GOLF NOTES: Thoughts on The Open at St. Andrews

Jacksonville Golf News

A few thoughts on attending The Open at St. Andrews:

• The greatest seat in sports is in the grandstand next to the 17th green. Even though you can't see the tee, you're looking down the fairway and can easily follow the ball. The green complex looks different that you think from television, as it wraps around the deep bunker that everyone goes to every length to avoid.

• Here's how well organized the Royal and Ancient had transportation. St. Andrews isn't easy to find and it doesn't even have a train station, so many come from cities at least 40 miles away such as Edinburgh or Aberdeen. It's a train ride to Leuthers, then a five-mile bus ride from that station. It took us exactly 1:15 from the Edinburgh train station to the grandstands at the 17th tee.  At this year's Players in Ponte Vedra Beach, it took my neighbor exactly 1:15 to go the final three miles to the parking lot and the 20-minute walk to the course … where, ironically, you also enter at the 17th tee.

• The level of UK announcing was much different that what you hear here. They are reserved and dignified, and don't waste time trying to read putts even though they're in a tower. (“Whadda ya think, Rog? Left edge?”) The press over there had a big laugh at our announcers trying to act like Brits, such as when Mike Tirico mentioned the “penultimate pairing” and Tom Rinaldi seemed to affect a British accent.

• One more TV thing: Peter Alliss says and does what he wants, and he's catching all sorts of grief from women's organizations over his comment that Zach Johnson's wife may have wanted first-place money for a new kitchen. No surprise; if you saw his World Golf Hall of Fame induction in 2012, you'll remember his statements about a grade school teacher which ended with his giving her memory a one-finger salute.

• Bet you didn’t read this in your local paper. After the playoff, Johnson's caddie Damon Green explained the win: “My man's got the biggest pair out there.”

• The spectator amenities were incredible. There were a dozen of so grandstands with a total of 26,000 seats, and those were real seats with armrests, not bleachers. There was an enormous area at the entrance with hospitality tents, souvenirs stands and giant TV screens, and probably seating for a thousand plus a large area where fans lay down and watched the TV action.

• Don't you dare call it the “British Open” if you go. Don't you dare yell “You da man!” or “In the hole,” either.

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