Golf: The Open: Marshals uphold Tiger lore

Paul Trow examines Troon's plans to cope with the wonder boy's fans

It could have been Turnberry or St Andrews, perhaps even Royal Troon. The victor, striding triumphantly towards the final green, arms aloft, milking the atmosphere, his adoring public marching behind him like a Roman legion shadowing the footsteps of their beloved Caesar. In golf, only a major championship traditionally produces such a scene. The marshals and police relax their grip on the crowd as the winner enjoys what amounts to a lap of honour over the homeward stretch. No other players are left on the course and spectators feel entitled to claim a closer view of their champion.

The sight of golf's hottest young property leading his cohorts down the 18th fairway last weekend could easily have been a dummy run for next Sunday afternoon. The general at the head of his troops was, of course, Tiger Woods, but the battle ground was far removed from the west coast of Scotland.

Cog Hill Golf & Country Club on the outskirts of Chicago is normally an oasis of gentility within the bustling Windy City. The Motorola Western Open has long been one of America's most prestigious titles, and Woods was in the process of securing his fourth US tour victory of the year. But still the hordes flocked after their hero so vigorously that you were prompted to wonder how enthusiastic they would have been had they actually been watching a major.

The fact is that Woods is in danger of being mobbed whenever and wherever he tees up. Not even Arnold Palmer, when he became golf's first superstar in the late Fifties, was greeted with such adulation. Consequently the US tour now has two sets of security programmes - one for events in which Woods plays and another, much lower key, for those he misses.

His group is always accompanied by three times as many marshals as the next most popular match, and even then the "You're the man" and "Get in the hole" merchants are barely constrained. Many of them don't even bother to wait until he has struck the ball before screaming their inanities and, having incurred the young man's displeasure, they then have the cheek to crowd him as he walks by in the hope of extracting an autograph. No wonder Woods' sculptured grin sometimes looks a little forced; the grim expression on the faces of his minders tells the true story.

Royal Troon and Royal & Ancient have all this to look forward to over the coming week. While reluctant to reveal their precise plans for combating the Woods phenomenon, the organisers acknowledge that extra stewards will be assigned to him. "We will assess the situation as it goes on to see whether we need to put more people in," was as far as a spokesman for the championship secretary, David Hill, would commit himself.

However, the likelihood is that the R&A's biggest headache will stem from the decision six months ago to allow under-18 spectators in for free. Youngsters turning up on the day must be accompanied by an adult to obtain admission, but those who have acquired tickets in advance are not subject to the same restrictions.

Traditionally, British crowds are as polite and as well-informed about golf as their transatlantic counterparts are not. But Woods's public is international and, like their hero, larger than life. At least two US tournaments this season have attracted final- day attendances in excess of 100,000 because Woods has been on the premises. It therefore seems a fair bet that, weather permitting, the four-day Open record of 208,680, set at St Andrews seven years ago, will come under threat if Woods is in contention. Hopefully, the 800 marshals hired for the week are up to the challenge.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration Engineer

£24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: These refrigeration specialists...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Logistics and Supply Chain

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an operational role and...

Recruitment Genius: CNC Sheet Metal Worker / Fabricator

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working within the workshop of ...

Recruitment Genius: 1st / 2nd Line IT Support Engineer

£20000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist high tech compa...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral