Getting to the course
No one does this better than us. We know how to handle a queue and we know how to get people moving. It’s in our DNA. The Americans have a lot to learn.
Let’s put a tournament on with one road in and one road out. When everyone’s queuing for two hours just to reach the venue, the solution is not to say, ‘Tough, set off earlier.’ But it’s hard to argue with someone toting a pistol so we all just sit breathing in diesel instead.
Compulsory media traffic jam picture approaching Shinnecock Hills. It is 5.48am and we are six miles from the course… ???????? pic.twitter.com/sbRbA50OpE
— Steve Carroll (@SteveCarrollNCG) June 13, 2018
Score: US Open -3, The Open -2
The marshalls do a great job at The Open, but there’s always someone who looks very recently removed from a war zone.
You can spot this person a mile away. They’re usually sporting a buzzcut and like to take a Desert Storm approach to mobile phone enforcement. Nothing makes their day more than stripping you of your dignity – whether you deserve it or not.
They’re far more relaxed Stateside. They smile – a lot. They are interested in you. They want to hear about your day.
“We’re here to have fun,” explained marshall Tom Fleischman from his vantage point on top of the 14th tee.
“It’s just as big a deal for us to be here as the spectators. We get to interact with a lot of different people from a lot of different areas and it’s just a lot of fun.”
And when they do have to step in? “It’s firm but polite. We’re more of an aid than an enforcer.”
Score: US Open -4, The Open -2
It’s less tented village, more hamlet at Shinnecock Hills. Good things comes in small packages they say but, in comparison, it’s like a rock concert at The Open. When you’re packing tens of thousands of spectators in every day, bigger is definitely better.
You can take on the ‘epic putt’ at Shinnecock as Alex so nearly pulled off…
— National Club Golfer (@NCGmagazine) June 16, 2018
…but at The Open you can hit out a replica of the road hole bunker at St Andrews. It’s really no contest.
Score: US Open -4, The Open -3
There are plenty of bleachers dotted around Shinnecock Hills – enough to house around 12,000 fans. Plus most of them are bench-style rather than seats, which makes for a much more laid-back style of viewing golf.
But you just can’t beat those huge stands that surround the 18th at almost all Open venues – think the horseshoe stadium setup at Hoylake.
Need another reason? British golf fans vs. American golf fans.
Score: US Open -4, The Open -4
It was looking like the US Open was going to run away with it there, but The Open pulled it back with a couple of late birdies.
Both events were tied at 4-under, but The Open takes it in a sudden-death play-off for it’s all-round spectator experience.
The oldest, and still the best.