Open Golf 2008 A Retrospective Look
Report by Sally Devine & Photos
by Patrick Trollope
WHAT a week is all that can be said about the Open Golf
Championship 2008 and Southport and Royal Birkdale have reaped the
rewards. It is amazing to think that it was 10 years since the Open
last came to town and despite the weather attendance records during
the week have been over the 200,000 mark. This event has
really lifted the area, and given a boost to many local businesses.
For example accommodation was at a premium through out the area,
restaurants were fully booked and local taxi firms had a much needed
boost in customers. With the Tall Ships being in, it is
estimated that the Merseyside as a region has received a £60million
pound boost to the economy. Behind the scenes though, a large army
of volunteers have ensured the event ran smoothly, local school
children have supplied the Biffa an army who picked up the litter.
Over 200 marshals have controlled the crowds daily and the British
and International Golf Green Keepers Association have provided
members from all over the world to assist Royal Birkdale's course
manager Chris Whittle. They ensure that the bunkers are well
prepared and keep statistics on these such as which player hit the
most sand which hole took the most victims and any stories of
interest which occurred during their round. Green Keepers
surprisingly had travelled from places such as Hawaii, Sweden and an
ex-pat from Australia, just to volunteer to help.
The weather might have been poor, but the play was amazingly good
through out the event... At the start of the 2008 Open many had
Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els as favourites, but was not to be.
Wind rulings for this year such as Sundays round were issued to all
officials. Some of the tee positions were moved forward to assist
the players on certain holes such as the 6th. Leading amateur Chris
Wood managed to negotiate the windy conditions and finished in joint
5th position. At one stage he was three shots off the lead.
In the end the surprise was that the 2007 Open Championship winner
Padraig Harrington, despite injury, was yet again victorious.
Second placed Englishman Ian Poulter said:- "You know at the
start of the day you have a score in mind. I shot what I
thought was a good round, I missed a good opportunity on 13 from 5
feet and I go and three putt 17 which is a bit frustrating and
perhaps it may have pushed Paddy a bit harder but every credit to
Greg Norman told the media:- "Obviously I am disappointed it
was a tough day, but I can walk away from here with my head held
high because I hung in there. I got a couple of lip-outs which could
have made all the difference if they had gone in." Greg is
currently enjoying an extended honeymoon at Royal Birkdale with
ex-Wimbledon champion Chris Evert. This was the first tournament he
had played for a while but will take part in next weeks Senoir
Englishman Simon Wakefield also came pretty close to gate crashing
the party, he was up with the leaders on the back nine but said:-
"I hit a good tee shot down 17 and then lost the ball. Then
I leaked a three iron right and the wind caught that one and took it
out of bounds. My game is good enough its the first time I have
faltered under pressure I made a silly bogey on the 15th from
nowhere with a couple of amateurish mistakes."
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Also to see our reports we issued over the Open and to see yet our
daily photo reports, click