There’s more than one way to watch The Open whether it be as a spectator, volunteer or referee.
But for sports writers and journalists, much of the week can actually be spent watching the tournament on scoreboards and big screens within the confines of the media centre rather than out on the course.
Hundreds of journalists have been accredited for this year’s Open ranging from local, regional and national British newspapers to international golf monthlies, and all the major broadcasters.
The ground floor of the giant double-decker media centre which has been erected in the Bruce Embankment car park, next to the British Golf Museum, is lined with rows of desks with plugs, ISDN lines and wi fi access points.
Every accredited journalist has a pre-allocated desk. The Courier is in row C, seats 12 and 13 sandwiched between our Aberdeen cousins the Press and Journal and the Scottish Sun. They are a friendly bunch. I’ve only been here five minutes when a gentleman from the Surrey Advertiser introduces himself and stops by for a chat.
Giant screens on the far wall display live coverage of press conferences from the adjoining interview room or show pre-recorded videos of past champions reliving their glory days. Another screen lists the practice round times. On championship days, live coverage of the battles being fought across the course will be shown.
At the back of the hall, transcribed press releases from recent press conferences are stored on racks.
The tent is also manned by IT staff, on standby to tackle the inevitable gremlins which crop up for the plethora of laptops arriving from across the globe.
Meanwhile, the centre’s reception staff help with general queries and to dish out new arrivals with their media welcome packs. This year’s freebies include an Open tie and tie pin, a Ralph Lauren Open baseball cap and the obligatory Open media guide.
Journalists are also issued with an ID and media caf card which have been preloaded with a £30 a day limit for free food.
That’s one way to avoid paying £8.50 for a fish supper being charged out on the course!