Open debate over lack of Scottish stars

Not that many Hogmanays ago, every Open was, in effect, a Scottish Open. As the gates would open at the oldest major of all, seemingly every other competitor would be clad in tartan, a suspicion only confirmed by the fact that the high country provided 37 of the first 50 winners.

Alas, those days are now gone - and in the past they shall remain. If a Scot wants to be certain of seeing a healthy number of his home golfers they will have to turn up here, where 20 will be in attendance. But at The Open proper? They should really not bother as there will most probably be more Welsh there (and their contingent of five does not even include Ian Woosnam).

So how many Scots? Four - easily their lowest in the Championship's 146-year history. And it gets worse because only one of these - dear old Colin Montgomerie - will be there by rights on form. Sandy Lyle and Paul Lawrie will be on the Wirral by dint of the claret jugs they picked up last century and Scott Drummond due to his victory in the PGA Championship three years ago. "It's not enough," Montgomerie said yesterday.

Not nearly, especially after all the hope raised last year. It is incredible when you remember Lloyd Saltman and Eric Ramsay on the podium alongside Tiger Woods as the two best amateurs at St Andrews. These fresh-faced bravehearts were supposed to represent the rekindling of the home fires, but a quick scan down the rankings to see that Gary Orr is the next best after Montgomerie at No 149 will douse those sparks.

"I don't know if I can put a handle on what's wrong with Scottish golf," Montgomerie said. "We have good amateurs but they don't seem to be coming through as pros. Hopefully it's just a spell."

Montgomerie's bafflement is not based so much on ignorance as the pervading sense of hopelessness across the border. There have been mumblings and grumblings at the paucity of investment into youth initiatives and even that great optimist in a kilt, Sam Torrance - competing here, incidentally, in his 700th European Tour event - felt concerned enough to add a caveat to his tub-thumbing message that "don't worry, there are some great kids emerging".

"Scotland's not like America where they have it in school," the 52-year-old said. "That's why Sweden has become so strong; they have got a great base, great scholarships and great coaching."

It is an argument set to rage on, but for now Scotland must pray that this week one of their boys can win the final Open spot on offer in the beautiful surroundings here. To do so Stephen Gallagher, Alastair Forsyth and Co will have to be up there with the likes of Ernie Els, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Fred Couples, Retief Goosen and David Howell in one of the finest ensembles on Tour all year. At least the Scottish Open is stronger than ever.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Mock the tweet: Ukip leader Nigel Farage and comedian Frankie Boyle
peopleIt was a polite exchange of words, as you can imagine
Life and Style
fashion
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
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

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain