MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

ONE can only imagine the sense of pride Ernie Els must have felt as he lifted the famous old Claret Jug in front of the clubhouse at Royal Lytham and St Annes on Sunday evening.

That iconic moment will go down in sporting history and his performance on the back nine, along with poor Adam Scott’s slip down the leaderboard, was truly remarkable.

“The Big Easy” wasn’t the only one feeling proud though.

Like many Fylde residents I was also beaming that Fylde was able to pull off such a terrific international event and pass the test with flying colours.

I spent three days at the Championships, missing the Friday to carry out a surgery, attend some important meetings and tend to a few things back at home in St Annes.

During my time out on the course, touring the marquees and in the clubhouse itself, I was made to feel truly welcome.

That, it seemed, was the case for our visitors from far and wide too, with many people I spoke to offering rave reviews for some local hotels, restaurants and pubs, as well as praising the way the transport network coped with the weight of traffic.

Things like that don’t happen automatically and there are many people that deserve a lot of credit.

Our local council, firstly, played a key role in all aspects of organising the tournament and, together with the R&A, can look back with on a job well done.

The club itself must also be very pleased with the week.

While I am no golf expert by any means I believe the course was very well received and produced a testing but not impossible challenge for the world’s best.

The volunteers, many of whom gave up their time for nothing to make sure the event ran smoothly, also deserve a lot of credit.

I saw some familiar faces giving up their time, including young people from local high schools, representing our borough with great poise.

And finally to everyone else involved, from the bin men to the bar staff, and from the hoteliers to the hospital staff who treated the poor young lad who took a ball on the head, a huge well done.

Fylde can look back on The Open with enormous pride. I hope it will be back soon.

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