The 143rd Open Championship comes ever closer, and who better to give listeners a preview of this year’s championship than Royal Liverpool Golf Club’s Head Professional, John Heggarty, who joins Golf Connections host Mitch Laurance for a special “Open Championship Month” edition.
Mitch begins the show by thanking Golf Connections’ partners, Golf History with Peter Allis iPad app, BogeyTeesOff.com, and the Myrtle Beach Golf App, and gives listeners a bit of history on Royal Liverpool, and the champions, professional and amateur, that have won there. He then introduces John, noting that John has been the Head Pro at Hoylake since age 23, and talks to him about his own beginnings in the game as a child, and his first Head Pro job at historic Wirral Ladies Golf Club, the first club designed specifically for women, in 1894. Mitch and John then discuss getting the Head Pro position, John’s feelings about the history of Hoylake, and the different times that the Club has experienced over his 27 years as its leader.
Mitch then asks about the 2006 Open Championship and Tiger Woods’ victory, and about John’s memories of that week. John details the changing conditions at Hoylake that year, talks about Phil Mickelson’s trips pre-Open and how different the conditions were leading up to the Open. He talks about the eventual conditions in 2006, how firm and fast the course played for the Open, and how challenging the conditions were for the R&A in keeping the course playable. John’s memories are clearly fond ones of that 2006 week.
Mitch then asks about the course conditions this year, and John describes conditions two weeks out from the Open. It’s a great preview of what the players can expect when they arrive at Royal Liverpool. Mitch and John discuss the importance of the US Open at Pinehurst #2 and the connection to links golf in the UK. John gives his thoughts on #2, and how the course compares to Hoylake. He explains how the green complexes are different at Royal Liverpool and #2, and offers his opinion on why Hoylake will be more of a true links test.
Mitch then asks about John and the Club in preparation for the Open, and John details the work necessary to ready the course for the Open. Listen for an inside look at how members and John and his staff will deal with the Open, the different nature of the weeks of the Open for all involved. Mitch closes the interview by asking John about the 2012 Women’s Open at Hoylake, as preparation for this year’s event. John recalls that historic win by Jiyai Shin.
Mitch thanks John for all he does for the game, and for sharing his thoughts on the 2014 Open Championship, and reminds listeners that Golf Connections is produced and broadcast by the Zeus Radio Network for TheGolfDirector.com.