PGA.com Shop
PGA.com Golf Instrunction Video Series

Play Golf America...Your Link to the Game

Subscribe to RSS feed for NewsNews

Story Image
There was no mistaking who these youngsters were rooting for Thursday at Royal Birkdale. (Photo: Getty Images)

Spoor Blog: Missing an old friend who called to say 'cheers'

Print News

PGATOUR.com's Mark Spoor and his colleagues were looking forward to seeing their old friend they met last year in Carnoustie, but, sadly, it was not be. Still, Thursday was a very good day.

By Mark Spoor, PGATOUR.COM Coordinating Producer

SOUTHPORT, England -- We heard from Fraser on Thursday. Therefore, Thursday was a good day.

Some of you may recall my diaries about Fraser Gemmell and his family last year from Carnoustie. He was the general manager of Letham Grange Golf Club, a course on which was located near the house we all stayed in last year. Over the course of the week, we got to be great friends with him, his wife, Eileen, and their son Lewis. We watched Fraser get the best of a bat (as in Belfry), Eileen beat us in a putting competition, and 8-year-old Lewis recite 18th-centrury poetry, order a cheeseburger with a perfect American accent and beat me in a staring contest.

More Open Championship:
Pairings and Tee Times
Full Leaderboard
Course Statistics
Spoor Blog Archive: Mon. | Tues. | Wed. | Thurs.
News Archive

Over the past 12 months, we shared the occasional e-mail to catch up, and we always said that we'd meet up this year at Royal Birkdale.

Sadly, Fraser sent us an e-mail saying that his new job as general manager of Cawder Golf Club in Glasgow would prevent him from joining us this year:

Hello to all my Stateside friends,


Tragically I will not make it down to Birkdale. I have lots to put right here at Cawder Golf Club in Glasgow, and am busy going about this task. Would have loved to have been there this morning enjoying typical Scottish golf weather. Trust you will all have a great week and we will definitely meet up next year when The Open returns to Scotland (where it should be every year). Very, very best to you all.

Fraser

Mark. Had a staring competition with Lewis last night, and won.

Well done, my friend. Well done.

Some random observations after five days at the 137th Open Championship:

-- I've been amazed all week at the number of kids I've seen roaming the course. What's more, they're here for the golf, not because their father decided to take them along for the trip. They're into this. I've actually seen quite a few wearing t-shirts supporting their favorites (a lot of them love Sergio, with a smattering of Harrington fans. You have to wonder how many Tiger shirts we'd see if he were here). They seem knowledgeable, polite and engaged.

The next logical thought after seeing all of this is -- are we doing all we can to get kids to enjoy not just golf, but sports of all kinds in our country? Sure, kids in America play Little League and they play soccer in droves, among other things, but I don't see the passion that seems to be here amongst these kids in England. Perhaps it's playoff games that start at 9 p.m., contract negotiations, Xbox and so many other things -- and I'm sure that they have some of the same problems here in England. Still, it's been nice to see kids with a passion and respect for a sport like golf.

-- Peter Alliss is fantastic. Period. The guy could make the growing of grass sound interesting. I know a lot of people dismiss him as a guy who's stayed too long at the fair, but the gems that come out of this guy's mouth are hilarious. In case you've never heard him (which is doubtful, considering what Web site you're on), here's a sampling of Alliss quotes pulled together after a quick Google search:

"He used to be fairly indecisive, but now he's not so certain."

"You can do all those sorts of things. It's sort of mind games and a bit of fun. And if it all comes off, it's wonderful. And if it doesn't come off, you're stupid. It's as simple as that."

And my personal favorite ...

"The game lends itself to fantasies about our abilities."

Yes, it certainly does.

-- Rain doesn't bother people here like it does in the U.S. On Thursday morning, as I'm sure you're aware, it was coming down in sheets. Still, the crowds were out, the beer was flowing and nobody seemed the least bit down about it. Maybe it's the fact that it rains here nearly continually, but it just strikes you as funny.

-- I'm also amazed at how old, old buildings manage to keep their style around here. In America, we're so obsessed with urban renewal and the like that sometimes grand old buildings go by the wayside.

That may just be the Yankee fan in me.

©2008 The PGA of America / Ryder Cup limited / Turner Sports Interactive. All rights reserved.
Turner Entertainment Digital Network PGA.COM is part of Bleacher Report - Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network.