After failing to qualify, Tom Lewis will
not get the chance to recreate his 2011
run at this year’s Open Championship.
No Open Championship
An Eye-Opener For Lewis
INVERNESS, SCOTLAND | Spectators at
Lytham will be looking in vain for Tom
Lewis, who created such a glorious stir
at Royal St George’s 12 months ago.
Lewis was a 21-year-old amateur when
he handed in a 65 to share the first-round lead with Thomas Bjorn on his
way to winning the silver medal.
Even though he proceeded to capture the 2011 Portugal Open in what
was only his third start as a professional, Lewis has failed to qualify for this
week’s Open. It hurts. So much so that
he is on his way to Portugal to practise
at the same Oceana Victoria Club where
he won that Tour title – and where he
won’t be tempted to watch TV.
“I’m not terribly unhappy at the way
things have happened,” he maintained.
“I’d won the British Boys’ at Royal St
George’s and the course suited me
down to the ground. Lytham is a lovely
course but it’s not my favourite. If I’d
made it this year, I’d probably have let
down the people who wanted to see me
playing well again.”
Lewis, who missed the cut at Castle
Stuart, has been telling himself that he
needed his game to take a dip.
“My life was too easy,” he explained.
“Up until last year I’d won at every level
and had everything on the proverbial
plate. Now, I need to work harder for
the standard I’m at. It’s been an ab-
solute eye-opener to see how good
everyone is out here.”
While competitors at Lytham will
almost certainly be battling wind and
rain, Lewis is hoping to make up ground
under the Portuguese sun. He is trying
to master the shorter, more body-driv-
en swing recommended by his current
coach, Butch Harmon.
There were a couple of instances last
week of players enjoying a reminder of
what it is to be a run-of-the-mill citizen:
In contrast to Phil Mickelson, who
flew into Inverness from Italy on a
private jet, Ernie Els used an Easy Jet
flight from London costing £150. On a
slightly different tack, Martin Kaymer
spent last Monday afternoon doing his
“What we’re doing,” said Kaymer of life
at the top of the professional game, “isn’t
normal – and I don’t want to lose touch
with being normal. You see it happen in
sport. You get some players who lose their
heads when they earn a lot of money.”
There are plenty of club golfers
who won’t want to hear as much but,
according to Kaymer, cutting lawns
and hedges is a good way to prepare
for competition. “Very therapeutic,” he
advised, before backing up his claim
by following an opening 67 with a 68 in
which he turned in 31.
After adding a 64 to his opening 73 to
make the cut with room to spare, Mickel-
son said he wanted the weekend weather
to take a turn for the worse. “I’ve been
almost disappointed with these beautiful
conditions,” he said, “I want to be playing
in the kind of wind and rain I’ve heard
we’re going to get next week.”
His wishes did not exactly tally with
those of a nation who have had more
than their fill of grey skies and floods.
JULY 16, 2012
INVERNESS, SCOTLAND | If Luke Donald is having a couple of glasses of wine
with his dinner this week and enjoying
the odd beer, it could be the best of signs.
It was Pat Goss, Donald’s coach of
15 years, who suggested that this could
be the best way for the world No. 1.
“Luke,” said Goss, “plays better when
he doesn’t expect too much. He needs
to trust in himself and to surround him-
self with people he enjoys.”
It is probably only Donald’s inner
circle who have been able to identify
the signs of tension in the player in the
days prior to a major.
At the US Open, for instance, Goss
picked up on how he was oddly short on
patience when he hit a bad shot on the
Donald, who missed the cut at Royal St
George’s last year after winning at Castle
Stuart, appreciates all of the above.
“I’ve realised,” he said, “that I do
get a little more anxious, a little more
uptight – and that I’ve got to control it.
That’s going to be the priority. I’m going
to go out there and try to play with more
freedom and more fun. Hopefully, that’s
the key to getting off to a better start.
“And once I get off to a better start, I
feel like I’m going to be there and have
He chuckles when people ask if he
is fed up with being told that Lytham, a
thinking man’s course, is made for him.
Not for the first time, he explained (pa-
tiently, you will be pleased to hear), that
he has known success on every type of
course – long, short, wide and narrow.
Mickelson lifted himself well and truly
into the reckoning with a 65.
There have Scottish Opens in the
past where the American was there in
person but not in spirit; his thoughts
had raced ahead to the Open. This time,
though, he was clearly taking it, so to
speak, a tournament at a time.