DAY SEVEN (The Denouement)

WELL, at least Jean Van de Velde is off the hook. It’s hard to believe isn’t it? Just when we think we’ve seen everything we realise we don’t even know the half of it. Padraig, Padraig, Padraig. Twice in the water at the last. TWICE. Just a par was needed but that’s never easy.

Not in an Open and especially not in a Carnoustie Open. Standing with the punters watching the big screen in the Tented Village was at first like being at a carnival but then it was like attending someone’s wake. Good, sport, innit? But at least a European won so we can all stop conducting those inquests every few months into what’s gone wrong with our blokes compared to theirs. I was torn between pleasure for Garcia who did his best to live up to his

reputation in my house as the worst last round world class golfer in recent history but finally found that there was someone out there more nervous than himself. Whatever you feel, however, whoever you were rooting for, this ended up one of the great Opens. So terrific I had to go and buy an ice-cream- pistachio – to steady my own nerves.

This might not seem much of a celebration but believe me Carnoustie at this supercool Open had very few, and very slim, windows of opportunity for us ice-cream aficionados.

Why was I nervous? Well, under the influence of laughing water I had offered odds of 1,000 to one against Seve retiring and Sergio winning this week. I had indeed been stitched up like an Arbroath Smokie but I’d offered the bet, it had been accepted and my pal has to live with his conscience at seeking it in the first place. In the end the good guy won. Me not him?

And, of course, Padraig. Not that I would have minded Garcia plundering this one even if it did cost me a few quid. The Spaniard always brings fun and sensational golf wherever he plays. He should have won this Open but somehow I always feared he wouldn’t. Using a belly putter at 27 years of age is not a good sign. What is a good sign is that it was two of Europe’s finest who contested this great championship at the last. It could have been another Argentinian but Andres Romero betrayed his own naivety over the closing couple of holes. It has been a week that has tried its best to be dull. And wet. The weather contributed little to the successof this championship but the great links offered everything by way of compensation.

Golf sometimes can be rather tiresome but Carnoustie never lets us down. It has been a privilege to have been here as this dramatic story unfolded.

Oh, and for those who still have an interest… the pies on Saturday evening were, as expected, terrific. Good night.