Not What You Think – Many think the stately greystone edifice standing behind the 18th green at St. Andrews is the R&A home, much as Golf House is the home of the USGA. It is not. That is the clubhouse for the St. Andrews Golf Club, the private component of the St. Andrews complex of courses.
According to my nightly dinner companion, a St. Andrews member, the club has approximately one hundred members in Scotland, 300 in the UK and 1,400 worldwide. He said the annual fall and spring sessions for the members can be “quite spirited affairs.” I didn’t clarify whether those were emotional or liquid spirits.
Speed Trap – In driving through Scotland, it is not the other side of the road that has been the mystery for me. It is the secret of speed limits. Driving north to the Highlands you see countless warnings of speed cameras, average-speed, unmarked car warnings and flashing “SLOW DOWN” signs as you approach communities.
At the Old Course for Open weeks, law enforcement should offer some advice. Saturday’s over ten-hour wind delay and eventual movement of the closing round to Monday is solely based on green speeds in place on a course, which can’t accommodate high winds. Peter Dawson of the R&A conceded that if the organization was comfortable with green speeds of “say nine” they could have continued to play on Saturday. It would have been challenging. The scores would have been inflated. The players would have griped. In days past we called that Open conditions.
Perspective – With five holes to play on Sunday in round three of the Open Championship Marc Leishman admitted an all time major record 62 crept into his thoughts. A bunkered second at the par 5 fourteenth made the record less likely and he finished with an eight under 64. There may have been a time that near miss would have bothered him but not anymore.
Ten days before the Masters this year his wife, Audrey, fell critically ill with a viral infection. Leishman admitted her grave condition made him realize he may have to abandon his golf career to raise his two young sons if he lost his wife. Fortunately, she emerged from a life saving induced coma and is on the road to recovery, and Leishman finds disappointment on the golf course is relatively unimportant.
First since – Depending on how the final round plays out at the Old Course at St. Andrews a number of milestones could be set. It is well documented that If Jordan Spieth should win he would be the first to win the first three majors since Ben Hogan in 1953. Third round co-leader Paul Dunne of Ireland is the first amateur to lead after the third round of any major since Marty Fleckman at the US Open at Baltusrol in 1967 and should he win he would be the first amateur to win the Open since Bobby Jones in 1930. (American amateur Jordan Niebrugge, three back, would also match Jones with a win.)
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