The Open 2015: Another round? Ill wind drives fans to 19th hole to the local pubs' delight

With no play to speak of, everyone was R&A – Rat-Arsed.

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The Independent Online

When golf is run by old people obsessed with ties and blazers, in the world's most exclusive retirement home in St Andrews, nobody should be surprised that there was a problem with wind at The Open.

The incompetence rather than incontinence of the fellows in the R&A clubhouse was one of the debates raging in the pubs about town. Yes, there were 45mph winds but there was golf being played all over Fife except here. Tournament golf’s fixation with fast, slick greens was the problem.

“Play suspended due to high winds,” was the message writ large on the giant scoreboards. So with no sport to watch for most of the day at the Old Course, some joined the queue around the block to get into the golf museum just across the street. Most took a less cerebral path and headed for a pub to watch the Murray Brothers beating France. One landlord said he had taken £1,000 for drinks before midday. By mid afternoon the pavements around North Street and Golf Place, just a wedge shot from the course, were impassable.


On a glorious summer’s day, revellers had spilled out of the bars into the streets. Policemen were directing as many drunks as cars. The famous Dunvegan pub was updating fans with news of when play might begin by scrawling notes on a blackboard. 

A bagpiper played Scotland the Brave. Scotland the Bladdered, more like. One poor fella stared in horror as he emerged from the Dunvegan with two pints of lager in plastic beakers only for a gust to whip one out of his hand and spill it over his shirt. “Drinking suspended due to high winds.”

A tradesman’s entrance opened behind the R&A clubhouse and two waitresses wheeled out trolleys full of empty wine bottles and began chucking them in a recycling bin. There must have been 200. One could only imagine the scenes inside of members falling over chairs, or dozing off in them, or duelling to the death with ceremonial swords or thrashing each other with Old Tom Morris’s belt that he won for winning the Open three times.

Just around the corner, hundreds of spectators (the teetotallers) had been standing outside Old Tom’s pro shop staring for hours upon hours at nothing other than the 18th green with nothing happening on it. The R&A kept releasing statements that play would hopefully resume at 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm, a week next Thursday, not any time soon. Refunds of 60 per cent would be offered to ticket holders, said the R&A, but “applications will only be accepted if submitted in writing on nice note paper in your best handwriting in blue ink from a quill”. Only part of that is not true. So much for the electronic age.

There were lads dressed as wizards drinking their magic potions outside the Open Arms pub alongside the first fairway. Why? “We thought we could cast a spell to make the wind go away,” slurred their spokesman.

One R&A member joked that if there were any more wind delays, the champion golfer of the year would be decided by a giant game of musical chairs on the 18th green, then rock, paper, scissors in the event of a play-off. It’s possible he had been drinking.

It was carnage in town. Everyone was R&A – Rat-Arsed.