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Reflections on the 150th Open

I’m preparing this post some 3 hours after Cameron Smith’s victory so forgive any inaccuracies.

Smith was a worthy winner in a wonderful final day – indeed Open.

The story might be that it was Rory’s to lose but Smith won it well, carding a 66.

Victor Novland – one of my picks – fell away so I backed Smith at 9-4 on the final day: Rory was 5-8.

On the perennial debate I was pleased to witness it in person.

I can’t remember my bladder feeling so stretched since the Trent Bridge Test match in 2015 when Stuart Broad took 6-15.

To get away early, I took a risk that it was “done and dusted” after Rory missed his putt on the 17th where I had positioned myself.

The problem is that – if you need a pee – you need to queue to get back into the grandstand – unless, that is, you are the rude fellow in garish green trousers in front of me who jumped the queue and aggressively demanded re-entry.

The guy behind me kept a running commentary and a group of drunken youths screamed “Mashed potato!” but generally the crowd were better behaved than at Headingley.

My only real beef was the slow play.

Much of this is due to the debate before a drop. Players push the envelope by spinning the ball drop, thereby causing the ball to move: then, after two attempts, the ball can be set by hand.

Betting wise, I backed Novland to win and – when he fell away – Cameron Smith.

I  was a bit unlucky as Lucas Herbert was only one place away from a each-way berth.

I do not see myself as a loser as I was so pleased to be there for such a thrilling Open.

Nor was Cameron Smith the only winner.

The Old Course was a true test of golf with its dramatic variations of weather, pin placements and hellish bunkers.

The Open was not always a tourney for the world’s best.

It was Arnold Palmer, by coming over 80-plus years ago who inspired many generations of American golfers.

Rather like scoring a  century against the Windies in their pomp, or Australia now, you cannot call yourself a really top elite golfer until you win the Open at St Andrews.

Cameron Smith now is one.

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About John Pargiter

John Pargiter’s biggest claim to fame is his first-ever work experience job, as ‘legs’ (or runner) for Henry Longhurst. For many years he worked in insurance at Lloyds. After retiring he has returned to his favourite sport of golf and is a keen recreational sailor and grandparent. More Posts