croce. Yes “Little Rick”, your hello was passed on. The Nerd will try and take her pic and send along.

Another former LPGA pro, who grew up just around the corner from the Carnoustie Course, is looping this week. Kathryn Imrie is toting the sack for Jenny Shin.

This travel-woe-trifecta may take the prize. One of the caddies had a scheduled pick-up from tournament transportation in Evian on Monday morning to catch his flight in Geneva. They whiffed the pick-up so he missed his flight. Of course, his connection was toast also so a new ticket had to be purchased. He then missed the last train to Carnoustie and had to pony-up $250 for a taxi! Besides all the lost time, it cost him a cool grand for the extra arrangements.

I finally got some sleep last night but still a little groggy. Maybe one more day. I’ll try counting someBlack SheepBlack SheepBlack Sheep

Then there was this:

Pickerell qualifies for LPGA tourney

Ccommish Mike Whan took a long journey to tour’s fifth major

Ricoh British Open – Monday

July 25, 2011

My Player is Moira Dunn

Our EasyJet flight out of Geneva to Liverpool was delayed and we almost didn’t get to the Hertz counter in time before it shutdown for the night At the stroke of midnight, our awaiting chariot would have morphed into a pumpkin but we made in by fifteen minutes. Spared us from spending the night there and starting in the morn.

Rick had secured the rental and was comfortable with driving on the left side of the road. He had previous experience with varying degrees of success. Julieta’s gps was a godsend. I got to sleep instead of navigating via the turn-by-turn instructions printed from Google maps but for Rick, it was balls-to-the-wall driving. Making very good time, he did not squander the opportunity to fit in a couple coffee breaks and a snore-fest at one of the numerous rest areas. I awoke now and then by the thumping noise tires on the rumble strips, warning of impending departure from the paved surface, but so did Rick. He kept it on the fairway most of the trip.

We arrived at the Abertay Guest House around 7 AM just in time for Kate (our host along with her husband Karl) to make us our first, and probably my last, full Scottish breakfast of the week. Ham, sausages, blood pudding, egg, hash browns, mushrooms, baked beans and tomato! Tomorrow, it’ll be just coffee.

The Abertay is about fifteen minutes, without traffic, from Carnoustie and on the bus line. May come in handy if I can’t get a ride from Rick. The tournament does not have enough cars to make caddie runs.

Beat Moira to the course and we touched ‘em all with no one pushing us. The clubs had not yet arrived via the lorry and the tee sheet was ominously empty. Time for plenty of chipping, putting and course strategy planning. Of course, when the wind changes direction and starts to gale, you start all over. I hit the wall on the twelfth tee. Sleep depravation got the best of me. My legs turned rubbery and I started to babble. Almost tripped over the tee marker.

Continuous travel woes are plaguing the tour. The luggage truck arrived earlier than promised but it didn’t help one player who used the transport for her bags and clubs. Forgot she packed her passport in one of the pieces and can’t get out of France until obtaining a replacement. Also, Mariajo Uribe was planning to play in the Monday qualifier but her agent applied for her visa starting Monday instead of Sunday. She too couldn’t leave and get there in time. Went home instead. That’s an expensive mistake.

Ricoh British Open – Round Four

August 1, 2010

My player is Kris Tamulis.

When we birdied the last yesterday to put us at +9, I told Kris the goal for tomorrow was to keep it out of double digits. We did with a splendid three under par round.

Today was the best all week weather-wise. Took the rain pants off to work on my tan.

Missed opportunity: If you play golf for a living, you know that the front pin positions can be the most challenging and on a course like this, even more so. The decision to land short and run it on or carry it to the green and putt back is part of what golf here is all about. But today’s setup took that decision out of our hands. No front pins were offered in fact, the shortest was a full eighteen paces on. The twelfth (placed smack in the middle of a knob) and the seventeenth (just on the top shelf) were the most difficult. Outside of those two, the pin positions were quite mundane.

