Last night’s events in Nice were on the minds of many of the players at Royal Troon as they set out on their second round of the 145th Open Championship.
Frenchman Clement Sordet, who was part of the first group to tee off, revealed he lives just 500 metres from the scene of last night’s devastation.
The 23-year-old golfer, making his Open debut this year, headed out to the first tee at 6.30am with a handwritten message on the skip of his white cap. It read: Pray For Nice, while a black ribbon was pinned nearby.
The mark of respect comes after a truck was driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in the French city, with at least 84 people killed and dozens more injured.
Speaking after he carded a second successive four-over-par round of 75, to rule out any hopes of making the cut, he said he woke at 4am to a number of text messages from people checking he was safe, unaware that he is currently in Scotland.
But the fact that his girlfriend Marie and members of her family and friends had all been enjoying the celebrations in the city he will return to in a scheduled break from competition, in three weeks, magnified the impact of the latest atrocity to assail his homeland.
“My girlfriend is from Nice, and she has family there. It was a big party last night because it was the 14th of July, so we had a bunch of friends and my girlfriend’s mum. They’re safe now, so everything’s okay. But I feel really bad for all of the other guys.”
One of the biggest cities in France, the Riviera resort, is the latest scene of tragedy in a country that has been the focus for terrorist attacks in the recent past and Sordet, who said he had tried to push thoughts of what was happening in France to the back of his mind while he completed his round, said that they needed to be strong in the face of such adversity.
“I’m really proud to be French, and I think we all need to support each other, and that’s about it. I say my prayers.”
The events in Nice are on the minds of many of the players at Royal Troon and Sordet isn’t the only player showing solidarity with the French people. Several competitors and caddies have donned the black ribbons, which the R & A have made available to those wishing to pay tribute to the victims, while the French Tricolour is notable amongst the flags of all the competing nations which fly proudly at the back of the grandstands, lowered to half-mast as the golf world shares in France’s mourning.