There is something calming about early mornings by the sea side watching the sea lap gently on the shore as the sun rises. Mind you the alarm going off at 4.15 had already shattered our inner calm.
A 5.30 a.m. start saw our happy crew wrapped up against an early morning chill; it wasn’t too long before we were shedding our layers as the morning just got warmer and warmer.
The mood of the players has also tightened up a bit more as this is the 1st make or break point of the Championship. Even Kenneth Ferrie was quiet.
The buggy team are working well, a very smooth operation is our shift – they are reluctant to take a break as each of them is ‘collecting’ players. It is all very disciplined though with just a couple of them breaking ranks and cutting in for their missing stars.
Kurt Barnes has joined the John Daley set by having outrageous trousers and, a la Daley, by having his close family wearing matching trousers/skirts.
At the risk of spoiling it for the few; one of the best spots for autographs is the other side of the fence from our buggy stop by the practise range a small group of polite young lads have been there collecting autographs. A bit difficult today, the very gracious and polite Phil Mickleson acknowledged very request but said the he was happy to sign after his round but not before. Others just walked past the lads.
Talking of young lads; we have been treated for a couple of hours per day to a young lad (about 8/9) practising his chipping with his Dad on the space between the 18th stand and the practise ground. Many players have commented on his ability.
We had noticed that for most of the morning The Open TV roving crew were hanging around near to the club house trying to get interviews of the players with minimal success. About 15 minutes before the end of our shift they approached our man at the front of the queue and they were passed progressively down the line until they arrived at me. “Hi I’m Sarah and I work for The Open TV. We would like to have one of your guys drive a camera down to the range and I will sit in the buggy following with you, Bill isn’t it, and ask you some questions about your week? The output (I thinks she meant the film) will be shown on Open TV on the hour every hour for the rest of the tournament.”
So to re-cap Sarah you want me to take out a quarter of the players’ buggies during a busy time of round 2 of The Open to do something that is outside of our role and without permission of the staff manager and then show it on TV every hour.’ I may never work at The Open again!!!! ‘I am from the R&A’ she threatened. That’s nice, say I.
The problem is compounded by my radio being down so I cannot get permission – but ever the helpful one I sent one of the new shift back to HQ for a view on this. The team sense stardom on the horizon and young Lawrence offers, ‘If nobody else wants to do it’ he says obligingly, to assume the role of the interviewee.
Paddy who is reading law steps in and offers to vet what Lawrence can and cannot say. ‘Oh and don’t forget your image rights’.
Happily, with a few provisos, word comes back telling us that we can go ahead. I tell Sarah that it won’t be me but Lawrence and his legal team doing the filming. I leave the scene to meet up with Sandy and Chris from Go Kart who are spending time at The Open.
I head back through the amazing crowds that are still pouring in, bearing in mind it is now past 11 a.m., to sign off for the day. At our hut, by the main entrance, the scene looking across the fields and car parks toward the road resembles a re-enactment of Rourke’s Drift. People are everywhere. The phone/camera depository is running out of plastic bags so we are all seconded to work on getting more ready.
I am sitting looking out of the door when I notice an ex work colleague, from a number of years ago, walking past. I shoot up and run through the door without thinking. ‘Roony, Roony’ I shout in greeting from a distance in my Scouse accent. Many heads in the vast crowd look round in anticipation including my old mate Roony and we were able to catch up on past times.
By the way, we were able to get to the bottom of Tom Lehman’s French friend. The buggy driver who had run him round looking for Tom mentioned it to him. Apparently, they had a loose arrangement which included meeting at a restaurant yesterday evening. They did manage to get together, happily.
Hopefully, my film star buggy driver will turn up for his shift tomorrow and not have gone all luvvie on us.