See ya! The tenth hole has a plethora of similar yardage marks along the right side of the fairway and if you’re not careful, it’s easy to miscalculate the distance. Our playing partner, Eunjung Yi, must have done just that and flew her approach onto the middle of the eleventh tee! It was a good twenty yards past the pin.When Kris and I finally noticed where it was, “At least she has a perfect lie” was the best I could come up with. Not bad actually.

Fancy meeting you here: Rick ‘The Nerd’ stopped for a potty break at the TV compound while playing the fourteenth. When he returned to fetch his clubs, a gentleman wondered what was up and asked if he was off to play a little golf. It was commentator Peter Alliss.

Keeping in touch: Twitter can be a very useful and surprising conduit at times. When I flew in with Karen Stupples last Monday, she tweeted that everyone at Heathrow seemed to be in a grumpy mood. Within minutes, a reply from the airport ‘head twit’ asked what could they do to help. “Put in a professional golfer’s lounge” was the reply. Just can’t see that happening. By the way, Karen is pretty good in the TV booth.

And then there was this.

Mandarin woman pursues career on LPGA Tour

New golf coach eager to lead the Cougars

Ricoh British Open – Round Three

July 31, 2010

My player is Kris Tamulis.

Four over today. Going for the pins tomorrow. Maybe.

Last in, first out: Seon Hwa Lee birdied the final hole yesterday to earn her a spot on the weekend. Only problem is, she was in the final group, which played til dark, and teed off first this morning. Not much turnaround time.

Another good one: When one veteran bag-toter was asked how does someone get into caddying and the reply was quick and to the point. “The question is, how does someone get out of caddying?”

Slip slidin’ away: Yesterday afternoon was brutally messy which made the decent, from the eighteenth tee down to the fairway, especially treacherous. It’s a dirt path which turns into a mudslide if you’re not careful. One fairway technician tried his best but didn’t negotiate the very end and went for a wicked backward tumble. First his tailbone then the back of his head bounced off the turf. All the stars and a few planets were visible for a time I heard.

That’s what friends are for: One of the caddies was about to throw away his betting ticket thinking it was a loser until his buds convinced him otherwise. He’s now £500 richer.

Pinocchio would be proud: More accusations of an Asian ‘playing loose with the rules’ arose today. Her ball lay in a bunker with very little room behind for a proper backswing. Apparently, her attempt at striking the ball hit the back of the bunker and she never made contact. Claimed it was a practice swing but her playing partner swears it wasn’t. Quite an argument ensued afterward in the clubhouse. No penalty was given. Who was it you may ask? All I could say is, nobody doesn’t like her.

Ricoh British Open – Round Two

July 30, 2010

My player is Kris Tamulis

Two over today puts us at +5. Just snuck in the cut as the afternoon rain took its toll. As every second ticked away, we got closer until the fives got in. One very veteran looper estimated it was a four shot advantage having the late/early flop. I think he was right on the mark.

Free ride: In fact, it was twenty. That’s how many golf carts were stolen at last year’s Ricoh British Open held in Lytham St. Annes. This year, a keypad has been installed on every one and must be used to start the carts.

You got to know when to hold it … Few and far between port-a-potties have players and caddies alike finding the nearest hideaway in the bushes to do their business. Even if you’re lucky to find one, the pungent aroma will knock your socks off and most don’t even have toilet paper!

Quite alarming: Scenario #1: Earlier in the week, the only restroom that seemed available for our use was the handicapped in the clubhouse. Once when I was using the facilities, a peculiar red cord hung from the ceiling that seemed to have no purpose. Of course, I just had to give it a tug. Oops! That was the ‘call for help’ alarm just in case you couldn’t get off the throne. Must happen all the time cause the guy who came to reset it was moving about as fast as a tortoise in high heels.

Scenario #2: Beep, beep, beep was the first indication something was amiss at our apartment last evening. It was a problem with the alarm system that would should have been fixed by Rick entering the reset code per the posted instructions. NOT! That set off the full fire alarm which woke the entire building! It eventually subsided but that beeping continued all night. I thought all the commotion was just a dream so I never left my bed.

