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  Saturday, 22 July, 2000, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
McLaren's Open memories
Bill McLaren's favourite was Seve Ballesteros
Bill McLaren's favourite memory is of Seve Ballesteros
BBC's veteran rugby commentator, Bill McLaren, reflects on the joy of watching the world's best golfers and recalls memories of Opens past.

Anyone would love The Open in these conditions - the only thing is that at 76 years of age it becomes a bit of a physical challenge.

I'm a huge golf fan and I have been since I was six and I am just in awe of these guys.

I have so much admiration for the ability of these guys because we're talking about a golf course which is rock hard and has all kinds of bends and hollows in it and yet there are guys going round in 67, 68 and 69.

As an ordinary club golfer, the mind boggles at what they can do and that's part of the whole experience of coming here and seeing all these great golfers and staring open-mouthed at what they can do with a golf ball.

I've been at many Opens over the years, and in fact I played the Open course at Muirfield one year, ten days before the competition it began.

Bill is more commonly to be found at rugby stadia
Bill is more commonly to be found at rugby stadia
I went to the turn in 37 and I thought 'This is easy, why are they bringing all these good golfers to a place like this?'.

But I came back in 59, so my respect for Muirfield was cemented right away.

My favourite Open memory is probably of Severiano Ballesteros and I think it was at Lytham St Annes.

He played most of his golf out of the car parks that week - his driving was off, but he manoeuvred the ball out of goodness knows where - it was a magnificent performance.

Ballesteros is one of these golfers, like Andy Irvine in rugby, who plays off the top of his head.

In other words, he takes risks and he is not hindered by fear. So it's a delight to watch Seve.

At this Championship, I've obviously been most impressed by Tiger Woods.

He is so quietly confident, but he's not arrogant. He said the other day that he had infinite confidence in his ability to manipulate the golf ball and although that might sound arrogant, it's not, it's absolutely true.

And of course, big Ernie Els - he's got great power and he's got all the shots.

I think the majority of people would like to see the wind get up because if it blows hard, that would provide a much stiffer test for these players.

See also:

13 Jul 00 | BBC Team
21 Jul 00 | The Open
11 Jul 00 | The Open
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