Friday, 30 July 2010

Women's British Open 2010 - Friday July 30th - Round 2

Arrived at Royal Birkdale at 8.45am and found the first group of the day of Janice Moodie, Amy Yang and Iben Tinning teeing off on the 10th. Next up was Karen Stupples' group. Wondered where she had got to as only 2 players and three caddies made their way past me. Turned round and Karen was stood on the tee already, stony faced. A double bogey, bogey run will do that to you. In the next group Sophie Gustafson also mooched her way onto the tee by herself looking less than chuffed. She too had just bogeyed nine. She hit a nice tee shot on 10. Xtina immediately shouted "Oh God, Get left" and then "Sit" when hitting her tee shot.

Tutta also appeared on her lonesome on the 10th tee but she had at least made par on nine. Wie looked miffed as she walked on the tee. She had just made bogey. She stared very hard after her tee shot. The marshalls were signalling it was going leftish. She was mad with herself. She threw an imaginary something to the floor and stood off to the side of the tee with her hands on her hips. It turned out she was in the fairway bunker. She could only advance it out a tad. Cue another bogey.

Kerr, BamBam and Alfie were next. Alfie's trudge to the tee gave away the fact she had just bogeyed nine. After they had teed off I followed the usual plan and wandered over to the 14th hole. Ken Brown was rolling balls on the green and making notes. He got a right ribbing from the crowd when he failed to hole the one he aimed at the flag. Took a bit of time before Janice Moodie's group appeared on the tee. The crowd then increaed significantly as the local Birkdale lot were out supporting Kelly Tidy in Karen Stupples' group.

Sophie's group was next to play. She and Kitada had both putted out before Xtina arrived even though she was away. This was because Xtina was using the portaloo up at the 14th tee and seemed to be taking ages to get all her layers sorted out. Tutta was hitting first in her group being 4 under for the day. She liked her tee shot but it came up short but leaving a downhill putt. Wie was hitting last being 5 over for the day. Tutta really thought she'd made her birdie putt but it just slipped by.

A change of plan saw me move over to the side of the 15th tee once Tutta had putted out to follow them out towards 16. There was no great cheer from the 14th green so Wie had obviously missed her 6 footer for birdie. Tutta and Wie hit lovely teeshots. Kitada got into trouble and had to hack out up the fairway. Tutta obviously wasn't going for the green in 2 but came up just short and left of the green. Wie went for the green but ended up in the left hand front greenside bunker close to the big front wall. Her reaction when she saw the ball says it all. "Ooh Ugly". She couldn't go for the flag and did well to get out where she did, aiming to the lower level of the green away from the flag. Tutta hit a nice chip up onto the green but the birdie putt just missed. All three got their par.

It's a long trog back to the 16th tee so I hung around at 15 to watch the group behind come through. Alfie completely duffed her third shot and made bogey. Kerr and Bam Bam both birdied. Crossed the 16th fairway below the green and watched Wie and Tutta putt out. Both missed what looked like makeable birdie putts. Headed off towards the landing zone on the 17th fairway.

The first ball I saw land was just on the left of the fairway. Tutta was hitting first so Kitada would be next. However, the next ball went bounding down the fairway to Wie length. Turns out I hadn't seen Tutta's ball land because she had hit it left into some nasty stuff on the side of the huge mound on the LHS of the fairway. All she could do was lash it up the fairway. Hit it nicely and left herself a birdie putt but it just missed.

The 18th is a hell of a hole to walk so I stayed put as Cristie Kerr was also in trouble having hit it onto the top of the large mound ending up behind one of the TV's antennae things. A rules official had to be called. Worth, her caddy and a technician had to carry the antennae away and we in the crowd had to stand well back as she hacked it out well into the fairway. Left them to it and wandered round to see the results of the Wie/Tutta teeshots. Both were in the fairway. Both hated their approach shots. Wie ran across the fairway after hitting hers and practiced the shot she should have hit. Tutta slammed her club into the ground in frustration. Tutta ended up in the right greenside bunker with a horrible stance one foot in the bunker one bracing herself against the back. She got up and down.

Went for a beer and sat in front of the leaderboard. It started to rain. Was OK sat on my seat under my brolly. Eventually put my waterproof trousers on and with the rain stopped, sat in front of the big screen to watch TV coverage. Headed down for a bacon roll and whilst sat undercover eating it the rain got heavier. In full waterproof gear, stood by the 10th tee to see the big names got through but play was very slow and the rain was horrible so decided to go home and catch the rest of the 2nd round on the Beeb at home.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Women's British Open 2010 - Thursday July 29th - Round 1

Arrived at the course at 9.00am. Weather looked threatening. A quick check on the leaderboard had Juli Inkster and Jiyai Shin leading on -1. Made my way towards the 10th tee. The 3rd group of the day - Jiyai Shin, Anna Nordqvist and Becky Brewerton had just teed off. Next up was LD, Pressel and Mika Miyazato followed by Catriona Matthew, Paula Creamer and Florentyna Parker. Last group watched there was Ai Chan, Meliisa Reid and Karrie Webb who wad just got to -3.

