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  Friday, 20 July, 2001, 14:08 GMT 15:08 UK
All quiet on the first tee
Michael Hoey
British amateur Michael Hoey keeps a low profile
By BBC Sport Online's Kitrina Douglas at The Open

The first tee at most major championships is normally a hive of activity.

There is usually a real buzz as the crowd surge forward to catch a glimpse of their favourite player and an expectant hush comes down as the names are announced on the tee.

Except here at Lytham.

Unfortunately, on the course that is hosting the 2001 Open the first tee is tucked away in a copse - much to the annoyance and disappointment of the spectators.

The closest view that members of the public have of the first tee shot is about 120 yards away.

Chris Dimarco
Chris Dimarco gets closer to the crowd on the 18th
Not near enough to appreciate the expectant atmosphere, see the tension in the golfers eyes, nor notice their anxious fidgets.

After spending some time watching players off the first tee, courtesy of a BBC press pass, I sat in the grandstand behind the first green for a short time.

It's always an odd experience for a tournament professional to hear the comments from the crowd.

I was particularly annoyed by one exchange. One American asked his companion who was next on the tee. The reply was: "Oh, nobody".

The fact that the player concerned was obviously a golfing somebody by the mere fact that he was playing in the British Open seemed completely lost on the couple.

I felt obliged to point out that the individual they were talking about, following Justin Leonard and Miguel Angel Gimenez, was in fact Michael Hoey, the British Amateur champion. Apologies accepted.

Several of the Five Live commentary team thought more players would have broken par yesterday with it being such a calm day.

Extreme conditions

One major reason why only 21 players managed it is that following the gale-force winds throughout all the practice rounds, most golfers will have adopted a mindset where anything around par would be a good score.

Even the top players will have trouble suddenly adjusting their expectations after the relatively extreme weather conditions we saw earlier in the week.

The easiest hole on the course yesterday was the 494 yard sixth hole - it was slightly downwind and brought seven eagles, and 69 birdies.

I expect it to play slightly tougher today though, as there was absolutely no breeze when the first match teed off at 0700 BST on Friday morning.

For the first time this week light southwesterlies - the usual prevailing winds on the Lytham links - are forecast.

 LIVE WEBCASTS
BBC Sport Online's Kitrina Douglas experiences the unusual calm that surrounds the players as they tee off.
<B>By BBC Sport Online's Kitrina Douglas at The Open</B> <P> The first tee at most major championships is normally a hive of activity. <P> There is usually a real buzz as the crowd surge forward to catch a glimpse of their favourite player and an expectant hush comes down as the names are announced on the tee. <P> Except here at Lytham. <P> Unfortunately, on the course that is hosting the 2001 Open the first tee is tucked away in a copse - much to the annoyance and disappointment of the spectators. <P> The closest view that members of the public have of the first tee shot is about 120 yards away. <P><CPS:IMAGE ORDER="2"></CPS:IMAGE> Not near enough to appreciate the expectant atmosphere, see the tension in the golfers eyes, nor notice their anxious fidgets. <P> After spending some time watching players off the first tee, courtesy of a BBC press pass, I sat in the grandstand behind the first green for a short time. <P> It's always an odd experience for a tournament professional to hear the comments from the crowd. <P> I was particularly annoyed by one exchange. One American asked his companion who was next on the tee. The reply was: "Oh, nobody". <P> The fact that the player concerned was obviously a golfing somebody by the mere fact that he was playing in the British Open seemed completely lost on the couple. <P> I felt obliged to point out that the individual they were talking about, following Justin Leonard and Miguel Angel Gimenez, was in fact Michael Hoey, the British Amateur champion. Apologies accepted. <P> Several of the Five Live commentary team thought more players would have broken par yesterday with it being such a calm day. <P> <B>Extreme conditions</B> <P> One major reason why only 21 players managed it is that following the gale-force winds throughout all the practice rounds, most golfers will have adopted a mindset where anything around par would be a good score. <P> Even the top players will have trouble suddenly adjusting their expectations after the relatively extreme weather conditions we saw earlier in the week. <P> The easiest hole on the course yesterday was the 494 yard sixth hole - it was slightly downwind and brought seven eagles, and 69 birdies. <P> I expect it to play slightly tougher today though, as there was absolutely no breeze when the first match teed off at 0700 BST on Friday morning. <P> For the first time this week light southwesterlies - the usual prevailing winds on the Lytham links - are forecast. <P>

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