Getting up almost at the crack of dawn the night after the annual golf writers’ dinner would have been a much bigger ask had I not been granted an interview with a two-time British Major winner I’d never before had the chance to speak to in 11 years with the magazine. The hot water in the shower failing to kick in may have been a blessing in disguise, and I was thankfully fully alert by the time I got to sit down with Alexander Walter Barr Lyle.
Approachable, and more than happy to chat (a relative rarity for a player during Open week), we covered a whole host of topics for a forthcoming magazine feature from his early rivalries with Woosie and Faldo to his two Major wins, and from his Ryder Cup memories and future hopes to equipment issues, in particular his new Bridgestone ball.
After photos had been taken, I wandered out onto the course to check out a few more holes, but when you work in the industry, it’s often difficult to get more than a few yards without bumping into someone you know for a chat, on this occasion the guys from Strokesaver who helped us enormously by providing the flythru videos we used in our Muirfield hole-by-hole guide.
Eventually we made it down the 1st , and across to the 17th tee where the trio of Joost Luiten, Nicolas Colsaerts and Chris Wood were teeing off on the longest hole on the course, with only Wood using a wood. All seemed to get up with relative ease though, showing just how far the ball is running on fairways that are firm and fast, if not quite to a ‘Hoylake 2006′ standard just yet.
Wandering back across 18 we watched as Miguel Angel Jimenez played his approach shot, then paused for a relaxed photo session looking up the fairway to the grand clubhouse, with, I’m guessing, his kids. What the Spaniard wouldn’t give for more photos here with the Claret Jug on Sunday night as the oldest ever champion. Would there ever be a more popular winner? I suspect not…