Friday was my first chance to get on the course and see Turnberry, site of this week’s British Open golf championship.The group that I picked to follow included Kenny Perry (1 over par to start the round), a
The weather, or lack thereof, was a major story in the first couple of days of this Open Championship. Sunny calm skies were the order of the day Thursday. The second round forecast was for rain and wind.
The Scottish weather people have totally missed it. It has been slightly breezy, cloudy and warmer than predicted. The weather has been reflected in the scores. The most recent time the Open was at Turnberry in 1994, the cut score was 4 over par.
The key to scoring at Turnberry is accurate driving. The fescue, called “hee” by the Scots, is very healthy near the fairway cut. An errant tee shot almost certainly will result in a bogey or, at least, a great saving par.
The terrain at Turnberry is rugged. It is tough walking for the spectators, and there were many reported injuries Thursday from falls down the hillsides. The course is a true links course, as players go out for 11 holes and return to the clubhouse on the final seven holes.
A necessary part of walking and watching the Open at Turnberry is buying one of the small transistor radios that broadcast the BBC feed on 107.5 FM. The cost for the radio and two extra sets of AA batteries is 10 pounds ($16.20).
The BBC radio feed always is entertaining. The announcers invite e-mails from all over the world throughout the broadcast and periodically read questions from listeners. Comments came from across the globe, including
The questions and answers both are unpredictable. The dialogue can be as hysterical as an episode of “Monty Python.”
One discussion dealt with the greatest rain-jacket player of all-time. After a little debate, it was agreed that Sandy Lyle, a Scot, was the winner. There was an all-out argument on whether “shades” (sunglasses) caused distortion on the green when trying to read putts.
As Camilo Villegas went to the first tee, a BBC commentator re-marked, “Villegas always wears tight fitting shirts to show he is ripped.”
This prompted a response from his BBC colleague, “The only time in your life that you have been ripped is when you drank too much beer.”
As I reached the sixth tee at Turnberry, a 231-yard par-3, I looked over my left shoulder and found myself standing next to Jim Nantz of CBS sports. We have become acquaintances over the past couple of years, and it was great to rekindle our friendship.
The Emmy Award-winning announcer was making his first trip to the Open Championship since 1980.
“I am just here walking and watching,” Nantz said.
Interestingly, he also had the BBC transistor plugged into his left ear listening to the broadcast.
Nantz will be at Turnberry until Sunday. He asked about his good friend, Craig Kelley, vice president of media relations for the Indianapolis Colts, and said, “Wait until Craig hears that we met on the sixth tee at Turnberry.”
We walked the hole and watched the group play the tough par 3. As we reached the sixth green, our vantage point was one of the highest on the course. We could see the seventh and 17th, two great par 5s.
Nantz smiled and said, “Television just doesn’t do it justice, does it?”
Nantz left for the hospitality area, where he had an obligation with Rolex. I left for the media center, where I had an obligation with you to meet a deadline.
As I write, I hear the rain pounding on the media tent. The television monitor in front of me shows umbrellas, sideways rain and grimaces from players who are out on the course grinding to make the cut and finish the round.
It keeps raining harder, and for the moment these are Open Championship conditions at their best.
The weather people have been saved.
So, to all of you lads and lassies, “See you on the weekend.”
Ted Bishop is director of golf for The Legends of Indiana Golf Course in Franklin and secretary for PGA of America. He is reporting this week from the British Open in
Photo Caption: Friday was my first chance to get on the course and see Turnberry, site of this week’s British Open golf championship.
The group that I picked to follow included Kenny Perry (1 over par to start the round), a