More From Spoor: The Monday diary of life at Carnoustie
In the first of a daily look at life at the Open Championship, Coordinating Producer Mark Spoor recounts the travails of his travels, why he should have brought golf clubs, and the mysteries of why some drinks taste better across the pond.
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland - You're never really prepared for an eight-hour plane ride. You may think you are. I mean, you can nap all day leading up to it, you can eat protein bars until they're coming out of your ears, you could even force yourself to watch reruns of Murder, She Wrote to get you nice and drowsy.
But you're never prepared.
It's a little like when you're forced to spend the night in the hospital. You know that you should sleep, but you can't because you're being woken up every couple of hours for something. First, it was someone telling us that the in-flight movie would be some film called Premonition, evidently some Sandra Bullock picture I'd never heard of. Then it was the flight attendants - who were great, by the way - coming through to ask if we wanted a beverage. Then, a short time later, they were asking again. Then dinner.
By the time we landed, I figure I'd gotten about three hours sleep, which is always great preparation to stand in line for an hour at customs.
You always hear about the whole "driving on the other side of the road" thing when you're preparing to go to the U.K., but until you see it, it never really sinks in. For at least the first ride, if you're a passenger, you constantly feel like you're about to be in a wreck. Just as you're contemplating ways to safely jump out of a moving car to get out of the situation, the beautiful Scottish countryside does its best to put you at ease.
After a couple of hours in the car, we reached the house we'll be staying at for the week. Breathtaking doesn't even begin to do it justice. It sits on the top of a hill in the middle of said countryside on a nearby golf course - unfortunately not Carnoustie. Ever since we reached the house Sunday afternoon, we've all been lamenting the fact that none of us chose to bring our golf clubs, so we've been trying to scam some, unsuccessfully up until now.
Once inside, we were left wondering what design magazine we'd just stepped into. I was truly afraid to touch anything.
Supermarkets are a little different in Scotland. Where we in America are used to having 97 different varieties of everything from shampoo to breakfast cereal, the Scottish markets are a bit more understated. In reality, it's quite a refreshing change. Once you get to the checkout counter, it's not a bad rush, either. After hearing our voices, our checkout girl wasted no time in telling us that one time she had gone camping in Texas.
Her impressions? It was hot - and that sleeping outside there probably wasn't the smartest idea.
Of course, beer is plentiful at the market, despite the fact we were shopping on a Sunday afternoon. We decided on some Guinness. If you're ever in Scotland, even if you're not a fan of Guinness in the states, try some there. It's much smoother and much tastier. Not really sure why that is, but it definitely is.
We visited Carnoustie briefly Sunday to grab our credentials for the week. It's exactly as you'd expect - historically imposing. All the roads around the course are roughly the width of a cart path - and two-way. A bit nerve-wracking. It almost appears as though the course was squeezed into the town.
We're looking forward to Monday, and getting a chance to really get to know Carnoustie, and maybe some nearby pubs.
Talk to you soon.