Muirfield 2013 Open choice

St Andrews Cathedral ruins

St Andrews Cathedral ruins

The Royal & Ancient, joint custodian of the game of golf with the USGA and the RCGA, announced this week that the 2013 Open will be contested at MUIRFIELD Golf Club. Muirfield has produced many memorable Opens and Senior Opens and is a favourite of Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and most of the golfing world. By choosing Muirfield the R&A are getting a bit of stick from one of the better English golf writers, Lawrence Donegan, who says Muirfield “pretentiously styles itself as The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, is snobbish, elitist and more uptight than Gordon Brown on YouTube, it treats women like fourth-class citizens”. He goes on to say “”as someone who writes about golf for a living, and loves it with a passion, it is often difficult to convince skeptics of the sport’s appeal. No wonder.”

Well Lawrence, I disagree. The R&A can pick any golf course to host “their” Open. I don’t think they picked Muirfield because the club wrote the first Rules of Golf or because they don’t allow women to join, they picked it because of golfing history, because it has hosted events for decades, modern tour players can compete against long dead legends on the same hallowed turf (and from new tees). Until recently the modern Yankees played in the same park as Babe Ruth, well in golf we can still do that, some places. And the Open allows it on this side of the pond. The R&A is also a male only Club and they own the Open. Revenues from the Open are distributed to golf associations throughout the world, many include women. Little girls in Jamaica and Mombai will learn to love the game because of money from the 2013 Open at Muirfield.

I hope Lawrence continues to write about golf (golf gets about 5% as much ink as cricket, the other summer sport). He’s a fine writer. Not as good as Lorne or Robert, but good.

Can’t wait for the 2010 Open, here in St Andrews. Our Torrance is a final qualifying course and we will try to match the Old Courses’ conditions wherever possible. We already have 63 of the scariest sod-walled bunkers, and 18 slick putting surfaces!

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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