2016 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open
I drove up the A9 to Inverness on the Monday afternoon. As always, the scenery was breathtaking, but I'd forgotten how arduous the drive was. Even more so since they had imposed a trial 50 mph speed limit on hgv's , which effectively meant that everyone had to drive at that speed. Fortunately I had Marc Warren's caddie, Ken' The Oracle" Herring for company. I'll let you work out why he's blessed with this nickname. Anyway, it made the journey easier having someone to talk to. We had rented a house for the week in Inverness and were sharing with David 'Magic' Johnstone, who works for David Drysdale.
I met Paul on Tuesday morning , and we played 9 holes in perfect weather, before heading over to Royal Dornoch to play a 9 hole Exhibition match with Sandy Lyle and Kelsey Mcdonald, to celebrate 400 years of golf at Dornoch. It was very good fun, but the rain poured down, and it wasn't the most comfortable drive back to Inverness. The pro-am on Wednesday afternoon was a similar affair with the rain, so it was a quiet night before our afternoon tee time on Thursday. We were paired with Thomas Peters and Thorbjorn Olesen. Two very good young players who had already proved themselves as winners on tour.
We had gotten a bit unlucky with the draw, as the wind was very strong on the Thursday afternoon. It was just on the verge of playable, as the ball was close to moving on the greens. To give you an idea, on the 12th hole, we had 275 yards to the hole, uphill, but strong downwind. We hit a five iron, and should've used a six iron!!! Paul struggled with his ball striking, returning a score of +9. This left us with an uphill battle to make the cut. Friday was a better day, as Paul played much steadier, returning a 73. Unfortunately we were still well outside the cut mark, and I headed back to our house to pack my case and head down the road, this time on my own....it seemed to take twice as long.
Thus we had the weekend off before the biggest tournament of the year.... The Open. This year it was being played at Royal Troon, which is 30 minutes from my house. Staying at home for a major.... It doesn't get much better than that.
BMW International Open
We'd had a couple of weeks off after Sweden, and we're now onto one of the best organised tournaments of the year. Just like their cars, BMW don't scrimp on the running of golf tournaments. This year we were in Cologne. The course sits right inbetween Cologne and Düsseldorf. There was a direct flight from Glasgow to Düsseldorf on Monday afternoon. Bingo. When I arrived in Germany it was raining. And it didn't stop all day. I met Paul early on Tuesday morning, and we played nine holes on a very wet golf course. The rough was brutal, and this weeks winner would have to be a combination of long and straight.
The weather for the pro-am was much better. Warm and no wind. All three of our partners were from the UK, and had flown in just for the pro-am. To be fair, their golf wasn't up to much , ( one of them lost 20 balls!!!) but they were great company, and made the most of the day.
Our playing partners for the first two days were Joost Luiten and Bernd Weisberger , making Chippie the elder statesman, but he showed them a clean pair of heels several times, giving them some yardage of the the tee. Unfortunately, it wasn't always on the fairway, as he struggled with accuracy. A classic example was the 17th in the first round. We can laugh at it now, but we weren't at the time. Paul had hooked his tee shot into the heavy rough where around 100 spectators where standing. We all shouted fore. Thankfully , no one was hurt, and we assumed someone would have seen the ball. When we got there, it seemed everyone had found a ball, but not one was ours. After five minutes of searching I called "time up" and we started walking back to the tee. Five seconds later, our ball was found. Typical. It was too late, we trudged back to the tee, and Paul's drive went in exactly the same direction. Shouts of fore again ensued. Surely we would find this one. About 80 yards from reaching the ball, the crowd had gathered, and were laughing and giggling. Chippie wasn't impressed " What are they laughing at? Is it funny like?" As we approached, the crowd parted, to leave one guy standing with his sweater pulled up, to reveal Chippie's ball firmly lodged in his knavel. It had found its way down his collar and got stuck in his shirt. Everybody was creasing themselves, except of course, me and the Chipster. To make matters worse, when the referee arrived to give us the ruling, she burst out laughing as well. Paul did well to keep his composure , and after a drop, and a couple more shots, we walked off the hole with a triple bogey seven. We eventually signed off for a 73, +1. With the cut going to be under par, we required a good day on Friday. Unfortunately, the driver was misbehaving again, and we recorded a 75. It's typical of where we are at the minute. Paul's putting has been improving over recent weeks, but the long game has been a struggle. Just a spell where we have to knuckle down and grind through it. I got a flight home on Saturday morning, ready for a week off before the "Fifth Major" ........The Scottish Open of course.