It’s Wednesday morning and the first thing
to report is the biblical deluge of rain that is currently beating the marquee
roof of the media centre. The giant tent is creaking and billowing, reminding
us all that this links golf business can be fairly nasty. Of course, the impact
this rain will have on the already lush green turf outside will be dramatic.
The big hitters will be rubbing their hands and stretching their muscles – the
likes of JB Holmes and Dustin Johnson are not to be ruled out.
Anyway, that’s enough about the golf for
now as I’ll divert my attention to the events at St Andrews last night. The
annual Association of Golf Writers dinner took place within the tented village
bringing together hundreds of noteworthy guests including Lee Westwood, Colin
Montgomerie and Golf Monthly’s very own guest, Graeme McDowell. The Englishman
was presented with the Golf Writer’s Player of the Year award for 2009 and
during his excellent acceptance
speech he turned to Tim Finchem (the top man at the PGA Tour) and said,
“I’d like to congratulate Steve Stricker. It’s great to see an American win in
the US!” The audience erupted in laughter but Mr Finchem will of course be
hoping that it’s he who will be laughing last at the end of this week.
Montgomerie picked up an award on behalf of
Seve Ballesteros who, as we all know, couldn’t make it to St Andrews. His
eloquent speech was a mark of the very high esteem the Ryder Cup captain holds
the Spaniard. Seve’s efforts here in 1984 are fondly remembered and those
iconic images of him impishly fist-pumping on the final green will surely be
replayed again and again.
Those players in attendance but not asked
to speak included Luke Donald, Robert Karlsson, Geoff Ogilvy and Darren Clarke.
These are the sort of events that only happen at majors and they seem to
underline the importance of the week. What’s more, the feeling among the
British press corps is one of great optimism. There is every reason to believe
that we may have yet another European or even British major winner within our
ranks come Sunday evening.