Spotted in Troon: Who's out and about during Open week?July 13, 2016 Latest news
Ever wondered what goes on in Troon in the week leading up to The Open? James Savage investigates...
Troon is a fairly small town on the coast of South Ayrshire. It has a modest high street and a fantastic beach. A truly pleasant place to visit at any time of year I’m sure.
Open week is a bit different. Just like in St Andrews, Hoylake or Carnoustie the whole place has the Championship front and centre of all goings on.
Nearly every shop has a set of golf clubs in the window or some sort of Open paraphenalia just in case you hadn’t noticed one of the world’s biggest sporting events rolling into town just a few hundred yards down the road.
From the locals that I spoke to, it’s a week to be cherished. Those who went to school here but have since moved away for studies or work relish the chance to come back and savour the atmosphere.
It’s Tuesday night and I’m pretty sure most weeks of the year you’d struggle to find a busy pub within the town itself.
Not tonight. We start off in Garvan’s. The sign outside says ‘Free Beer and Topless barmaid’.
It’s a tongue-in-cheek effort to draw a few more punters in. This place doesn’t take itself too seriously.
It’s very lively and a quick glance at the clientele tells you all you need to know. There’s a guy playing pool wearing a Titleist cap – that kind of sums it up.
After a couple of shandies we wander back across to the other side of town. Kristoffer Broberg passes us in the street.
No offence to the Swedish player but we’re hoping Phil Mickelson falls out of the fish and chip shop and onto the street. No sign of the five-time major winner on this occasion.
MacIntyre’s is our next port of call and it’s suitably lively. Within five minutes of getting the first round, Brandt Snedeker strolls in. Immediately I get the sense that this could be the place to be for the duration.
Fellow tour player Chris Kirk and Patton Kizzire join the mix. Kirk is on the Guinness, Sneds on the lager.
Perhaps not the best preparations for a major championship but more useful than staying in and watching television.
What’s unique about the Open is that players are faced with different things from the weekly grind of the PGA tour.
I chat in length to Kirk who’s sporting a fairly rugged beard. What’s clear is he absolutely loves this week. The chance to play links golf is a treat for most Americans in the field.
“It all depends on the weather,” he explains. “If we get that north-westerly wind then the first few holes are like pitch and putt but the back nine is brutal.”
I ask him who his money would be on but he can’t give me an answer, such is the unpredictable nature of the weather. You get the sense that this really could be anyone’s week.
In fairness to Kirk and Sneds they leave at a timely hour while what seems like the entire UK golf industry take over the bar and carry on into the small hours – often repeating conversations had earlier in the day.
All the while you have to remind yourself that it’s Tuesday night. There’s an entire golf tournament to look forward to and I for one can’t wait for it to get going.
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