There’s so much money swilling around at The Open, you could cut this very sentence out of the paper, take it to the bank and get it cashed.

A record prize fund of $16.5 million is on offer in the 151st championship here at Hoylake and everybody trots off with something.

“I’ve looked at how much you get if you make the cut and I’ve also looked at last place,” said Scotsman Graeme Robertson with a chuckle as he mulled over the financial fillip that will come his way regardless of what happens on the links.

If Robertson manages to qualify for the closing 36-holes, he’d be guaranteed at least $32,000. And if he doesn’t make the weekend, he’d still earn a minimum of $8,500.

“I’d say my biggest cheque as a pro has been £2,000 to £3,000 so I’m quids in,” said the 35-year-old from Falkirk, who earns his corn as a teaching pro while supplementing his income with competition on the domestic PGA circuit and Paul Lawrie’s Tartan Pro Tour. “It’s a free hit for me this week.”

Robertson secured a debut in The Open at the final qualifying shoot-out a couple of weeks ago where he emerged triumphant at the fifth play-off. All of a sudden, a major championship was getting scribbled into his diary.

“After you qualify, you get the player portal to log into and it said to click for accommodation,” explained Robertson. “That led me to think ‘my accommodation is covered, that’s brilliant’. But then I discovered the cheapest room was £350 a night and it was a minimum of seven nights stay. There was no chance of me paying that so we are staying in a much cheaper place in Liverpool.”

Robertson, who enjoyed a fine amateur career but only turned pro a couple of years ago after stepping away from golf to support his family, is revelling in the whole Open atmosphere.

Had he not qualified for this week’s showpiece, Robertson would’ve been playing in the Scottish PGA’s 36-hole order of merit event at Strathmore. Instead, he’s rubbing shoulders with the game’s biggest names. Or maybe not?

“I actually had an absolute shocker the other day,” said Robertson with a wry grin. “I was playing with Mikey [Stewart] and we got to the 15th green. The 16th goes back the other way so I said to Mikey, ‘look, I’m knackered, I’m just going to call it a day’.

“So, as I stepped off the tee, Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland came over and said ‘is it alright if we join you boys?’ I was absolutely gutted but I just couldn’t go back. You couldn’t have scripted it.

“They must have appeared from nowhere and I was about ten yards away from the tee and I was like ‘oh god’. I’m getting a hard time for that.”

Despite missing out on a hit about with a couple of major champions, the whole Open extravaganza is everything Robertson expected it to be. “It’s a dream come true to be here,” he added with a smile that gleamed like a freshly buffed-up Claret Jug.

During his hiatus from the game, Glenbervie member Robertson went into full-time employment as a building supplies salesman. Less birdies and bogeys, more bricks and mortar. 

He’s quite the handyman too. “My caddie this week is a friend, Mark Cox, from Glenbervie and he’s an electrician,” said Robertson. “I actually do some work for him. I’m quite handy with stuff like that, so I will help him out with things like rewiring houses. I like doing stuff like that as it gets you away from teaching and playing. It breaks it up a wee bit.”

If the fuse box blows in the media centre, amid the frenzied, clattering industry of the golf writers, we know who to call.

Robertson will be up and at it this morning while the larks are still flapping a weary wing at the snooze button. He’s off in the second group of the day at 6:46am. “It’s a decent draw to be fair,” he said of an opportunity to get cracking. “I just want to play to my strengths and treat it like a normal tournament.”


They’re an environmentally conscious lot here at The Open. The Greenlinks programme that is run by The R&A involves all manner of eco-friendly projects, practices, innovations and initiatives that would have Greta Thunberg cooing like a pigeon on a smokeless barbecue.

The Open is now powered by solar panels and biofuel. The event has avoided the use of almost 400,000 plastic bottles since 2019, there are electric cars shuttling bigwigs around and an alliance with the Priceless Planet Coalition has helped to plant 65,000 trees.

It’s all about sustainability. Here at The Herald, meanwhile, the sub-editors on the sports desk are experts in waste management as they have to deal with the diarist’s s*** on a daily basis.

*The diarist enjoyed a night of glass-clinking merriment at the Association of Golf Writers’ dinner, an annual shindig that would make Caligula’s indulgent excesses look like a do at the Temperance Society. The great and the good of the golf scribbling scene were all in attendance while messages of gratitude from award winners, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, were relayed on big screens. Justin Rose, meanwhile, sat at the top table and was showered with acclaim. “Justin brings gravitas to the table,” said an admiring onlooker. As opposed to the diarist who brought six cans and a quarter bottle of gin for under the table.

*By the time the diarist and his compadre got back to our tent at the Hoylake rugby club, we were slightly concerned that a day of fearsome rain would’ve left our modest abode submerged. The biblical torrents in this parish had folk making references to Noah’s Ark but, mercifully, it wasn’t that bad. The general moistness, however, means our billet may reek like Noah’s Ark by the time the cut is made.