A NAKED photoshoot, tattoos including one quoting Shakespeare and dangly crucifix earrings. Carly Booth did not need to wear her pretty pink outfit to add some colour to the sea of sponsors’ red around the Old Course.
Unsurprisingly, it did not take long in the Comrie woman’s pre-event press conference – she was a late addition to the interview schedule after coming through a play-off in the Kingsbarns qualifier earlier in the week – for the line of questions to turn away from golf.
Her appearance in ESPN’s Body Issue magazine was soon raised, with Booth being asked if she’d had to think long and hard before deciding to appear in such a high-profile publication.
“I got asked roughly this time last year during the British at Royal Liverpool,” she replied. “It did take me a while to decide if it was something I wanted to do or not.
“Then I looked into it more and saw the type of athletes that had already done it and how well they actually do it and I thought it was actually a great honour to be asked.
“I decided that, ‘yeah, why not do something different’ and then I realised that Gary Player was doing it, which I thought was really great.”
Had she received any negative reaction from fellow players for glamorising the sport, where competitors want to be judged as sportswomen? “Not to my face,” she added. “I think everyone found it pretty positive overall. I received a lot of comments about how great it was and people said they liked the pictures.”
Even her dad Wally, who once worked as a bodyguard at the Cavern Club and a minder for the Beatles before becoming a Commonwealth Games silver medallist wrestling champion?
“Well, he’s like, oh, I didn’t realise you had another tattoo,” she said, laughing, of his initial reaction to seeing the photographs.
“I’ve had one on my foot for a long time but wouldn’t go anywhere without socks on in the house. I think he saw it a few times and said, ‘what’s that on your foot?’ I’m like, ‘it’s a sticker’, and I’m sure he believed that for about two years.”
It would take a big sticker to try to hide the one that Booth has since had added to her right hip.
“It’s not that new but the one you obviously see in the photos says, ‘It’s not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves’. It’s Shakespeare,” she said of it.
As for the earrings, it was pointed out to Booth that Paula Creamer once had to discard a similar pair because they were tangling with her hair in her backswing.
“Will you be wearing those to play in?” she was asked. “Most likely,” she replied. “And have you worn them before?” “Many times,” added Booth with another smile.
On golf matters, the Scottish Ladies’ Open champion spoke of her delight at joining Catriona Matthew in the field but confessed it was a “shame” they were the only two home players setting out today.
“It’s great to be here, especially St Andrews, and I’m really looking forward to this week,” said Booth. “I love the Old Course. It’s the widest first hole you’ll ever play and it’s the most nervous shot you’ll ever hit.
“But I’ve played this course many times. We had the Curtis Cup here in 2008 and I played a number of St Rule Trophy events.
“The last time I played here, I came second in the St Rule, while I think one of the first times playing here I actually shot seven-under, so that was a good first memory.”
Since winning twice on the Ladies European Tour last season, the young Scot hasn’t been able to kick on as well as she’d have liked.
Her long-term goal is to have a crack at the LPGA Tour but, after missing the cut in last month’s US Women’s Open at Sebonack, she knows there’s still work to be done.
“The nerves definitely got the best of me in the first nine holes in the US Open,” she admitted.
“But, with the British Open, I had my first experience last year at Royal Liverpool and I definitely think it’s going to make me stronger this week than going into the US Open.
“It’s about trusting my golf swing and believing that I’m good enough to be here and that I can score really low and play positively. So that’s what I’m going to try and do this week.”