Ireland’s David Higgins has accepted full responsibility for the blunder which cost him the chance of a place in the Open Championship at Muirfield.
Higgins discovered he had 15 clubs in his bag – one more than permitted – on the first hole of a play-off in Local Final Qualifying at North Berwick yesterday, the two-shot penalty ending his hopes and seeing opponents Gareth Wright and George Murray progress.
The 40-year-old explained in his regular column on GolfcentralDaily.com that he felt his five-under-par total had little chance of being good enough, so had therefore dried and stored his equipment – inclucing a spare rescue club – in his car.
“I couldn’t believe it but was delighted to see the way things were panning out as I moved up the leaderboard and became more confident that I could get one of the spots available in the playoff,” Higgins wrote.
“I decided to go the range to warm up again and hit a few balls. I just took driver, mid iron and wedge. It was still raining really hard so I kept the rain cover on my bag. My caddy for the day, Monty, a local man that knows North Berwick like the back of his hand, had done a great job all day and was up for the play-off.
“We headed for the tee. I hit a good tee shot and good second to about 15 feet. I was hunkered down reading my putt when the thought suddenly came into my head, ’F***, did I take that other rescue out of the bag?’
“I stood up and felt a bit sick in my stomach as I walked over to the bag to check. And there she was looking up at me! B****x’
“It was a horrible thing to happen but I have no-one to blame only myself. I guess the excitement/adrenaline rush of getting another opportunity to play in the greatest golf event in the world clouded my judgement and I made a mistake.”