Friday 23 August 2019

Even the weather can't put dampener on pitch-perfect Portrush's moment in sun

Portrush’s sandy terrain and natural drainage meant that there were few puddles despite yesterday’s downpour and there is a feeling that the soft but beautifully-manicured terrain will be just perfect. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Portrush’s sandy terrain and natural drainage meant that there were few puddles despite yesterday’s downpour and there is a feeling that the soft but beautifully-manicured terrain will be just perfect. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Jeremy Wilson

The man at the ice-cream kiosk delivered a rueful smile.

"It's been nice for a few days - but back to normal now," he said.

Trade, naturally, had eased yesterday amid the driving rain and blustery wind, even if Mr Whippy's loss was Lyle and Scott's gain.

The tournament shop, a temporary building the size of a small department store, was throbbing with golf fans eager not just to gather some form of souvenir from their trip to the far north of Northern Ireland, but also to make up for oversights in their packing.

Thermals, gilets, towels and waterproofs were all doing a swift trade but nothing was more sought-after than an umbrella.

For all the efforts that have been made both by R&A, and the staff at Royal Portrush, little can really mitigate how uniquely exposed golf spectators are to the elements.

The contrast with Carnoustie could hardly be more marked after last year's heatwave turned the fairways into virtual runways.

Portrush's sandy terrain and natural drainage meant that there were few puddles despite yesterday's downpour and there is a feeling that the soft but beautifully-manicured terrain will be just perfect.

Of far greater concern to the players is a wind that keeps changing direction and is forecast to get up towards 30kph today.

That will inform much club selection and, even amid the rain yesterday, Tiger Woods remained notably unmoved on the driving range in hitting long irons and trying to perfect drawing the ball from right to left.

Rajiv Prasad, who caddies for Japan's Yuta Ilkeda, says that more players will be reaching for their irons.

"We played a practice round yesterday and the wind was from the north side. Today it is south. It's an incredible difference - you have to be very patient."

And does the prospect of heavy intermittent showers make much difference?

"We don't mind the rain," said Prasad. "It means a few extra towels, a few extra gloves and his rainwear in the bag. The rest - clubs and footwear - are really the same even if it is a bit more work. I have to keep him dry as well as the clubs." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

The Left Wing: The 'hell' of World Cup training camp, Ireland's half-back dilemma and All Blacks uncertainty

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport