BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Golf: The Open  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Statistics
US Masters
US Open
The Open
USPGA
Ryder Cup
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

  Friday, 19 July, 2002, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK
Open hospitality at Muirfield
Colin Montgomerie shot his way to a course record on Friday
All manner of Monty fans lined the Muirfield course

Like all the best events, The Open Championship manages to be all things to all people.

There are some here at Muirfield who see The Open as an opportunity to get a bit tipsy, eat a reasonable lunch and do a little light networking, all at somebody else's expense.

You tend to find them in the hospitality complex - or press tent.

Colin Montgomerie shot his way to a course record on Friday
Monty: Course champion

There are others who take the sport a bit more seriously - maybe put on a tie, buy a new blazer, bring some binoculars - before settling in to do the same as above, but paying for it themselves.

They congregate in the clubhouse and R&A Marquee.

And then there is everybody else.

They get the park-and-ride bus and pay 35 to get in. You find them out on the course following their favourites, or huddled together on the rain-trap stands.

That is over-simplifying things a little.

For a start, the masses are comprised of a number of different sub-groups, the Americans being one.

But, in general, those spectator-types ring true.

While the talk on the course is largely limited to who's doing what on the 11th and aren't those bunkers horrible, conversation in the clubhouse is about what's for lunch.

While Colin Montgomerie was coming to a boil outside, two gentlemen in the clubhouse were debating the merits of the 21 half lobster available in the R&A tent.


Was it something I said?
No, it was the way that you said it
American-British exchange between fans

Out on the links, Monty's army was eating ice creams in the rain.

But it is not only the hardiness of the Open foot-soldiers that impresses - there's the golfing knowledge too.

Some of them, of course, have been coming for centuries - sorry, years.

When I asked one elderly couple from Edinburgh who their favourite golfer was, I was half expecting them to say Old Tom Morris.

So I was quite surprised when they said: "Tiger Woods."

But they are not all so wise.

A group of youngsters wearing Celtic shirts and warming themselves with burgers answered the same question with the even more surprising answer of "Henrik Larsson".

But then East Lothian isn't short of comedians - 45 for a bottle of Bollinger? Come on, that's hilarious.

My favourite lines on Friday were directed at our cousins from across the Atlantic.

Henrik Larsson plies his trade for Celtic football team
Larsson is a surprise choice for favourite player

The first came after Montgomerie drained his birdie putt on the ninth.

The stand behind the green immediately emptied, as we all wanted to join Monty's march to glory, which prompted a chirpy American to ask: "Was it something I said?"

To which a local replied in perfect 'don't push your luck, sonny' dead-pan: "No, it was the way that you said it."

The next US visitor to have the warm hand of East Lothian hospitality extended to him was Tom Lehman.

The 1996 Open champion had just reached for his broom-handle putter after scrambling out of a greenside bunker on hole 13, when a watching wag asked: "Are you going fishing with that?"

Honest, earthy, knockabout fun, all of it. But there is only so much Scottish summer I can take.

So it was with a heavy heart that I retired to the packed Bollinger tent - I was cold, what was everybody else doing in there?

But 20 minutes on the 'summer season' gravy train and I was ready once more to tackle some sport.

Now who won the toss?

BBC Sport Online's Open Golf Championship news section

All the Muirfield action

More Open coverage

Your say on The Open

Clickable guides

Internet link
Links to more The Open stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more The Open stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales