Richie Ramsay’s opening tee shot in The Open at Royal Troon today was his first of the week on the Ayrshire course, having fallen ill after claiming a last-gasp spot in the event.
The Edinburgh-based player spent most of Tuesday being sick and still wasn’t up to playing a practice round yesterday, when he had to be content with a walk around the course.
“I haven’t been sick today so that’s a bonus,” reported Ramsay afterwards. “Yesterday I was throwing up almost the whole day. I got meds last night and I am feeling much better today. I walked the course, I haven’t played it as I need to rest up.”
Ramsay, one of six Scots in the 156-strong field, secured his spot in the Claret Jug event by claiming one of the four spots up for grabs in last week’s Scottish Open qualifier at Castle Stuart.
Making his sixth appearance in the game’s oldest major, he headed out early in today’s opening round alongside Kiwi Danny Lee and American Harris English.
“I feel my game is in a really good place at the minute, so I just need to conserve my energy to make sure I am ready for tomorrow,” added the three-time European Tour winner.
“Everything is fine, I will just do a bit of putting and get as ready as I can. It obviously is not ideal preparation, but I can’t do anything about it.
“I have got to make the best of a bad situation rather than worrying about what I can’t help. I just have to crack on. I know what I have to do on the course, it is just a matter of going out there and doing it.
“I have a good draw as I’m out early. Hopefully I will get out there before the wind gets up and post a good score.”
According to former champion Sandy Lyle, another Edinburgh-based player, Lee Westwood, has the length to give on-form Dustin Johnson a run for his money over the next four days.
“The momentum of Dustin Johnson has to be looked at because he’s such a powerful hitter and he’s driving the ball so well,” said Lyle of the new US Open champion.
“He can take it easy for the first nine holes and just hit irons off the tee yet still have wedges into the greens. But Westy can get it out there, too.”
Lyle, ranked the outsider in the 145th Open at average odds of 2500-1, added: “There’s a lot of good players out there who could win. You used to always narrow it down to 10 or 15 players but this week you could go as high as 50 players this week who could pull this off.
“Louis Oosthuizen is a great links player, Justin Rose has had a quiet spell but he works hard behind the scenes. Martin Kaymer, Jordan Spieth, you could go on and on. It’s endless.”
Meanwhile, Lothians golfer Catriona Matthew has been tipped as possible medal winner after securing her place in Team GB for next month’s Olympics in Rio.
The 46-year-old from North Berwick will compete in the women’s event in Brazil on August 11-14 along with English star Charley Hull.
The duo earned their coveted spots off the world rankings and will join Masters champion Danny Willett and Justin Rose in flying the Team GB flag on the golf course.
“I’m delighted to have made the GB Olympic team and cannot wait to go to Rio,” admitted Matthew as she looked forward to golf making its return to the Games for the first time since 1904.
“Ever since golf made it into the Olympics it’s been an aim of mine to make the team and I’m both happy and relieved that I’ve been included.
“I’ve heard the course is fantastic and so I’m excited to get down there and represent my country alongside Charley, Danny and Justin.”
According to Mike Hay, an Olympic gold medal coach in the past and part of the Team GB back-room staff for these Games, Matthew is heading to Rio with a strong medal chance.
“I know the four golfers who are going to represent Great Britain are excited about the prospect of playing in Rio itself, and playing for team GB,” he said. “And, in Justin, Danny, Charley, and Catriona, we have a hugely talented and experienced team who all have the capability, we believe, of winning and challenging for medals in Rio.”
Matthew is among 250 Team GB athletes announced for Rio with the track and field and Rugby Sevens teams still to be finalised. “We are planning or projecting a team of around 350-360 athletes going to Rio. That will represent the biggest team we’ve taken to an away Games in quarter of a century,” added Hay.