THE DUBAI DUTY FREE IRISH OPEN takes place at Lahinch from 4-7th July. Host Paul McGinley, who used to caddy for his father there says: “Everybody falls in love with the place. It’s the sense of real rural Ireland that people are attracted to. The course is close to the village and the idea is to create a festival atmosphere, with live music, people having a few drinks in the streets, a bit of craic, it will be amazing.”
They can also watch Europe’s top golfers playing hide and seek among the dunes. On Lahinch’s Old Course two holes especially stand out, the par-5 Klondyke and par-3 Dell, originally designed by Old Tom Morris. The 475-yd. Klondyke requires a blind second shot, a flag man stands atop the dune, signalling to groups behind when it’s safe to hit. The 154-yd. Dell has a sunken green surrounded by dunes and a strategically placed rock provides the only hint to finding the flag.
The little town of Port Stewart, C. Antrim (pop 7000) will welcome 190,000 fans on 18th July as the 148th Open commences on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush. A Park and Ride will be laid on and a new train station has been constructed. There is a local bus to the course but as the route passes the Old Bushmills Whiskey Distillery it is possible some may not make it to the Open.
Graeme McDowell, whose U.S. Open victory at Pebble Beach in 2010 kickstarted the movement to bring the Open back to N. Ireland, and who was born in Portrush, heaved a huge sigh of relief when he qualified last month. “Sure I’m not that bothered either way,” he said beforehand, trying to hide his lengthening nose.
RORY, TIGER and pals may be flying over in their Lear Jets but there was no five star treatment for Open contenders in the old days. Peter Alliss recalls: “For club professionals tournaments were almost an aside. They played on Friday because they had to get back to their pro shop on the Saturday. We all travelled together, and shared rooms. No en-suite for us, you trotted down the corridor to the bathroom with a piece of soap in a tin. We’d play two rounds on the Friday, and drive right through the night. We had to phone the AA beforehand, to find out if any petrol stations were open!”
JEONGEUN Lee6 (so called because she is the sixth player called Lee on the LPGA Tour) won the Womens US Open in Charleston with a final round six-under 70. Jeongeun said afterwards: “Some of the KLPGA players are very severely competitive, so I don’t really enjoy playing with them much.” Poor Lee6, It must be nerve- racking, having Lees No’s 1-5 breathing down her neck.
When Tiger Woods former coach Hank Haney said on TV that if asked to name the winner of the LPGA US Open: “I’d go with Lee, if I didn’t have to give a first name at least I’d get a bunch of them right” it caused an outraged Twitterstorm!
KEVIN NA WON his third PGA Tour title by four shots at the Charles Schwab Challenge, beginning the final round with a two shot lead and remaining alone at the top of the Sunday leaderboard at Colonial CC. His final hole birdie gave him a four-under 66 and 13-under-par. As Na is known to be one of the slowest players on Tour, it’s possible the other competitors had simply gone to sleep.
PHIL MICKELSON has decided to broadcast his golfing memories on Youtube: anyone interested can curl up with their cocoa to watch his videos entitled “Phireside with Phil.” What next? “Bedtime with Bubba?”
Until next time: Happy Golfing.
Contact Mick for regripping and repairs. 638 859 475