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  Saturday, 22 July, 2000, 19:34 GMT 20:34 UK
A picture perfect Open
Swilken Bridge
Swilken Bridge is the focal point of Baxter's painting
The 2000 Open is being commemorated by a specially commissioned painting by official Open artist, Graeme Baxter, to be auctioned on the internet reports BBC Sport Online's Alasdair Lamont.

The 129th Open Championship at St Andrews is particularly special for many reasons, not least the fact that it is the millennium Open.

It will certainly be remembered for the standard of golf, while it remains to be seen if it will be remembered as the Open where Tiger Woods completed the grand slam of Major wins.

The Championship Committee of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews decided that such a special occasion should be properly commemorated and, as such, they commissioned Graeme Baxter to undertake the official painting for the 2000 Open Championship.

Biggest undertaking

The seven by ten foot work is being auctioned by Sotheby's on the internet, with bidding closing on Monday at noon.

The painting's focal point is the famous Swilken Bridge with a view up the 18th fairway to the R&A clubhouse.


I think it may be the first time they have auctioned a modern painting of this size and quality like this, and it is certainly a first for me
Greame Baxter

Baxter is the official artist to the PGA, the European Tour, the Ryder Cup as well as the R&A, but this commission was easily the biggest undertaking of his career.

Darren Clarke
Clarke was the focus of Baxter's attention

"The painting took me about seven months to paint, two to three months of which was preparation, getting the angles right and the photographic work - there were about 2,500 photographs involved to get to that stage," said Baxter, a Scot with a real love of golf.

"It was started last October and was finished just in time for Prince Andrew to unveil it at Wentworth at the end of May."

Baxter was offered 150,000 for the painting by a private bidder, Manfred Steinkamp, but he was committed to auctioning it, with 10% of the final price going to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

He is hopeful that the final bid will beat that price, but Steinkamp has stated that he will not return with another bid.

Best golfers

"We originally intended to auction the painting at the Old Course hotel on Thursday evening, but then Sothebys got interested in doing the auction on the internet," added Baxter.


Most recently I did one for Darren Clarke when he won the Volvo Masters
Graeme Baxter
"I think it may be the first time they have auctioned a modern painting of this size and quality like this, and it is certainly a first for me."

There are few uncharted territories left for Baxter who was given his official Open title last year.

He has been exhibiting at Opens for 12 years, he has been official artist for the Ryder Cup since 1993 at The Belfry.

He has also been commissioned by some of the world's best golfers to capture some of their victories.

"Most recently I did one for Darren Clarke when he won the Volvo Masters, I did a painting for Lee Westwood in Japan where he won three times, one for Justin Leonard at Troon, Lee Janzen when he won his US Open, and Peter Thompson, five-times Open champion, when his team won the President's Cup in Melbourne."

But this is the pinnacle for Baxter.

"This is a real honour because this is the world's greatest golf tournament," he said.

The Open at St.Andrews
20th - 23rd July
See also:

22 Jul 00 | The Open
19 Jul 00 | The Open
20 Jul 00 | The Open
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