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

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
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week