A week on from one of the great sporting collapses, Platform’s Head of News and sports writer Simon Paice reflects on his day spent at The Open Championship:
This past weekend, I got to spend a day at one of sport’s most iconic events, The Open Championship.
Now I’ll admit, I’ve not been a life-long golf fan, but have developed a passion for it over the last few years, both playing and spectating. My first visit to a major event was to the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in 2010, before a trip to The Open at
Sandwich in Kent last year.
A trip to the golf is a sporting experience like no other. As someone who’s spent their life at football stadiums and race circuits, where health and safety ensures you’re a hefty distance away from the action, visiting golf events has been fascinating, being able to stand right in the thick of the action, with play taking place all around you.
After a very early morning drive across from Nottingham to Royal Lytham & St Annes, near Blackpool, we got in about 10.30am, just catching the end of the first groups that had teed off early in the morning. We frustratingly missed the first bunch of the big guns (e.g Mickelson, Donald, McIlroy), the large crowds around them meaning we couldn’t get a good viewing spot.
Instead, we went and found a nice little spot in a grandstand early in the round, with views of the third green, fourth approach and green and the fifth tee off, ready to see the second selection of the world’s best, including reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson, Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, the legend that is Tom Watson and some bloke called Tiger Woods.
As he missed The Open last year, it was my first chance to see Tiger live and it was a genuine pleasure to be able to see one of the greatest sportsmen of my generation, probably of all time too, at work. He rewarded us fans at the fourth with a lovely little birdie too.
The best thing is that compared to other sporting events of its size, the Open is cheap, accessible and open to anyone.
Both times I’ve been to the tournament, I’ve gone on the Friday, day two. It means you get to see every competitor on a decisive day, as the ones at the top of the leaderboard try to stamp their authority and the ones towards the bottom fight to try not to miss the cut.
As a 16-21 year old, I got in for £25 for the day, which is cheaper than most Premier League football tickets, Wimbledon show court tickets or much less than tickets to a Formula One race. While prices do go up for the weekend, if you go on the first couple of days, you can watch up to 12 hours of high quality sporting action for less than £30.
The Open Championship then is a must visit event for anyone who is a golf fan and has never been, or for any true sports fan who wants to visit a world famous event and enjoy a unique sporting experience. I’ll certainly be back next year … even if it does mean a trek up to Edinburgh.