Musselburgh Old Links 2005 - Carnoustie Championship Links 2015
2015. The tenth anniversary of the World Hickory Open, which began life on the old Musselburgh links, back in October, 2005. I remember wondering, at the time, whether or not this was just going to be a flash in the pan. A one-off wonder, prompting a few column inches in the local papers and maybe a mention in despatches from the local Tourist Board, anxious to seize on any opportunity to promote the local brand.
How wrong could you be ?
2014 World Hickory Champion - Sandy Lyle.
Ten years on and we can all look back on what I believe to have been a period of significant and sustained growth, not just of the Open itself but also of genuine interest in the hickory game.
Back in those days, there were perhaps no more than a handful of hickory contests. Some in the US, one or two in Scandinavia, a calendar of ‘members only’ competitions for the British Golf Collectors Society and the odd freak show, more a fancy-dress party than a game of golf.
Wind the clock forwards and there are now hickory tournaments in throughout Europe and America. More are shortly to follow in the Far East. Unlike the wider world of golf, where take-up now seems to be falling off, the hickory sport is growing. The international hickory tournaments are now an established tradition and although there’s been no census, as such, hickory activity on the internet suggests an army of several thousand golfing souls taking an active interest in the game.
OK, so it’s never going to rival the PGA tours but, from little more than a standing start, in a comparatively short time, the hickory game has blossomed and there can be little doubt that it is very much here to stay. And, if the World Hickory Open has played some small part in that success, then we are proud to have done so.
Ten years ago, some thirty-five golfers lined up on the first tee at Musselburgh. The oldest, if one of the smallest, playing surfaces in the world. A humble beginning, perhaps, but a noble one, for it was to prove to be the acorn that grew into an oak. And next year, celebrating its tenth birthday, it now seems somehow appropriate that the Open should do so in style.
And it will. From the oldest course in the world, we now find ourselves moving to one of the most prestigious and with players joining us from all over the world, the World Hickory Open has finally come of age.
In 2015, please join us on the Championship Course, Carnoustie. Lionel Freedman, October,2014. Unlike 2012 there was never much likelihood of a sudden death play off in 2014 which shows why many online bookmakers in the U.K. did not consider taking bets on it.