In the second greatest highlight of his golfing career (the greatest, of course, being meeting Jack Nicklaus), my dad, age 71, is finally taking part in the Open Golf Championship this year. OK, it's only as a course steward, but he reckons that kind of counts. Look out for him on the fifth hole every day this week. You can't miss him: he's the one who looks like Jim Rockford.
My dad and uncle and I attended one of the unofficial practice days on Monday. It's the closest thing we have to a Carter family tradition. We've gone to a practice day every year the Open Championship has been held in the North West of England since I was this high to Sam Snead. This year was extra special, because the Open has finally returned to the Royal Liverpool Golf Club on the Wirral—just down the road from where I was brought up.
You'll notice I'm not referring to it as the British Open, by the way. Dad's very particular about that: there's the US Open, and the Irish Open, and the Scottish Open, and so forth; but, when it comes to the British Open, the adjective is superfluous: there will only ever be one The Open. It's a bit like in soccer: so-called derby matches can happen in any locality, but, when you talk about The Derby, we know you mean Liverpool beating Everton.
The famous Open Championship Claret Jug is perhaps the most tasteful trophy in the whole of sport. Interestingly, I learnt from a display at Hoylake this week, there are two claret jugs: the genuine one (which resides at the British Golf Museum at St Andrew's), and the replica one that the championship winner is presented with and gets to keep for a year. As dad pointed out on Monday, surely that makes the replica trophy more genuine than the so-called genuine one. The British Golf Museum seems to agree: their website describes their claret jug as the replica.
Those golfers are crazy.
See also: My 2006 Open Championship photos