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US Open Diary

US Open
by Iain Carter (U7103772) 11 June 2008
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Andrew Cotter caddies for Gary Wolstenholme at Torrey Pines

We were walking the back nine when the text came. OíHair is out, Wolstenholme is in. This had implications.

The veteran amateur Gary Wolstenholme had no caddie arranged and 5 Live had said that if it came to it, we would help out.

BBC man caddie's for Wolstenholme

That meant either reporter Andrew Cotter or me taking on the bag duties.

In the end it came down to footwear. Cotter was the only one wearing caddie-issue trainers and they would need to be pressed into action for an afternoon practice tee time.

So we belted back from the 13th tee Ė we could not have been further from the clubhouse - to meet Wolstenholme and the deal was done. Cotter was hired.

Next, he went to register as a US Open caddie. He returned clutching a bag of freebie goodies that included everything from energy bars, towels, sun cream to nail clippers.

Then, having nearly forgotten his sunglasses, Cotter was off for the practice round donning a rather faded 2005 5 Live golf cap.

Cotter is emulating his brother Colin in caddying at a major championship. He has twice been a bagman at the Open and had a brief spell carrying Colin Montgomerieís bag.

It will be arduous work on this spectacular course. If you watch on television you wonít be able to fully appreciate the steep drops and climbs involved.

They are at their most severe on the 614-yard monster 13th where a new tee has been built close to the cliff edge, with the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop to this rollercoaster hole.

Phil Mickelson, who grew up on this course, hates this new tee. "Itís the biggest waste of money that Iíve ever seen. Itís terrible.

"Before there was a great risk and reward. Now from that back tee no one can reach it. Everybody is going to be laying up to the same spot and everybody is going to be hitting the same pitch.

"There is no opportunity for a guy who wants to take a little bit of a risk and try to get it to the green (in two) and be rewarded."

The approach to the green is steeply uphill and the target is a small plateau that will demand the utmost accuracy.

If you were asked to identify the lone Northern Ireland competitor here, you would be tempted to think of a Darren Clarke or a Graeme McDowell.

But in fact the America-based Chris Devlin is the only Ulster representative after coming through a US qualifier.

Devlin wants tough conditions this week. He said: "I hope the wind blows like hell. I want it to play as hard as it can possibly play. Itís the only chance Iíve got."

A survivor of open heart surgery, Devlin contrived to break his three wood on the range on the eve of the championship. It was on his second swing that the club broke at the hosel.

"It had nothing to do with my strength," Devlin said. "Iím just glad it happened here and not on the course."

It has been a big week for 20-year-old American Jordan Cox. Not only is he playing the US Open for the first time, he also got to practise with Tiger Woods and Bubba Watson.

"Tigerís hitting it great," Cox reported. "Bubaís not hitting it quite as good as Tiger, but close. Both of them made me feel really comfortable."

Coxís week isnít just all about golf. On Tuesday night he was doing a Stanford University communications exam online. It was a three-hour paper.

A far tougher examination waits for him and his 155 fellow competitors over the coming four days.

Latest 10 comments

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posted Jun 12, 2008

This is real ignorance.....

'how about the BBC invests in bringing more tournaments to free to air TV instead of the satellite channels getting so many after all this tournament is another they lost to Sky.'

Lost to Sky? How is it lost to Sky? When did the BBC have US Open coverage last?

Also, the BBC certainly aren't in a position to bid for more tournament golf. If there was a pay per view BBC sport channel then perhaps so, but they have a budget to play with.

They already show 2 majors on the BBC. Perhaps only fair that Sky have the other 2? I'm also not so sure how pleased the general public would be with yet more sport coverage on the BBC! Escpecially as the Euro championships are on at the moment!

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comment by Sagi16 (U12036797)

posted Jun 12, 2008

I'm friends with the guys who caddied for Gary in both the 2006 and 2008 US Open qualifying and as a result do not envy Andrew one bit !!

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posted Jun 12, 2008

What are the BBC doing there in the first place? The competition id not on the BBC so any comments posted on here or any articles written by the BBC staff could be done from the safety of headquarters. Utter waste of public funds sending people halfway round the world for no reason whatsoever

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posted Jun 12, 2008

Don't agree with the criticism associated with this article.

The US Open is an integral part of the golfing calendar and failure to cover it, and other leading US tournaments, would only result in the BBC's coverage being more parochial than it already is - a shame though that Ladies' tournaments don't receive the same attention.

As for Cotter caddying, that's great, and can only add to his journalistic experience. Good for him.

(Ken Brown's US Open "Preview" was utterly dire, an "F" for a ten year old with such drivel as "he's such a capable player and ruthless winning machine that you could never rule him out. He will probably still go in as favourite." Well, of course he will; hope Brown didn't get paid for that childish nonsense.)

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posted Jun 12, 2008


The US Open is on the BBC, just not the television arm. Radio 5 Live have regular updates and three or four hours live on Saturday and Sunday evenings. This necessitates our reporters at the course.

The website will carry live text commentary over the four days, though you will be pleased to hear myself and my colleague will be holed up in our Shepherd's Bush bunker.

Hope you enjoy the coverage.

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posted Jun 12, 2008

Kwini - just an ordinary pair of shoes - ok for work not good for caddying!
Wombat, phone was on silent - we needed it cos the call could have come at any time
And GJ my favourite Aussie - Go Scotty and show us what you're made of...
And to my good friend Andrew - best of luck mate.

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posted Jun 12, 2008

How do i become a 606 BBC golf reporter?

It sounds awesome, other than the abuse aimed at you after writing an article on here!!

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comment by POULTS (U1601195)

posted Jun 12, 2008

TO Rob Hodgetts - BBC Sport (U1654754)
How is the weather down in Shepherd's Bush

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comment by Golfbug (U1702519)

posted Jun 12, 2008

Kwini, it was his table tennis shoes he had on;)

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posted Jun 12, 2008

Great to see Gary get a start at the US Open, he's a true amateur golfer, a gentleman & a Walker Cup hero. Hope he and the last minute caddie enjoy the experience!

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