Troon Talk

Lasses are a class apart
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The Independent Online
Is golf still dominated by class? In a play on words to mark Tiger Woods' arrival at Royal Troon the American sports company Nike unveiled its latest billboard, which claims the Royal & Ancient game is "still dominated by class".

So is Mr Woods playing over more elitist turf this week? Not so, insists the senior hierarchy of the Ayrshire club. While the terms class and elitist may certainly apply in the hallowed American bastions of Augusta and Cypress Point, Ian Valentine, the current captain of Royal Troon, told the Diary that the 800 members of Royal Troon were a mixed bunch, united by only one aim: "To play golf. We don't even accept applications from non-playing members."

Yes, there are doctors and lawyers and the odd Sir and professor, but Mr Valentine and other prominent members insisted that elitist would be an inappropriate term here.

Only the feminist movement (in extremis) may question such claims of egalitarianism. All members of Troon are male, the ladies having their own separate clubhouse a quarter of a mile away, the Portland course, and their own constitution. Royal Troon owns the ladies' club. Valentine accepted: "There is nothing in our constitution to prevent a woman becoming a member, but so far in our history no lady has been proposed. But then I should point out there is nothing in the ladies' constitution that prevents a male from applying there."

Plenty of room for Nike's copywriters to work on there.

Reserve Robertson made to sweat

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday he practised at Troon without being certain that he would get a place on the competition tee. Michael Bonallack, the secretary of the Royal and Ancient, had quietly told him the position of first reserve usually always made it. But even by Wednesday morning Dean Robertson, the 27-year-old Scots professional, was still sweating. There had been hints that Ian Baker-Finch would save himself from embarrassment and withdraw but he did not. And yesterday confirmed he should have (he shot 92). Instead a Japanese competitor went home early and Robertson was in. The whole Robertson family drove down from their home in Paisley yesterday morning. Dean is staying with his parents this week. "Makes it a cheap week for him," said his brother, another golfer whose own battles at Troon are playing in the annual match against Glasgow University and the experience will doubtless have been passed on. Robertson shot a respectable 76 playing alongside Mark Calcavecchia and Andrew Coltart. "He played well," said his brother, "and he'll shoot par tomorrow." Nothing like a bit of family support.

TODAY'S TEE-OFF TIMES

Second round

GB or Irl unless stated

0715 W Bladon, A Crerar, P Haugsrud (Nor)

0725 *S Young, G Orr, DA Russell

0735 D Hart (US), I Garrido (Sp), M Bradley (US)

0745 C Strange (US), J Lomas, E Els (SA)

0755 D Edlund (Swe), J Furyk (US), Y Kaneko (Japan)

0805 D Clarke, S Jones (US), F Nobilo (NZ)

0815 M James, M Wiebe (US), C Pavin (US)

0825 C Rocca (It), L Janzen (US), M Long (NZ)

0835 B Faxon (US), J Parnevik (Swe), R Green (Aus)

0845 T Woods (US), B Langer (Ger), S Elkington (Aus)

0855 P Harrington, M Brooks (US), C Parry (Aus)

0905 M-A Martin (Sp), T Lehman (US), V Singh (Fiji)

0915 P Mitchell, C Stadler (US), D Frost (SA)

0925 P Azinger (US), *D Olsson (Swe), G Player (SA)

0935 N Faldo, T Tolles (US), N Price (Zim)

0945 M-A Jimenez (Sp), D Duval (US), G Turner (NZ)

0955 P Hedblom (Swe), J Haas (US), Kim Jong-duck (S Kor)

1005 A Cejka (Ger), S Mickelson (US), S Appleby (Aus)

1015 R Damron (US), P Baker, R Davis (Aus)

1025 P O'Malley (Aus), *B Howard, J Payne

1035 G Brand Jnr, G Day (US), C Mason

1045 P Fulke (Swe), J Kelly, *J Miller

1055 M Bradley, P Teravainen (US), S Dunlap (US)

1105 M Miller, G Murphy, M Mamat (Sing)

1115 L Batchelor, K Eriksson (Swe), C Clark

1125 R Jacquelin (Fr), G Dodd (Aus), J Steenkamer (Neth)

1135 *S Webster, A Cabrera (Arg), D Howell

1145 T Purtzer (US), R Boxall, W Westner (SA)

1155 P Blackmar (US), J Spence, S McCarron (US)

1205 N Sato (Japan), P McGinley, B Watts (US)

1215 R Goosen (SA), S Torrance, P Stankowski (US)

1225 P Lonard (Aus), *C Watson, J Maggert (US)

1235 L Westwood, S Stricker (US), G Norman (Aus)

1245 P-U Johansson (Swe), S Mori (Japan), J Nicklaus (US)

1255 C Montgomerie, T Watson (US), M McNulty (Zim)

1305 R Russell, F Couples (US), E Romero (Arg)

1315 A Coltart, M Calcavecchia (US), T Izawa (Japan)

1325 I Woosnam, R Allenby (Aus), P Stewart (US)

1335 M O'Meara (US), S Maruyama (Japan), S Lyle

1345 T Bjorn (Den), J Cook (US), S Ames (Trin)

1355 J-M Olazabal (Sp), T Kite (US), N Ozaki (Japan)

1405 P Broadhurst, J Leonard (US), W Riley (Aus)

1415 J Van de Velde (Fr), L Roberts (US), P Senior (Aus)

1425 D Love (US), S Ballesteros (Sp), H Miyase (Japan)

1435 I Baker-Finch (Aus), R Claydon, B Tway (US)

1445 R McFarlane, B Andrade (US), M Roe

1455 A Magee (US), P Curry, J Coceres (Arg)

1505 K Duke (US), S Bottomley, *Y Taylor (US)

1515 A Sandywell, G Clark, B McGovern

1525 J Remesy (Fr), V Phillips, D Tapping

1535 R Karlsson (Swe), T Gogele (Ger), C Perry (US)

1545 J Kernohan (US), G Ghei (Ind), P Hinton

* denotes amateur

THE NUMBERS GAME

7 The bogeys that Colin Montgomerie had in his round of 76

40 The age Nick Faldo is today

11 The years since anyone had a worst round in the Open than Ian Baker- Finch's 92

5 The times America's Tom Watson has won the Open Championship

2 The bunkers Tiger Woods visited on the par-four first hole

9 The shots that England's Mark Roe needed to get down at the par 4 Railway

TV TIMES

Live coverage: 10.30am-12.20pm and 1pm-7.30 BBC2

Highlights: 9pm-9.40 BBC2

WEATHER FORECAST

Cloudy with sunny periods. Winds will strengthen from the north west, 10-15mph during afternoon. Max temp 19C.

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