And then there was this.

History of Royal Birkdale and Women’s British Open


Ricoh British Open – Tuesday

July 27, 2010

My player is Kris Tamulis.

Arrived at the course around 1:30 yesterday afternoon and received a note to meet Kris on the back nine. She had already teed off taking a handful of sticks which ‘The Nerd’ had to tote together with the fourteen his player Moira Dunn had in the bag. By the time I got situated, borrowed sixty quid from Worth, bought a yardage book and dressed for the potential nasty weather that turned perfect, it was a bit late. To compensate, I started on eighteen, walking the course in reverse order. As I approached the fifteenth fairway, that unmistakable bucket hat, atop the gargantuan noggin of Moira’s looper, alerted my senses that I had found my quarry. We finished the back then continued on.

Today was just practice. A morning and afternoon shotgun pro-am filled the Royal Birkdale links and no play was permitted before or after.

Circuitous travels: Before heading for England, I spent the night at the Hotel Stars, just a stone’s throw from GVA. At 60€, it was the cheapest I could find but worth less than half that I discovered. I bit the bullet but the kicker was the 24€ the b####rd hit me for the cab ride to the airport. I’ll know better next time. This place should be your last resort!

The next hurdle to climb was getting to Southport. The plan was to take the train from Manchester Airport to Southport then another to the course. But luck was on my side this time. Karen Stupples was on the same flight and offered a ride in her rental car which turned out to be a ‘Beemer’ instead of the Ford she had requested. Even though the rate was the same, she figured it may cost her more due to the increased chance of multiple speeding tickets.

Karen was not that familiar with this part of the country so her friend Kay was called upon to guide us along. Karen and Kay seemed like close friends but then again, how close can you really be to your GPS? As it turned out, it was a good thing Kay was navigating. A road closure had us going in one big circle.

We drove in the rain the entire way which meant the early arrivals played the course in the same conditions. Didn’t look like they experienced a fun round. Cleared up for the afternoon groups.

Monday qualifier: Brooky wins by four.

This ain’t the LPGA: The tireless and altruistic volunteer sprit is not to be found on this side of the pond. At least to the extent as in the States. Most folks here get paid for their duties here such as the guy minding the bag room. He closed it at 7:30 yesterday evening (after pulling a thirteen hour shift) leaving some luggage under lock and key til today. Even transportation called it a day at seven. Many players and their assistants were still on the course.

Don’t leave France without it: A luggage service was provided for caddies and players from Evian to Birkdale to avoid toting that extra weight aloft. A couple lorries jammed full with clubs and bags departed Sunday evening and arrived about midday on Monday. Unfortunately, one looper’s passport made the trip with his suitcase. Had to stay another day and get a temporary from the American Embassy.

Sometimes, it’s the little things: That’s how Karen Stupples saw it when she was first off by herself last week. The breakfast offered-up by our benignant host was second to none and she calculated that expedient play would get her another go-around before lunch was served. Made it with time to spare.

More of the same: I was next to the eighteenth green when Shin made her birdie putt to take the lead. Barley got an acknowledgement from the gallery. It was as if she made a par to finish with a seventy-eight. No one wanted her to win. Sorry Seoul Sisters, that’s the reality.

Wow! This is what happens when I take a couple days off. My fingers ache.

And then there was this.

LPGA’s Futures Tour admits Sarah Brown should not have been disqualified for illegal sand wedge

Ladies Golf Union addresses Alexis Thompson issue

Morgan Pressel: Pardon her French

Amy Winehouse plans to take golf lessons

Local millionaire Jim Justice taps golf passion to bring The Greenbrier back to life

BP Oil Spill: Clean-Up Crews Can’t Find Crude in the Gulf Huh?

Getting a university degree ‘can slow down dementia’ Back to school for me!

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