Wandered over to the 14th green in time to see the 2nd group of the day which included Juli Inkster and JJ. They were followed by the Shin, Nordqvist, Brewerton group. Anna made a lovely long birdie putt to get back to +2. Becky Brew just missed a birdie to stay +1. LD and her group were up next. Catriona Matthew, Paula Creamer, Ai Chan, Meliisa Reid and Karrie Webb also passed through the 14th whilst I was stood there. Have to point out that whilst stood by the 14th I had to put on my waterproof trousers, break out the waterproof cagougle, open the M2002 Commonwealth Games volunteer uniform umbrella and put on the gloves. Wather was awful.

By 11.00am it was time to make my way to the stand behind the 1st tee. Luckily the rain had abated and it was just a tad windy. I sat right at the back overlooking the steps so I didn't have to get up and down every time someone arrived/left and no heads where in the way. It filled up really quickly as the next tee time arrived as a number of good groups were about to tee off. First up was Iben Tinning, Amy Jang and Janice Moodie, who got a very good reception. Karen Stupples also got a good reception but nothing like that given to the local member and British Am Champ Kelly Tidy. Sherri Steinhauer must have felt a bit left out but she got a decent enough reception. Xtina Kim remains as popular as ever and gave the crowd a really big smile when introduced.

Sophie Gustafson was up next. Her tee shot looked good but just kept a bit left and ended in the fairway bunker. Suzann Pettersen arrived at the 1st tee looking a right numpty with one of the Nike woolly hats on top of one of her Nike baseball caps. Michelle Wie arrived and she and Suzann had an animated Nike wardrobe comparison. Michelle was obvioulsy giving Tutta a hard time about the hat situation. Much laughing and joking between the 2 of them ensued until Tutta went with the baseball cap only look.

Alfie was also sporting the numpty hat look but stuck with it. Once she, Kerr and Bam Bam had teed off, I set off into the countryside. I wandered off alongside the 9th/10th and chose to go up to the side of the 10th green where Kyeong Bae, Kristy McPherson and the Welsh amateur Amy Boulden were playing. Having watched them tee off on the 11th I negotiated my way down the 11th fairway and crossed over by the green to make my way over the 8th fairway towards the 7th hole.

The 7th hole was never a great spectator hole but with the change of direction of the tee and the way it was roped off, it is now even worse but the mega plus side is that the old 7th tee position which was previously inaccesible, is now a perfect viewpoint for the 6th hole 2nd shot onwards. Got there in time to catch up with the Stupples group. Karen's tee shot was quite a bit left and she had to lay up. She completely duffed her 3rd shot and made bogey.

Michelle Wie had hit a great tee shot long and bang in the middle of the fairway. Tutta was a long way back from her behind the RHS fairway bunker as was their Japanese playing partner. Kitada hit her 2nd left of the fairway and into the hazard. Having penalty dropped she hit into the front left greenside pot bunker and then three putted. Ouch. Whilst this was happening Michelle and Tutta were chatting in the fairway. Wie's second was long in the fringe at the back of the green despite Mrs Wie shouting "Sit, Sit, Stop, Sit" in my right ear. Tutta's 2nd ended up just short and left of the green avoiding the bunker and her lovely chip left her a short birdie putt which she made. Wie's chip from the back was weak leaving a 15ft birdie putt and she made just par.

Cristie Kerr had hit her tee shot on 6 quite a way back and had to lay up whilst Kitada was sorting herself out. It wasn't a great layup ending up on the RHS bank. At this point a bacon roll and a cup of tea were calling. I mossied over to the 7th to see Wie miss her birdie putt there and Tutta missing her par after hitting into a greenside bunker. Made my way back over the 8th and 11th fairways and up to 10th green, then over to the crossing point on the 13th fairway close to the green where Pernilla Lindberg's mum was not so happy with life. Daughter was +11 after 12.

Trogged up the hill and down again by the 13th green/14th tee and rested up with bacon roll and tea for 30 mins. Headed back to the 14th green to watch the main groups go through. Mr Yang stood by us to watch where Amy's tee shot landed, her being in the lead at the time. Karen Stupple and Kelly Tidy were deep in conversation as they walked up to the 14th green. Sophie was obvioulsy hedging her bets having her rain jacket draped over her shoulders.

