Senior writer John Garrity, whose story on British Open qualifying
in Chicago appears on page G17, has been writing about the
world's oldest golf championship since 1989. Next week, upon
landing at London's Heathrow Airport, he will catch a few hours
of sleep, then drive to Sandwich, site of this year's Open, with
his clubs in the boot of his rental car. "If I see a driving
range, I'll stop," he says. "I'm a confirmed range rat."
The clubs probably won't come out again until after the
tournament, when the tall (6'7") Missourian flies to Ireland, the
home of his ancestors, for a week of golf and exploration. "I'm
going back for a spelling lesson," says Garrity, who learned on a
previous visit that the Geraghtys of County Mayo get by with only
one r. "I'm also curious to see if the Irish, who are supposed to
know something about potatoes, have discovered how to make a
simple salted potato chip."
Garrity will spend most of his time in Belmullet, a tiny fishing
village on the bleak northwest shore of the Irish Republic. It
was from Belmullet, in the 19th century, that his
great-grandfather Michael, an illiterate farmer, took a dinghy
out to a ship anchored offshore. The ship was bound for America.
The rest, as they say, is history. Or in Garrity's case,
journalism. In a future issue he will tell us how Belmullet lured
him home with the promise of a magical golf experience in its
windswept dunes. "I'll be looking for Geraghtys with game," he
says, "if only to confirm that golf is part of my heritage."
It will be interesting to see which spelling our man uses for his
James P. Herre
EDITOR, GOLF PLUS
COLOR PHOTO: TODD BIGELOW CHEW ON THIS Garrity will tee it up on Old Sod.