The 2009 British Open Championship began at Turnberry on Thursday.My day started in perfect fashion with a 7:30 a.m. starting time a few miles away at Prestwick Golf Club. This is significant because the Open Championship began in 1860, and
I would like to take a moment and introduce you to my caddy, Chris McBride. He is going to help take us through this wonderful Scottish journey.
Caddies can be a fruitful source for history and trivia. In my lifetime, I have been fortunate to play some great courses with caddies — Augusta National,
McBride rates as the finest caddy I have ever had because he provided more than just correct yardages, local advice and the line on my putts.
He helped me understand the
significance of the Open Championship and how this part of the world has shaped championship golf as we know it.
His descendents were Irish. They changed their name from the Irish McBryde to the Scottish McBride. They did so, hoping to get jobs in the Scottish shipyards at a time when Irish Catholics couldn’t get hired.
According to McBride, the greatest Scottish golfer in history was Alan Robertson.
“He was undefeated in four-ball play. No one could touch him, not even Old Tom Morris,” McBride said.
Robertson was a golf ball maker, and one of his “featheries” recently sold for $46,000. He died in 1859 and is buried 20 feet to the right of Old and Young Tom Morris at
Upon Robertson’s death, heated arguments surfaced all over
In 1860, the first Open Championship was contested solely for the reason of seeing who would be Robertson’s successor. It was a three-round, stroke-play tournament, and
The tournament was played in a single day.
“They started in the dark and finished in the dark,” McBride said.
The winner was Willie Park.
There is a stone monument on the site of the original first tee. When the course opened, the No. 1 hole was a 587-yard par-6. In 1870, Young Tom Morris made a three on the hole on his way to winning the Open.
The 17th hole at Prestwick, a par 4, is known as “
There is not much maintainable turf at today’s
Even though it is no longer on the Open Championship rotation, it still is used for major amateur championships.
My group consisted of fellow PGA officers, Jim Remy, president; Allen Wronowski, vice president; and Joe Steranka, chief executive officer.
We played from the club designated tees of the day, about 6,500 yards. Our round finished under the allowed 4 hours and 11 minutes for a foursome, and we walked.
I used a driver once in the first five holes. The “wee stretch” from holes 7 to 13 featured five par-4s that ranged in length from 430 to 460 yards, a 215-yard par-3 and a 550-yard par-5. The home stretch included the 16th and 18th, which were 284 and 288 yards and were drivable.
During the round, I learned several new golf terms courtesy of McBride, the caddy.
“A son-in-law shot” is not what you were hoping for, but you will live with it. Let me go on record as saying that I have two great sons-in-law.
“A mother-in-law shot” is looking good going away. No comment.
“A sister-in-law shot” is up there where you know you shouldn’t be. Hmm.
“A Lebanese Hotel” is one of the large sand bunkers at
Even for a guy as savvy as McBride, this is an exciting week.
“The local train was loaded at 6 a.m. today,” he said. “Lots of foreigners headed to the Open.”
The weather forecast looks perfect, and somebody could shoot 63 at Turnberry this week.
“It’ll probably be somebody in the first round that won’t finish in the top 10,” McBride said.
McBride will be heading to Turnberry for the final round.
“We have a group of Americans coming in on Sunday morning to play. They don’t know it yet, but I am riding with them on their bus up to Turnberry. I can’t wait to get there,” he said.
And I think that says it all about being at this Open Championship.
Ted Bishop is director of golf for The Legends of Indiana Golf Course in Franklin and secretary for PGA of America. He is in
Photo Caption: The 2009 British Open Championship began at Turnberry on Thursday.
My day started in perfect fashion with a 7:30 a.m. starting time a few miles away at Prestwick Golf Club. This is significant because the Open Championship began in 1860, and