DAY two. I played Carnoustie on Friday. This course is tough in terms of the beauty and quality of the course but it is also, quite literally, tough to beat.
Alan Hansen, my caddie Paul MacDonnell and myself had an adventurous journey up from St Andrews this morning. We left at 6.30 and got here three hours before our tee off. It wasn’t quite the start we were looking for. Another disappointment was that I had been paired up with Sir Bobby Charlton, a man I’ve always admired, but he wasn’t feeling well yesterday and decided to pull out of the tournament.
Earlier in the morning the wind and rain were torrential and I thought the world was going to end. When we got here I didn’t think we’d be playing but then, miraculously, the weather just changed and by the time we teed off it was pretty calm.
I felt my play was scruffy but overall it was all an enormous amount of fun playing with my pro partner Ross Fisher. Although our putting wasn’t great, we played okay and had a strong finish on the last three holes with the 17th standing out as my best of the day. This course is always in immaculate condition, the greens always run so well but if you hit a bad shot you get punished - that’s the beauty of Carnoustie. You very rarely get a lucky break but if you hit the ball well you can be rewarded and get a few good breaks. You always know it’s going to be difficult here but you just have to hang in there.
I was also keeping an eye on Tim Henman’s scoring. He’s a good pal and we play at the same golf club. He’s never made the cut in this event before and at the start of the week we were all pulling for him thinking it would be great if he could finally do it. However, when he started chirping up after a good first round on Thursday I started to change my mind. He always starts well on the first two days and then fades. I sometimes wonder if he’s religious because he doesn’t seem to like playing either golf or tennis on a Sunday.
On to Kingsbarns. Sitting with a team score of 8 under after two rounds, Ross and I probably have too much to do to make the cut but if we can get the putting going there’s always a chance. Let’s hope there’s some fireworks on the golf course in addition to the ones we’ll see at the Alfred Dunhill gala party on Saturday night.