One of the highlights of our week at the Open Championship was the Association of Golf Writers Dinner on the Tuesday. Colin Montgomerie gave an excellent speech full of wit and self-deprecation and American Ryder Cup skipper Hal Sutton received a big ovation for having travelled from America to attend.
The Open itself was a wonderful occasion and the ISM house was proud to have played host to no less figures than Phil Mickelson and Mark Calcavecchia during the week. They enjoyed their visits along with many other competitors taking part in the world’s best championship.
For our players it was a case of so near, yet so far. I am convinced that Darren Clarke would have been involved at the sharp end all week but for the double bogey at the 18th during his first round. But he left Ayrshire unscarred by the experience and I believe it will have set up another strong finish to the season.
Darren has rarely struck the ball better throughout his career and he knows he must work on his short game if he is going to get into contention more often.
None of our camp left Troon with a bigger smile across his face than Lee Westwood. Fourth place meant a return to the world’s top 50 for the first time in two-and-a-half years. Lee showed that it is exactly where he deserves to be and I believe he will win something big before the end of the season.
It is interesting to see that his game has changed in that he has suddenly become a very good wind and links player. He has also earned enough already to secure his US Tour card and I am sure America would love to see more of him.
He and Darren also saw more of one another than usual last week because they stayed together for the first time at a British Open. They are becoming even better friends as time goes on and it will be good for both of them to be involved in a close and friendly rivalry once more.