Carnoustie’s legendary Championship course has won a special place in the affections of a young American player after a dream trip delivered by a US sporting charity.
After two open heart surgeries, 22-year-old Boston student Edward Johnson was selected by the Round Of A Lifetime Foundation to tee up at the 2018 Open Championship venue in an overseas first for the charitable organisation.
Each year the foundation selects someone to enjoy a round of golf at a world-famous course, which until now have all been across the pond.
Edward, who was born with a congenital heart condition, applied to the foundation in the hope of being selected and admitted he was stunned when the offer of the Scottish trip came out of the blue.
“I had almost forgotten about it and they then got in touch, said they wanted the trip to go to someone deserving and gave me a couple of choices in the US, before then mentioning Carnoustie.
“My last surgery was in 2010 and I will be having another one, but I don’t have any day-to-day limitations so I am super lucky in that respect, and it means I can enjoy my golf.”
Thanks to the money raised by the foundation, Edward, his father Ed, younger brother Henry and best pal Jack Bloom jetted into Edinburgh last week and enjoyed rounds at Kingsbarns, St Andrews Jubilee and Crail before Sunday afternoon’s tee off at the Angus course – where Francesco Molinari last year made history as the first Italian winner of the famous Claret Jug.
“The whole trip has been unbelievable and the weather just awesome for us,” said eight-handicapper Edward.
Links chief executive Michael Wells presented Edward with an engraved Carnoustie bag tag ahead of the group’s round, and the US guests savoured their memory of the experience over a meal in The Rookery restaurant overlooking the course.
Michael said: “All the team here at Carnoustie Golf Links are delighted to join forces with the Round Of A Lifetime Foundation to play a part in creating some very special memories for Edward and his family”
Dan Igo of the US foundation said: “The fact such a worthy candidate like Ed gets to play his round at such a historic course and golf’s greatest test in Carnoustie is truly a dream come true.”
Ahead of the Angus tee-off, Edward also met Neil Davidson, 35, a Carnoustie season ticket-holder who was also diagnosed with the same condition.
Neil said “I’ve never met anyone with the same condition as me and as I’m only down the road I thought what a great opportunity, so I came down to say hi and watch him tee off.”