AYR, Scotland - The British Open is the rare tournament that requires a red-eye flight, a passport, and endless patience. The Open Championship, as it is known on these shores, is easily my favorite tournament of the year, but it is not always easy getting settled into a new environment. There are driving rules to re-learn and money to exchange and a long flight across the pond.
My journey began on Sunday evening, when I arrived at Newark Airport and met up with two golf scribes (Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post and Hank Gola of the New York Daily News) and one PGA Tour caddie (Ron Levin, Fredrik Jacobson's looper) for an early dinner. We talked golf, watched the Angels hammer the Yankees for the umpteenth time, and raced over to our gate.
Joe LaCava, Fred Couples's long-time caddie, was already on board. He was with me in coach, preparing to loop for Davis Love III.
"Who won the Deere?" I asked him. "I missed the finish."
"Stricker, I think," LaCava said (he was right).
"Cool, good guy," I said.
I settled into my window seat on Continental (I counted more than 20 golf bags being loaded onto the plane) and quickly browsed the movie selections. Ferris Bueller's Day Off? For old time's sake. The Wedding Singer? Who doesn't love Sandler and Barrymore? Big? Can't go wrong with Tom Hanks.
On the six-hour-plus flight, I ended up watching all three movies and, later, got lured into a computer game of blackjack. At customs, I bumped into ESPN's Mike Tirico, who was sporting a Detroit Tigers cap, and met up with Gola, who was driving our group to our flat about 30 minutes from Turnberry.
I was working on an hour sleep. When I finally arrived at our house, I was pleasantly surprised to find wireless internet and a comfortable bed. I logged onto my computer and spied a stack of new email messages. One said that Tiger had already made an appearance at Turnberry. Another said Padraig Harrington would be in the interview room Tuesday morning. Open Championship week had begun.