Fergus woke to the sound of applause this morning but, sadly, it turned out not to be for him.
It was rather surreal in the Golf Monthly house this morning. As I began to stir from my slumbers I was enjoying a very pleasant dream. I was playing in the Open Championship. I wasn’t in a marquee grouping, nor was I winning the event, I was just playing. Hitting shots off crisp fairways to perfect greens and acknowledging the knowing applause of the few spectators following my progress. It was one of those dreams you normally wake from feeling extremely disappointed. But this time was different. When I opened my eyes I could still hear the applause. At first I thought my dream must have taken a new direction, then I realised the noise was drifting in through the open window by my head.
Thanks to some supreme forward thinking by the GM editor Mike Harris, we have been lodged this week at 15 Stanley Road, which is in a simply incredible position. It is literally (and I can use this word correctly here) 25 paces from the drive entrance to pay gate number 1. It’s about 70 yards from the 1st green and it was from there that I could hear the clapping. I looked at my watch – 6.45am, good dedication from the fans.
The galleries are pretty impressive today and they have been throughout the practice days too. 42,805 attended cumulatively from Sunday to Wednesday and that compares with 33,600 at Lytham in 2012. I stepped out of the media centre to watch Tiger then Rory coming up the third and there was a veritable horde bustling excitedly along with both groups.
It’s a perfect day for scoring and the players are already feasting on birdies. The huge, old school scoreboard in front of the busy members of the press, is awash with red numbers and, as I write, there are already 27 players under par. I predict there will be 60 who break par today.
Hopefully some of those will be players I’ve put a little wager on. As always at The Open I’ve placed bets on about half of the field. Obviously I have to bet on every player I’ve interviewed in the last week, as that will surely give them a crucial edge over their rivals. So, step forward Matthew Baldwin, Jonas Blixt and Kevin Streelman. I’ve also gone for Stenson, McDowell, Fowler, Furyk, Cabrera-Bello, Uncle Tom Cobley and all.
I wasn’t overly happy when Nick convinced me to lump on Furyk and almost immediately after doing so, I read he’d stated that ‘if he had to play links golf every week, he’d give up the game.’ All is currently forgiven mind you as Jim is two-under.