The Open 2014

13th-20th July

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Woosie's woe

Unique Lytham layout played part in Woosnam's 2001 agony

Last Updated: 08/07/12 8:00pm

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2001: Woosnam reacts to the news that he has 15 clubs in his bag

2001: Woosnam reacts to the news that he has 15 clubs in his bag

David Duval won the last Open to be played at Royal Lytham but many will remember the 2001 championship for Ian Woosnam's infamous 15th club.

Woosie, the joint overnight leader, had just tapped in for birdie on the opening green when caddie Miles Byrne uttered words that will go down in golf history: "You're going to go ballistic," Byrne told his boss. "We have two drivers in the bag."

It meant a two-stroke penalty for carrying 15 clubs, one more than allowed, and although the Welshman battled on bravely to finsh third, he never made up the lost ground and there remained a huge feeling of what might have been.

"I felt like I'd been kicked in the teeth," said Woosnam.

"I had been practising with two drivers on the range and I think Miles thought somebody else had taken the other one back to the van.

"But they hadn't. It is the ultimate sin for a caddie and I'm sure he feels as sick as a parrot about it.

"I suppose I could have checked myself, but that's what you pay a caddie for. It is the biggest mistake he will ever make, that's for sure."


As well as dealing a huge blow to his hopes of winning the Claret Jug, it also cost him a ninth successive Ryder Cup cap and, 43 by then, he never played in the match again.

Nor did he ever win The Open.

Byrne, perhaps surprisingly, lived to fight another day as Woosnam's bag-man - but not many more.

Two weeks later he was late arriving for the final round of the Scandinavian Masters and was fired. He turned to the building trade instead.

What had really counted against Woosnam was that Lytham, uniquely of the Open courses, starts with a par three.

If he had needed a driver it would have been more obvious that there was more than one there.

Previously players were reminded by officials on the tee to check they had no more than 14 clubs, but things were different that summer.

European Tour chief referee John Paramor said: "The R&A (Royal and Ancient Club, organisers of the Open) specifically asked us not to because in previous years some of the referees had been teased by the players or made to feel stupid for even asking such a question."

Perhaps a picture of Woosnam and Byrne ought to be on display somewhere near the first tee, however, as the event returns to the scene of the crime.

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