The flag was in a really difficult sport over to the right front of the green behind one of the front greenside bunkers. Most players seemed to have decided to play safe, hit the middle of the green, two putt and move on. Wie, Pettersen and Kitada did just that. Bam Bam and Alfie were chatting on their way up to the 14th, Alfie still sporting the silly headgear. Having eatched that group play 14 I headed to the refreshment area for a beer and to watch a bit of the TV coverage before heading for home.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Women's British Open 2010 - Wednesday July 28th - Practice

Paula CreamerArrived at Birkdale at about 9.00am. Weather was a little better than yesterday. No need to start the day in the waterproof trousers. Set off down the ninth from the green and came across Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel playing as a two. Wandered back to the 8th and watched Becky Brewerton and Trish Johnson's group play up to the green, then wandered up to the 10th green and waited for Creamer and Pressel to arrive.

Stood right behind the 11th tee and waited for their arrival. Paula was asked for an autograph and photo, Morgan was not. She didn't seem happy to be ignored. Headed off down the 11th fairway and crossed over at the green and headed for the 7th green. Was a bit confused because they have changed the whole layout of that hole since 2005. The tee has moved through 90 degrees. They did it when the men were there in 2008. Yani Tseng was playing the hole when I arrived. As it was the practice round I hopped over the rope and got a view of the hole that will be unavailable the rest of the tournament.

Next group up at the 7th tee was Catriona Matthew, Cristie Kerr, Suzann Pettersen and the local British Amateur winner Kelly Tidy who is a member of Royal Birkdale. What a great experience for the am. Cristie Kerr and Catriona Matthew were having a great chin wag as they walked down to the green. David Leadbetter and his daughter were out walking with Tutta. Although all the tee shots had landed on the green, much bunker practice ensued. Catriona had to wait for Cristie to finish as they had both picked the same bunker to hit out of.

Wandered up the 8th fairway to see the outcome of their tee shots. Cristie Kerr hit her first tee shot way left into some nasty stuff on the bank so hit another one which was also heading left but got a nice bounce back into the fairway. She didn't quite know where the first ball ended up. Some lads had seen it land and pointed it out to her. They got no thnks for their pains. She said she'd just chip it out if it was for real and proceeded to play on with her second ball. Tutta was the shortest and in the left semirough. Took an iron onto the green but not very close. Catriona had hit a bomb of a tee shot and hit a lovely iron which left her with a nice birdie putt which she made.

Watched them tee off on number 9. They disappeared down the fairway having a good laugh at something. Waited for the group behind to tee off on 9. Pernilla Lindberg and Azahara Munoz were mugging for the camera as Pernilla's mum was taking photos. Headed off behind the ninth tee and found myself by the second green where I'd never been before. When following a particular group the 2nd green has to be viewed from a distance otherwise you can't catch them up on the 3rd. I also caught a glimpse of the 3rd tee which is well hidden up behind the second green and inaccesible for spectators.

Wandered back over to the 10th and caught up with Tutta's group. Catriona had disappeared. Obviously nine was enough for her today. Cristie Kerr pulled her approach shot way left into the bank around the green, flung her club at her bag and stalked off up the fairway. Worth her caddy followed her, at a safe distance until they spotted another game bird making its way across the fairway. They were fascinated by it until it flew away. And no, I don't know what it was except it wasn't the same as the one I saw yesterday.

Up by the 10th green Tutta, Dave Brooker and David Leadbetter were having an enormous laugh about something or other. I stood directly behind the 11th tee and managed to video Tutta's tee shot. It was a super shot right down the middle of the fairway. Kerr was up next and striped one down the middle as well. Kelly Tidy wasn't so lucky. Her first tee shot went way right. Her re-load was a lot better. Wandered off back to the 14th green area when the weather took a turn for the worse.

Almost lost my umbrella to the wind. Went to get an early bacon roll and cup of tea so I could shelter under their awning thing. Ended up sitting next to Captain Alison Nicholas. Just got settled when the heavens absolutely opened as a big squall came through. A second followed close behind so it was time to put the waterproof trousers on.

Tutta and co had reached the 14th green by the time I passed by. Both Kerr and Tutta blazed their first tee shot over the back of the green but hit nice second attempts. Both of them said goodbye to Kelly at this point as they had had enough and were heading off for lunch. Decided I had had enough for the day and headed off back home to rest up for the tournament proper.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Women's British Open 2010 - Tuesday July 27th - Pro Am

Got to Birkdale in nasty drizzle. An artic was being dragged out of the public car park entrance so I had to use the staff car park. Discovered a new innovation this year. Two shotgun pro-ams - one am and one pm. Wandered out to the 14th green where I found Sophie Gustafson. Next up was Cristie Kerr, sporting a natty piece of headgear. She did sort of acknowledge me on leaving the green. She had given one of her playing partners some tips on getting out of a bunker on 14 and some swing tips on the 15th tee. When he hit a good tee shot she told him he owned her $150. He said she was reasonably priced. She retorted that he also owed her $150 for the bunker advice.

