Scotland’s ST. ANDREWS On Sunday afternoon, 4-year-old Leonardo DeGiusti, who will celebrate his birthday on Monday, was having a grand time while perched atop his father’s shoulders and cheering on his favourite golfer, Rory McIlroy.
Come on, Rory! Leo sobbed when McIlroy walked down the first fairway during the 150th Open Championship final round.
One of the biggest stages in golf was set up on the brownish-green area in front of Leo. He could see the Swilcan Bridge on his left, the expansive 18th green on his right, and the first tee and elegant R&A clubhouse beyond that. One of the Open’s famous yellow scoreboards was perched atop a tall, crowded grandstand that was directly ahead, on the far side of the 18th and 1st fairways. This week, Rory McIlroy claimed he could see it from his hotel room window.
Little Leo’s parents, Mike and Kasey, didn’t spend even a cent on it, so it was natural that it was a priceless experience for him.
The DeGiustis were taking it all in from The Links, a public path that almost completely surrounds the 18th fairway. The route is divided by a wire fence during Open periods. The DeGiustis and other non-paying spectators, who may have either strolled from town to the Old Course with the intention of watching some of the action or were merely passing through on their way to another destination, populate the side away from the course. Regardless, The Links offers some of the best complimentary seats in all of sports.
Without a ticket, Mike asked, “Where else can you go where you can see the finishing hole or the finishing moments? You’re right there.”
There isn’t somewhere else since it is unique.
this year in particular.
It was difficult to find tickets for the historic 150th Open. For each round of the tournament, the R&A sold 52,000 passes, but these were soon snapped up via the R&A’s ballot system. As a result, there was tremendous demand on the secondary market, with scalpers charging well into the hundreds of dollars for a single ticket. This Open may have been more of a tale of the wealthy and the poor than any other.
The less fortunate know where to go on Sunday: Those Links
The DeGiustis had initially intended to stay in town and watch the final round at a pub until they learned that the majority of bars in this area don’t have TVs. Mike’s father Anthony was also with them.
We were hoping to be in a place where there would be a lot of excitement, where people would be drinking and cheering, but that isn’t the case, Mike remarked. Therefore, we arrived here earlier than anticipated.
They were at the proper place. The Links’ public area offers more than just a location to watch golf. It is a snapshot of everyday life in St. Andrews. Golf-related goods are sold in shops. clubs for the top of the community. The golf course at St. Andrews. The Rusacks Hotel, where a number of athletes—including McIlroy and Jordan Spieth—as well as many other famous people—including the Manning brothers—Peyton, Eli, and Cooper—who are part owners of the building—have been staying this week.
The Walden House is a luxurious bed and breakfast. The One Under Bar is an underground old-fashioned tavern; smart, huh? Fathers are teaching their sons the fundamentals of golf, along with mothers driving strollers and elderly couples walking their pets. (This is only one of the holes,” a father telling his little child while sporting a grey backpack. Everywhere, there are a lot of holes. Hundreds of fervent golf fans could also be seen gazing through and over the border fence on Sunday.
A former collegiate golfer at Randolph Macon University, Chuck Kinne and his wife Nicola were among them. They currently reside on Scotland’s west coast. The Kinnes were staying the weekend at the Kingsbarns vacation property owned by Nicola’s sister. Chuck was there at the Old Course in 2005 when Tiger Woods won the Open; he said that “on the 17th hole, you could reach out and touch Tiger, but you can’t get that close anymore,” but they were unable to get tickets this year.
Chuck and Nicola had eaten at The Adamson, a local brasserie-style eatery, for lunch before making their way to The Links in time to watch the final few pairings hit the course. Nicola claimed she had no idea that people could approach the course in such close proximity.
She remarked as she peered up the 18th fairway, “This is magnificent.” Absolutely incredible
“It offers folks an opportunity who can’t afford the four or five hundred quid to witness a tournament,” her husband continued.
Consider the teen pals from the adjacent Dundee, Cohen Millel and Ross Cuthbert. Cohen, who frequents the Links, was a supporter of McIlroy and planned his trip to coincide with the four-time major champion’s departure on his quest for major No. 5. Cohen’s mother joked that he and his friend hadn’t deliberately sought for tickets this year because “we’re saving up for next time.” They claimed that their trip to the Links was really just an alternative way to enjoy a Sunday afternoon.
Something to do, said Cohen.
The beauty of The Links is its laid-back atmosphere. No pressure, no tickets. As you please, come and go. Or simply don’t show up.
But guests, boarders, and VIPs were arriving at the residences that flank The Links. Why would you? The rooms and balconies on the second and third floors are similar to skyboxes at the Super Bowl, but more charming. You could see a set of porcelain Dalmatians on the mantel and a pair of antler chandeliers hanging from the ceiling at 15 The Links through the large bay windows. On the windowsill, a man was drinking beer. Life was good.
The international symbol for you’re-probably-not-getting-in-here was present at the Rusacks’ entrance: a security officer and a red velvet rope. The 1995 Golf Champion looked down on the action from the rooftop and waved to the crowd. Sir John Daly, indeed. Two older guys in coats and ties sipped glasses of red wine on the terrace overlooking the Old Course Shop up ahead.
The Links legion was bustling below, though, and that’s where the real fun was. New faces came and departed throughout the day as the audience grew and sightlines dwindled as the leaders approached the age of 18. McIlroy came at the home hole about 6:30 p.m. local time requiring an eagle to trigger a playoff with Cameron Smith. In a desperate attempt to catch a sight of the most well-known golfer, supporters crowded up against the fence. The shoulders of the kids’ parents were occupied. Above the crowd, a man wearing a dinosaur costume raised his selfie stick. Drunk people climbed a lamppost and got into a fight with policemen who were attempting to talk them down.
McIlroy’s attempt at an eagle, a chip from short left of the green, fell short. The crowd moaned. He also failed on a 20-foot birdie attempt. Added groans
But after that, they began to applaud and cheer for their man.
McIlroy commented on the enthusiastic support of the crowd after shooting a two-under-par 70 to finish alone in third. “They were extremely, really good, in my opinion. so encouraging to me. I wished I could have given them a bit more reason to be happy.
Nope, everything was ok. Not simply the admission fee gave the spectators on The Links cause for celebration.