Golf / 123rd Open: Turnberry Diary - Olazabal pays price on the green

IN THAT frustrating couple of hours before Turnberry began to bleed birdies yesterday, Jose Maria Olazabal saw his Open chances slowly dribble away thanks to the classic golf irony with which players of all standards will be familiar. Since he arrived here, the Spaniard has spent pounds 4,000 to help solve his driving problem and was promptly let down by his putting.

Olazabal's woes off the tee recently have caused him to demote the driver with which he won the US Masters in April. Last week he arrived with a selection of seven others and during a hunt around the exhibition tent bought four old persimmon-headed clubs from the Leeds specialist Paul Gibson at about pounds 1,000 apiece. One, a 1955 Toney Penna driver, pleased him so much on the practice range that he used it on the first day of The Open.

Although it flew far, it leaned left and is back with the makers for a slight adjustment to the face. But the spell of bad driving had been broken and he has been functioning well with a Maruman metal driver. As Olazabal reflected yesterday, striking the ball well doesn't mean you are going to score well if your putting is off.

As for paying so much to supplement his collection of drivers, he said: 'The way I was playing was far more expensive than that. You have to spend money to make money and I have always liked clubs made from the old persimmon wood because it is so solid. I like the way a ball comes off a solid wooden face.'

Once the club makers at Leeds have shaved the face of the Penna club to his requirements it will be flown to meet up with Olazabal at this week's Dutch Open. It is doubtful, however, if that reunion will be as tearful as that between the American Greg Kraft and his stolen putter yesterday.

The putter, a vintage Arnold Palmer worth about dollars 2,000, went missing when Kraft's caddie was taking a hamburger break on Tuesday. The caddie was sacked and Kraft played with a Ping bought in the exhibition tent. He three- putted five times. On Friday evening, the treasured putter was handed in by a spectator. 'I had to fight back the tears,' said a delighted Kraft.

THE BRIM of his Panama hat pulled low over his eyes, the commentator Bruce Critchley will be treading a wary path around Turnberry today. You might care to keep an eye out for him while you watch the BBC's live transmission of the final day of The Open, because if one of the Beeb's cameramen spots him he'll be in focus in a flash and placed at the mercy of a Peter Alliss barb.

So far, Critchley has managed to avoid detection among the Turnberry crowds but since the former Walker Cup player left the BBC to join their big rivals Sky earlier this year he has felt himself a marked man.

'It wouldn't surprise me if all the cameramen positioned around the course had been alerted to keep an eye out for me. I've spent my life avoiding Peter's verbal Exocets and I don't want to give him a chance to score a hit,' said the man who was Alliss's erudite partner in the commentary box.

A FELLOW sportswriter whose name I refuse to reveal because it would publicise a cut-price rival newspaper had an odd experience here on Friday. He suddenly felt the need for the nearest point of relief and, since Turnberry is not sprouting with lavatories and possesses very little of the cover one can seek on tree-lined courses, he was in a quandary.

Suddenly, he espied the ninth tee which stands in splendid isolation amid the rocks alongside the lighthouse. After watching a group drive off, he scrambled down to the sea-line behind the tee.

It was only while he was engaged in his solitary pursuit that he noticed he had placed himself next to a BBC microphone. He found out later that it had been installed there to catch the realistic sound of the waves beating against the rocks.

THE golf tourist industry is very lucrative, and many destinations are jostling for attention here. Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland all have stands in the main exhibition tent.

Meanwhile, a major offensive is being undertaken by Carnoustie, where they still smart from being ejected from the rota of courses staging The Open, which they last hosted in 1975. And they have friends in high places. John Calder, chairman of the links committee told me: 'Neil Armstrong (the astronaut) played here last week, and he was over the moon.'

(Photograph omitted)

News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Software Development Project Manager - Kingston Upon Thames

£55000 - £60000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Experienced Software Dev...

Recruitment Genius: Unqualified NVQ Assessors - Health, Social Care & Management

£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning independent ...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant - Immediate Start - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant - Immediate ...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders