Our press officer at Fairmont St Andrews brings you all of the action from behind the scenes at the SSE Scottish Senior Open.
Who wears the trousers?
Barry Lane could be forgiven for feeling slightly outnumbered on Thursday. The Englishman wore tartan trews (trousers, to the non-Scots) when successfully defending this title last year, and he donned them again for a photo shoot when he was joined by eight of the leading home players in the field. Initially unsure whether to wear Scotland’s traditional check 12 months ago for fearing of upsetting the locals, Barry was encouraged to by his fellow pros and went on to card a closing round 66 to win by two shots. With Sam Torrance the last Scot to win the trophy back in 2006, the home challenge is keen to stop the run of English winners, with the past four titles having been won by a player from south of the border. While there was plenty of banter at the photo shoot, the Scots are keen to show Barry who really wears the tartan trousers this week.
There is a special guest watching over proceedings at this week’s tournament – Smudge, the resident dog at Fairmont St Andrews. The golden Labrador has free run of the hotel lobby, welcoming guests. When he isn’t taking a well-earned nap, that is. Smudge has been given the title of the hotel’s Official Canine Ambassador and sports a tartan neckerchief with a name badge and even his own email account. He is very much a member of the staff here and, judging by the number of pats he receives and photographs that are taken, he’s quite the attraction.
Torrance breaking the news
Sam Torrance helped design the course that bears his name here at Fairmont St Andrews and he will be as keen as anyone to do well here this week. The Scot, who was the last home winner of the title in 2006, feels under no extra pressure to perform and said his extensive inside knowledge of the course should help him as he knows where all the danger is. Sam is one of three former Ryder Cup Captains in the field, along with Ian Woosnam and Mark James, and inevitably with Medinah just over a month away, he was quizzed about the prospects of local favourite Paul Lawrie by the assembled media pack. It just so happened the José María Olazábal named three of his four Vice-Captains while the media were busy talking to Sam, who checked then sat down for a coffee and saw the news. The 2002 Captain returned to the journalists with a glint in his eye, and said: “You boys just missed a trick – I can’t believe you didn’t ask me about the Vice Captains”, thereby breaking the news to the journalists. Talk about turning the tables.