Open Championship 2013 blog
MAKING my way into the course today I bumped into my new best friend.
This is a bloke called Allan who lives in Edinburgh and I first met on Thursday evening in the car-park.
This second meeting also took place in the car-park. What are the chances of that?
Anyway, Al is what may best be described as a golf nut.
The sort of enthusiast whose idea of great, good fun is 36 holes for at least five days on the trot and who believes that anyone who doesn’t love the old game is some sort of anti-Christ figure.
When he spotted my Press badge he immediately engaged me in conversation and as he wasn’t carrying a knife (or indeed wearing a kilt) I was happy to chat with him.
His opening question was, as usual, original. “So you know all about this game do you, ” he said. “Who’s going to win?”
Patiently, I told him that, no, I don’t know all about this game and that I didn’t have a clue about who was going to win but that I rather fancied Lee Westwood’s chances if he could grind it out and hold his nerve.
This, of course, is what Lee does best… grind it out not hold his nerve.
It’s not that the man from Worksop, Southern Florida, is a choker – he has won far too much for that – but he has in the past got rather over-excited when in with a chance of an Open and as a consequence stabbed himself in both feet.
Al didn’t agree. “I like Westwood even though he’s English, ” he grinned. “But I think he’s just been very unlucky so far.”
For a brief moment I thought about delivering my lecture on the effect of good or bad fortune on sportmen and women and the prevailing thought that in the end there is no luck at all, just good or bad play.
But good sense prevailed and I merely agreed that Al had a point.
I was thinking about this a few hours later as Westwood trundled his way down the 18th after a fine second round that had hauled him into serious contention at Muirfield.
He is now where he frequently has been in recent years which is to say he is in with a big chance of the biggest prize.
This, however, is when The Open begins to actually pull back the curtains and allow us to see inside, a process that will be completed by Sunday afternoon when the hard yards start over the back nine and everyone’s spinal cord will be in danger of melting.
Not by the way from the heat.
Scotland’s brief flirtation with what the rest of the world calls summer appears to be over if the forecasters have got it right with temperatures down to a more normal 63 degrees fahrenheit (work out the centigrade for yourselves) and a cool sea mist booked to blow in of the Firth of Forth.
Fact is there are still around thirty players in with a shout.
These, of course, include Angel Cabrera who once again has emerged from his cave to play like a man on a mission.
How he does this is one of the great mysteries.
For months on end he fiddles about in this tournament or that and then he pops up in a Major and plays like a slightly overweight god.
He is also one golfer who haas never lost anything because of missing nerve.
I may have to find a local bookie. I bet Al knows where the nearest one is.
I’ll ask him in the car-park tomorrow unless, of course, I get lucky and miss him altogether. I’lll let you know.