Jul
16
2011
The Fans Reigned at Royal St. George’s
By Stephanie Wei under British Open

The British love them some golf!

Quote of the day comes from Paul Lawrie, who teed off early on Saturday and bore the brunt of the terrible conditions: “I said to the crowd at the 15th, there was about 40 or 50 walking around, ‘You’re just mental. Just mental.’ I just don’t understand that at all. I’m getting paid. I’ve got to be there, but it’s part of the game.”

Wait, he’s got more good lines!

“I think we went through six or seven gloves and four or five towels,” said Lawrie after shooting 81. “It’s just outrageous. It’s brutal. Tom Watson is one-under out there after 10 holes. It’s frightening, ridiculous. I didn’t play very good, but the conditions were awful.

“I’m sure there will be loads of people today in the 80s. 76, 77 is a hell of a score out there today.”

Well, until the storm stopped and the sun came out for the folks in the afternoon.

Back to the great fans — I spoke to some today as they headed for the exits or stood in the rain. Here’s an excerpt from my article over at Golf.com:

“Because we’re stupid,” Ferguson said half-jokingly. “We could do with it being a bit of a dry off.”

As the final pair of Darren Clarke and Lucas Glover prepared to tee off, Andrew East, Ian Farminer and his sons Matt and Mark Farminer had just left the Bollinger Tent to grab a spot along the first fairway to watch.

Asked why they chose to stay, East quipped, “We wanted to get wet and drink champagne. We’re just happy and social people.”

The four men from Guilford, Surrey, weren’t going to miss the golf, no matter what. While they drove about an hour and a half, Royal St. George’s is considered their local Open since the others on the circuit are in Scotland or further north.

And despite the miserable conditions, they all agreed it was well worth it.

“For Americans, they’re used to playing what we call target golf,” said Ian Farminer. “In this country, you have to put up with this all day and every day. We’re getting to watch the best golfers in the world try to cope with these conditions.

“It’s fantastic. They’re trying to maneuver the ball and things they wouldn’t normally do because of the conditions.”

Mark Farminer was responsible for dragging the group out of the Bollinger tent.

“We love our golf, and we’d rather be in the rain watching golf than sitting down, doing nothing,” he said. “We had a bit of drinking, and then we come back out to get drenched.

“This weather is what makes this championship quite special, actually. It makes it different than anything else.”

Read the full entry here.

(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)