Amanda Blumenhurst was next down the 14th. She was having fun with her partners and said Hi to me as she passed on her way to the 15th tee. Karen Stupples was next up and the crowd which had swelled to two were greeted with a polite Good morning from Karen. There was such a big gap after Karen's group that I wandered up the hill and over to the 13th fairway.

Arrived just in time to see Mika Miyazato helping one of her playing partners find his ball in some really nasty stuff short & left of the 13th green. She was playing with a group of her compatriots so it seemed strange whe nhe shouted "Found it".

At this point headed off to the practice range to see who was about then wandered up to the pitching green where I spied an unusual sight. Mardi Lunn, caddying for Trish Johnson these days was watching without a fag in her hand. Larry, the blogging caddie, caddying for Kris Tamulis, was sporting very unusual wet weather headgear - a basball cap with a towel wrapped round his head and neck. It won't catch on as a fashion statement, I hope.

On my way back to the practice green I came across Tutta teeing off at the 10th and decided to follow her for a few holes. Recognised a couple of faces. Her mum was following as was David Leadbetter.

On the 11th fairway David Leadbetter disappeared off and headed in the direction of the group in front. I left Tutta's group holing out on the 11th and wandered around in time to see the Wie group on the 12th green. Bj was fussing around down on the green whilst Bo was up on the hillside in spectator mode.

Wie had a 5 foot putt for birdie on one of the flatter greens on the course. There was a very disappointed exclamation from Bo when she missed the putt. She and her playing patrners seemed to be interacting well. Her playing partners wanted their photos taken with her together with David Leadbetter.

Waited by the 13th tee for Tutta. After much discussion with Dave Brooker about distance to various bunkers and lines to aim for off the tee, Tutta changed her club and proceeded to hit her tee shot into the large fairway bunker she was most wanting to avoid.

As I was the only crowd following the group I opted to follow them down the fairway rather than heading over behind the ropes. It makes a nice change to walk on the short stuff rather than in the long grass. Tutta advanced the ball a short way down the fairway out of the bunker and then hit a gorgeous iron shot to three feet from the pin to save par.

Caught up with Wie on the 14th green. Another new experience for me. Wie being asked for an autograph and her saying yes! Tutta hit a lovely shot on 14 to 6 feet and made a nice birdie. Tutta teed off on 15 with some sort of game bird wandering about just in front of the tee. I don't know exactly waht it was. My degree was in Marine Biology not Ornithology. Give me molluscs and I'm OK.

Decided it was time for a bacon roll and a cup of tea between the pitching area and practice range. Sun came out so it was off with the waterproof trousers. Wandered off to the putting green to see the afternoon Proam types getting ready. Jiyai Shin's caddie had some framed picture to give her as a pressie from Evian as far as I can make out.

On the practice green Anna Nordquist got some sort of putting tool out of her bag and proceeded to show Brittany Lincicombe how to use it including getting down on her haunches to guide Brittany's putter head, just like a coach. Lots of locals seemed to be avidly taking photos of the two of them but it turned out the legendary Alan Hansen was preparing for the Proam on the green in front of them.

Headed out to the 14th green to watch Anna Nordquist starting the afternoon Proam then watched Yani Tseng playing the 9th green and teeing off on 10. Sat in the stand behind the 1st tee to watch Chritina Kim's group tee off. She got a big round of applause and said Hi to everyone loudly. Decided that after 6 hours of fresh air it was time to head for home.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

New Year Snow

Awoke on Tuesday morning to find 5 inches of snow had fallen overnight, the heaviest snowfall I've ever seen since I moved to Wilmslow 21 years ago. For once, the weather forecasters had got it spot on.

One of the joys of owning your own business is that you can take the day off no problem. Temperatures were really low and the thermal, waterproof socks and walking boots last deployed at the Women's British Open came in very handy.

A walk to the local shops in the glorious sunshine to get my newspaper and a pint of milk was noticeable for the lack of traffic noise. Never heard it so quiet.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Bonfire Night Aftermath

I remember when fireworks came in a small box and you could fire a rocket from a milk bottle and not a major missile launcher!

Thank god this monster landed in the lawn. 10 yards to the left and my car would have been hit!

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Ma & Pa's Golden Wedding

The Vale Hotel, Golf and Spa Resort was the chosen venue for the Golden Wedding celebrations for Ma and Pa. They wanted things low key so we had a dinner, bed and full English breakfast at the hotel used by the Welsh rugby team as their base.