Every few minutes, people had to remind themselves that it was pretty much of a miracle that the Open was happening at all, what with 50,000 new cases of COVID-19 being reported every day, the highest figure since January.
Yes, there were plenty of complaints from those, including the players, who had to adhere to so many rules. However, much of the improvisation that was taking place was going a long way towards balancing the ledger.
Take IMG, the management company.
Year after year, they have rented a house on the doorstep of the latest Open venue and invited their players for dinner every evening. Though that was out of the question this time around, what with the players having to stick to their individual bubbles, the regular cook, Jennie Thomas, was back at IMG’s Sandwich HQ to provide a first-class delivery service around the various properties in Sandwich.
Lasagna was on the menu, as was coq au vin, chili, cottage pie and pistachio-crusted salmon with mash.
And then there were the puddings. All the old favourites were on the list: banoffee pie, sticky toffee pudding and lemon tart, to name just three.
The mantra among the IMG players – they included such as Pádraig Harrington, Min Woo Lee and Francesco Molinari, the Open winner of 2018 who famously insisted that he would never have won but for Thomas’s fine pasta – was that the Open was no time for sticking to a diet:
“This year in particular, it’s a time to stay happy.”