Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

July 18, 2013

Muirfield should present a big challenge

British Open begins today at storied Scottish course

(Continued)

Speaking of Garcia, he was a guest milling around on Tuesday night at the International Golf Writers Dinner. Many former major champions attended the invitation-only affair. Garcia, who has never won a major, circulated during the cocktail hour outside the tent hosting the dinner at Muirfield. The Spaniard was clad in jeans and a golf shirt. He obviously had taken it upon himself to interface with the media and other golf officials in hopes of improving his image following remarks he made about Tiger Woods in late May. In my opinion it was a classy move on his part.

I’m staying in North Berwick, which is just seven miles up the road from Muirfield. It’s the home of the North Berwick Club which was founded in 1832, some 59 years before Muirfield. Late Sunday afternoon I had a chance to play North Berwick after a couple hours of sleep and a severe case of jet lag. It’s a quirky course, very reminiscent of Prestwick.

The 18th hole is a drivable par four of 277 yards. Interestingly the green on this hole sits near a narrow street where local golfers park their cars. The view of these parked cars from the 18th tee is imposing from the standpoint that most average golfers hit slices off the tee and the prevailing wind is left to right. On top of that, the North Berwick clubhouse sits behind the green and people gather in the bar upstairs and watch the action on the finishing hole.

I took my weary legs to the 18th tee at approximately 9:05 p.m. and launched my tee shot towards the green. I lost sight of the ball, but my playing partners informed me that it wound up 20 feet left of the flag on the green. With a new bounce in my step, I strode to the green and made the putt for an eagle 2. The cheerful peanut gallery sitting on the clubhouse veranda applauded. It was a golf highlight for me.

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