OC­TO­BER 2018 / IS­SUE 11 / VOL 59

Golf World (UK) - - FROM THE EDITOR - Nick Wright, Ed­i­tor nick.jwright@bauer­me­ @nick­jameswright

‘After an at-times far­ci­cal US Open, golf needed an ex­cit­ing, well-run Open... but a vul­ner­a­ble Carnoustie needed it more’

As it al­ways does, Carnoustie de­liv­ered a drama-laden Open Cham­pi­onship, a leader­board packed with star names and a great and wor­thy win­ner.

As he has done all year, Francesco Moli­nari played in­cred­i­bly con­sis­tent golf over the four days and thor­oughly de­served his vic­tory. Play­ing the fi­nal two rounds with­out drop­ping a shot has to be one of the great­est achieve­ments in ma­jor his­tory. Go­ing bo­gey-free round Carnoustie is im­pres­sive at the best of times, but Moli­nari did it while cop­ing with all of the ex­tra hus­tle, bus­tle and fan­fare that comes with play­ing along­side Tiger Woods. On nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions dur­ing the fi­nal round, the Ital­ian had to putt out while fans stam­peded to the next hole to get in po­si­tion to see his more il­lus­tri­ous part­ner tee off. Never once did Moli­nari look flus­tered, frus­trated or show any signs of ag­i­ta­tion. Be­sides great ball-strik­ing, a tidy short game and solid putting, his vic­tory was a mas­ter­class in com­po­sure.

De­spite the un­usu­ally dry sum­mer and ad­verse weather con­di­tions, Carnoustie was pre­sented in fan­tas­tic con­di­tion through­out the week. Al­though there was plenty of dis­cus­sion and de­bate on­line and on so­cial me­dia about the state of the hard, run­ning brown fair­ways, hardly a sin­gle neg­a­tive word about the course set-up was ut­tered by the play­ers. One would have to say that, from a purely golf­ing per­spec­tive, the 2018 Open was very suc­cess­ful.

That said, Carnoustie’s sta­tus as an Open venue is far from cer­tain. Like any ma­jor sport­ing event these days, the Open Cham­pi­onship is big busi­ness and has the po­ten­tial to gen­er­ate huge rev­enues. Head­ing into the week, there were ru­mours the R&A had given Carnoustie the ul­ti­ma­tum of de­liv­er­ing a record-break­ing at­ten­dance or risk los­ing its slot on the rota. While the R&A has not pub­licly com­mented on the topic, it is well known that at­ten­dances at Carnoustie are some­what lower than at other, more ac­ces­si­ble and ar­guably more aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing Open links. Carnoustie at­tracted around 170,000 fans dur­ing the week; a St An­drews Open will see 250,000 come through the turn­stiles. From a ticket, food and bev­er­age and mer­chan­dis­ing rev­enue per­spec­tive, that’s a short­fall of at least £10 mil­lion. At a time when golf needs as much fi­nan­cial sup­port as pos­si­ble from the game’s govern­ing body to help fund par­tic­i­pa­tion ini­tia­tives and growth pro­grams across the coun­try, rev­enues from the Open are more im­por­tant than ever.

A Tiger Woods or Rory McIl­roy vic­tory might well have sealed the deal for Carnoustie; but hope­fully hav­ing so many of the world’s top play­ers in con­tention will have de­liv­ered the at­ten­dance and, in turn, the rev­enues the R&A will have wanted from the week. For ev­ery­thing that Carnoustie has brought and con­tin­ues to bring to the ta­ble, it de­serves a per­ma­nent place on the Open rota.

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