To score a hole-in-one in a major championship is a rare feat.
Louis Oosthuizen yesterday made his second ace in three majors. The drinks were on the South African at Augusta National in April when his tee shot at 16 cannoned off playing partner JB Holmes’s ball and into the hole. Yesterday in the opening round at Royal Troon, the 2010 Open champion’s ball went in unaided at the 178-yard par-3 14th, the first at that hole since Pierre Fulke in 1997.
Not that Oosthuizen didn’t need some assistance, admitting that his caddie Greg Hearmon had persuaded him to change his club selection.
“I was thinking a little five maybe and caddie convinced me it’s just a normal six-iron,” Oosthuizen said. “‘It will easily cover the front and just make a good swing. Don’t try anything hard’, and I did that. So I’ve got to give him a little credit, for talking me into that six-iron.” Compared to his Masters ace, the South African said: “Both were pretty good shots. This was a proper golf hit straight in it.”
It has long been an easy knock to say the Americans poor Ryder Cup record is down to a lack of team spirit. Yet if the camaraderie between some of them at this week’s Open is anything to go by, European captain Darren Clarke should be more than concerned.
Team USA is already looking good for Hazeltine this September in terms of results and form but a significant core of Americans appear to have the team ethos aspect sorted as well. Defending Open champion Zach Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker, Jason Dufner and Justin Thomas are all sharing a house in Troon this week and according to Thomas, they are having a great time when the clubs are stowed away for the day.
“A little frat house we have this week. It’s fun,” Kentucky native Thomas said.
“We had a great afternoon yesterday. We were going to go just walk by the beach or the sea, but we didn’t. We just decided to go throw a baseball. Rickie travels with two baseball gloves and a ball, so I think him and Jimmy started throwing, and then one by one we started going outside and then we just started finding balls everywhere in the yard, soccer balls and tennis balls and everything. Then we found something we could use as a bat, so we just pretty much started playing backyard baseball. It was great. We were like little kids.”
The only golf carts you tend to see during an Open Championship week are entirely functional for the use of grounds staff and TV camera crews but the Spectator Village at Royal Troon has been home to a rather special addition to the fleet. Championship sponsor Mercedes-Benz has long supplied the official cars at The Open but the luxury car brand has now branched out into golf car design, unveiling its Style Edition Garia Golf Car this week.
Quite a vehicle it looks too, this result of a collaboration between Mercedes-Benz designers, Daimler’s Think & Act Tank Business Innovation and luxury golf cart manufacturer Garia. The electric Golf Car features luxury car spec such as leather seating, LED headlamps, 14-inch aluminium rims and a top speed of 30 km per hour.
There’s an electronic scorecard and full hole-by-hole layout via GPS and a refrigerator under the seat.
Heard it all
Colin Montgomerie’s ultra-sensitive hearing is legend and it was in perfect working order at Troon. First off at 6.35am the course was quiet, although there was a packed grandstand on the first tee. But not quiet for Monty...
“There was a guy at the top of the stand opening up all the wi-fi with some sort of carrier bag that was keeping it dry overnight and he wasn’t quite aware what was directly below him - which was me,” said the 53-year-old after a level-par opening round.
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