Where else can you set out for a haircut and end up walking 18 holes with Bill Murray?
On the way Carolyn and I just had to walk by the first tee of the Old Course as it is a practice round day for the Dunhill, the closest thing to the Old Crosby Pro Am with the top European Tour players and others playing The OLD, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns. The 120 pros are joined by 360 celebs and amateurs for a fun week. Bill Murray had just teed off so we made a change and joined them on the second hole. It was great to see Bill and I wondered if he remembered me from meeting in Jamaica 3 years ago. “So what are your doing here?” When I told him I was Director of Golf at the Fairmont St Andrews his answer was “So what kind of demotion is that?” He remembered.
On the 4th hole a Links Trust Marshall arrived and informed us that “guests without armbands were not allowed to walk on the fairways with players”. Bill explained that I was a card carrying pro carried a concealled weapon, but that didn’t work. But then the marshall noticed the caddie was Gordon Murray and allowed us to walk with the players. Gordon is well mentioned in George Peper’s Two Years in St Andrews and is very well known here, and if he wanted us to walk on the fairway, no problem. Gordon also owns the unit just above Pepers’ on the 18th hole.
Bill had just arrived from his flight but his game was pretty good. His friend, Andrew Whitaker from LA was playing with Bill and was striping it. He drove two par 4 holes in a row, scoring a par and an eagle. On practice days the Old Course allows this sort of thing to happen, but only in perfect weather days like we had today. A couple holes later Andrew was in Hell’s Bunker and the course got some revenge. Later he was also in the Road Hole bunker. Bill hit 4 very good 3-wood shots that all found the green, including one on the 17th that left him six footer for birdie, which he canned! His shot into 17 was pretty brave (the toughest 3-wood shot in golf) and we heard applause from the group in front as the ball careened around the bunker. Ian Poulter was on the 18th tee which is part of the 17th green (great idea) and he appreciated Bill’s effort, then invited Bill and Andrew to play the last hole with he and Jon Joseph (damn, I thought Joseph was the Formula One driver, Hamilton).
Poulter will be the next European to win a major (mark that down as Gary’s long-shot bet at Ladbrokes). He’s had a great year and can play! And he has some factory in China working very hard on his new fashion line hitting shops early in 2008. If you like a few sequins on your golf slacks, you’ll love his stuff! Until I saw him in person I thought he looked like Rod Stewart. No way, Ian Poulter is much better looking. Anyway Bill Murray tied him on the Tom Morris hole, both missing birdie putts.
Bill Murray is one of the good guys, and he’s on his game, with the other Murray (no relation) on his bag. He will not win a major, but he should.
Tomorrrow, after work, I’m going to find Ian McLean from the Scottish part of London Ontario, he’s also playing here as the DUNHILL is one of the most important in the Order of Merit, key for Ian’s 2008 campaign.