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  Sunday, 23 July, 2000, 20:38 GMT 21:38 UK
Under starter's orders
First tee at The Open
The voice of Ivor Robson bellowed across the first tee
The official starter for The Open since 1975, Ivor Robson, tells BBC Sport Online's Alasdair Lamont how much he cherishes the role he plays in the championship.

There are many famous names involved in The Open, but perhaps the most famous voice belongs to offical starter, Ivor Robson.

Robson has been the European Tour's official starter since 1975 and his duties at The Open began at Carnoustie that same year.

He has made the phrase 'On the tee' his own, and he has no intention of handing over the microphone yet.

After 25 years, the honour of having such a vital role has not diminished and he regards this year's event as the pinnacle of his career.


So I've been out there all day and then I have a few things to attend to, so there's really not much time to watch any golf
Ivor Robson

His working day is a long and busy one, with far more involved than simply announcing the beginning of each match.

"I get up early and arrive at the course one-and-a-half hours before play commences which allows me to check everything," Robson says in his unmistakable tones.

"Then I call the players to the tee and furnish them with their cards, hole information, any local rules, and any other relevant information they require.

"I also check they're playing with an approved ball and with the correct number of clubs, and, of course, make sure they stick to time."

Territory

"That is a bit more difficult at a course like St Andrews with the shared 1st and 18th fairways and the road crossing. But the players understand and the stewards have been excellent, keeping people moving."


This job is one that I cherish and I have no intention of giving it up just yet - at least not until the voice goes
Ivor Robson

For someone who has been involved in golf for so long, Robson actually gets to see very little golf.

His unique position means that he watches every single first tee shot, but little else.

But far from yearning to see more play, Robson has accepted that the lack of action goes with the territory.

"The first couple of days here, and often on the European Tour, it's four o'clock before I see the last match off.

"So I've been out there all day and then I have a few things to attend to, so there's really not much time to watch any golf."

When Tiger Woods teed off for his final round, he was announced with the same emotion as was the first man on the tee on Sunday, Gordon Brand Jnr.

Tiger Woods
Woods was treated the same as everyone else

"Everyone is treated the same - I'm unbiased and I have to be seen to be unbiased.

"But we have a lot of fun. Some of the players like a joke and some don't - it just depends. Sometimes there are a lot of nerves on the first tee and my job is just to have a calming influence."

Every golf fan has their favourite Open memory and Robson is quite sure that this week has been full of them.

But the highlight for him happened on Wednesday.

"The Past Champions' Challenge was a great spectacle and an unforgettable experience for me to start all those famous names.

"This job is one that I cherish and I have no intention of giving it up just yet - at least not until the voice goes."

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

23 Jul 00 | The Open
23 Jul 00 | The Open
23 Jul 00 | The Open
23 Jul 00 | The Open
23 Jul 00 | The Open
23 Jul 00 | The Open
23 Jul 00 | The Open
23 Jul 00 | The Open
23 Jul 00 | The Open
23 Jul 00 | The Open
23 Jul 00 | Photo Galleries
Links to more The Open stories are at the foot of the page.


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