I posted a blog this morning about what a terrible time the dedicated spectators were having out on the links, well what a difference a few hours make.

Granted there is no need for suntan lotion out there, it is still extremely windy and overcast, but the torrential rain has gone and the hardy fans are looking much happier than they did a few hours ago.

With an improvement in conditions I went out to follow a number of afternoon groups and discovered what a wonderful course this is for spectators. As a member of the media I am lucky enough to be given inside the ropes access but during my walk around the front nine I didn’t really need it. Spectators are closer to the players here than at any other Open venue I have visited. On almost every hole there are dunes surrounding the green, providing fantastic vantage points for the paying public. Even following arguably the most popular player of the week, Sergio Garcia, spectators could get a good view of pretty much every shot – it seems that even £55 for a ticket is good value at Birkdale.

A quick mention to the young amateur Chris Wood who qualified at Hillside for this week. The 20-year-old Bristolian is a fantastic prospect who has just completed a respectable front-nine of 37 and looks very much at home during his first Open Championship.