RAY Romano, the star of Everybody Loves Raymond, has played the Old Course as part of the pro-celebrity Alfred Dunhill Links, and yesterday he played a role in helping relax Marc Warren during his bid to achieve the Holy Grail of becoming a first Scottish Open winner at the home of golf in 105 years.
Once one of the world’s most popular sitcoms, the American show ended almost a decade ago but continues its afterlife in the early morning schedules and the 34-year-old Glaswegian found some escape in Long Island during the long wait to get his second round under way during yesterday morning’s three-hour, 14 minutes rain interruption.
Warren explained: “During the delay, I went back inside, sat in the players’ lounge again for about 45 minutes, and then I ended up actually going to the car, watched a bit of TV and ended up falling asleep, kind of dozing on and off. Everybody Loves Raymond was on Channel 4 and I was just watching whatever was on.”
The unorthodox preparation worked as Warren went on to shoot a 69 that took him to seven-under for the tournament. As one of the highest-placed early starters when play did get under way, he found himself featuring on TV a bit more too, following Thursday’s excellent opening 68.
Warren was the focus of a large following and vocal support from the grandstands as the home crowd sensed another promising round for the Scot developing after three birdies in the first seven holes.
“The crowds were incredible today – a big difference to yesterday,” said Warren. “I don’t know if that was the difference when we teed off or just in attendance, but every hole seemed to be lined and a lot of great support out there.”
He may have been attired in bright purple, but the world No 56 is viewed by some as a dark horse following a performance in the Scottish Open at Gullane last weekend that got better with every round, backed up by Thursday’s solid opening here. After coming close at the 16th, one voice behind the ropes was heard to mutter: “He’s playing really well, but I wish a few more birdies would drop because I stuck 50 quid on him this morning.”
Another birdie did drop at the 18th and Warren himself was satisfied with his three-under 69 which took him to seven-under for the title.
He added: “I think I’m pretty chilled out most of the time but a couple of times today I allowed myself to look at the leaderboard when kind of I joined the lead with a couple other guys, and just tried to soak up that moment. It doesn’t happen every day and I just tried to enjoy that my name was there.”
Richie Ramsay was another Scot who went out soon after play resumed and, after bettering his opening 72 by a shot to sit one-under, was still reeling from the early monsoon. The Aberdonian said: “I’ve never seen sort of rain like that, especially on the east coast. West coast I’ve seen it before, but east coast, nothing like that.”
Ramsay has no qualms about facing even more challenging conditions today and added: “If there’s high winds coming, I think that plays into my hands, big time. I missed an opportunity today. If I get a second one by teeing off making the cut, then I don’t plan to miss that opportunity again.”
Stephen Gallacher’s Open was ended after a second successive one-over round and the Ryder Cup player said: “I’ve played great the last two weeks but my stats are telling me the putting is the problem.”
Gallacher revealed he will now pay a visit to American putting guru Dave Stockton, heading across the Atlantic a couple of weeks early ahead of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational and USPGA Championship.
Open debutant Russell Knox followed up his opening level-par round with a two-over 74, while Sandy Lyle’s 40th appearance in the championship ended with a 76 that took him to three over.
After posting his best opening round in the tournament for 11 years on Thursday with a one-under 71, the champion of 30 years ago was two-under when he reached the ninth hole but four straight bogeys knocked him off his stride. He did, however, enjoy a fitting birdie at the last.