If you play golf alongside a regular gaggle of friends youll probably know how bits work. If not, let me explain. A bit is a form of monetary reward for good golf – if you get one its worth one pound from every other player in the field. You get a bit for the following a birdie (two for an eagle etc), a ferret (holing from of the green for par or better), sandy par (you dont need me to explain this) and nearest the pin on par threes.
Now, what has this got to do with the Open Championship I hear you ask? Well, yesterday assistant editor Alex Narey and myself followed Sergio Garcia. I took it upon myself to count the number of bits accumulated by the Spaniard (the other journalists following Garcia probably thought I was crafting an in-depth piece for the local newspaper, alas not).
Unfortunately, we missed his first five and last five holes but heres a rundown (albeit with a few educated guesses in there) of Sergios round in terms of bits. Garcia got his bit campaign off to a flyer on the fourth hole by canning a 70 footer from off the green. To use Peter Allisss terminology, a double bit (for a ferret birdie) can be worth much gold. He then proceeded to make a spate of sandy pars. Those of you who are bit veterans will know that missing greens isnt necessarily a bad thing. By the time we left him on the 15th tee (the smell of fish and chips wafting over from the nearby hospitality tent was too good to ignore) I counted a commendable five bits. Garcia went on to make a birdie at 17 to complete six bit round of 73. Good work son.
Now, before you receive your bit money the treasurer (in our case thats usually GM editor Mike Harris) will tally up the total number of bits scored during the day. At the average GM order of Merit event its about 20. Each player has therefore to put in £20 before getting his share of the kitty back.
Again for arguments sake, lets say that the average number of bits yesterday at the Open was five per player (they are significantly more prolific bit accumulators than we are). Multiply five by the number of players in the field and this means that each player would be forced, initially at least, to part with £750. In turn this means the kitty would hold an extremely healthy £112,500. (A trustworthy member of the R&A would need to be in charge of said kitty). Garcias six bits would have earned him a decent £894 I make that a net profit of £144. (Like us, hed get his money in pound coins so would be advised to find a couple of those see-through money bags used by the bank).
If youve managed to read to the end of this blog entry, I commend you my head, like yours I suspect, is spinning. All thats left for me to say is, Ive never felt happier not making the Open field.