Our series of behind-the-scenes Open Championship profiles from Royal Liverpool continues with Tiger Woods' scoreboard carrier John Crawford
Dreams might not have come true for Tiger Woods this week at the Open, but he did help one dream come true, when 18-year-old John Crawford carried the scoreboard for the pairing of Woods and Jason Dufner this morning.
When Crawford, from Northern Ireland, left the course yesterday afternoon he knew he was carrying the board for group number eight today, but it was not until he received a call from a friend in the evening that he knew group number eight would feature Woods and Dufner.
“I nearly fainted when I found out last night that I had Tiger’s group,” says Crawford, whose other summer job is working as a greenkeeper at Royal County Down. “He has a real presence about him. He is something else. He didn’t play well today but that didn’t stop all the cameras following him. There were even a lot of people taking pictures of me with my scoreboard.”
As you would expect, Woods was not the most sociable of golfers on the course this morning, particularly as he struggled his way to a final round of 75, three over par, but Crawford did get to meet his idol in the end.
“After the round I got to go into the scorer’s booth,” says Crawford, who also carried scoreboards at the 2012 Open at Royal Lytham. “Normally we are not allowed in there, but Joe [Woods’ caddie Joe LaCava] said, ‘Come with me’, and I said, ‘But I not allowed in there,’ and he said, ‘Just come with me’. So that was that. I went in and Tiger signed a flag for me and shook my hand. I told him it was a dream come true for me, and he said, ‘Thanks’. That was really nice, and Jason Dufner signed the flag too.
“Tiger Woods is my idol. I just judge him by his golf, and I think he is very professional. He hit a couple snap hooks today, but it makes you realise that the bad shots of tour golfers can be as bad as your own. Tiger’s putter went cold as well, and it’s the putter that wins you majors, evidently.”
Crawford gets paid for his week’s work carrying the portable scoreboards, and also gets a ticket to watch the Open when he is not working – “So I am pretty pleased with it”, he says. He has carried for all four rounds of the tournament, following in the footsteps of the likes of Lee Westwood, Keegan Bradley and Mark Leishman, “who is a gentleman”, says Crawford. Ryo Ishikawa also impressed the Ulsterman.
“Ishikawa is a baller, so he is,” says Crawford, with a comment requiring clarification for this listener. “It means he’s class. He didn’t seem to speak any English, but he is class.”
As someone who is soon to go to college to study sports turf management, with a view to pursuing a career in greenkeeping, Crawford took particular note of how the golf course has been faring this week at Hoylake.
“The course has been playing very well,” he says. “It was lush at the start of the week but on Friday you could see the yellow patches starting to come through and it was hardening up, so I think the rain last night did it some good. The course played really well today and the greens have been so good.”
John Crawford, you are a baller yourself.
Robin Barwick travelled to the Open Championship courtesy of Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz is global sponsor of the Masters, patron of the Open Championship and official car of the PGA Championship