My Open Diary: First time in a major

'I put my name down to play with Harrington and McGinley,' says Open rookie Steve Surry

Posted: 15 July 2009
by Steve Surry

open golf 09
Steve Surry won the first Euro Pro Tour event of 2009

  Steve Surry, 27-year-old professional from Cumberwell Park in Wiltshire has qualified for the Open Championship at Turnberry this week after shooting a course record 66 in Final Qualifying at Western Gailes. It's his first time in a major.

A group of family and friends, including his mum Mary - a regular contributor to the Golfmagic forum - will be supporting him this week and in the first of his personal diary articles, he describes the exciting build-up to his Open debut tomorrow (Thursday).

I PUT MY name down on the unofficial start sheet today (Tuesday) to play a practice round with Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley but when it came to it I decided that I'd be watching them and what they're doing rather than concentrating on my own game.

So I backed out and played on my own a bit later. I didn't mind because I'd already played two practice rounds - one of them with the Ryder Cup player David Howell, whose caddie Nick Mumford is a scratch member of my local club. David's a really nice guy and very funny. It was a really relaxed round and I learned a lot.

The main thing about playing the Ailsa course at Turnberry is to hit it straight. The rough is really penal - whispy, tall stuff though patchy in places - and once you get in there you're hacking out with 7- or 8-iron.

I only lost one ball today on the 13th where three marshals couldn't even find it!

I'm getting used to signing autographs although I got a telling off from one young Scots lad. When I was playing with David he asked me for my autograph and naturally, feeling a bit embarrassed, I said 'you don't want my autograph, surely?' He said: 'That's not the right attitude, if you're playing in The Open, I want your autograph.' So it was a bit weird being told off by a 12-year-old!

I could probably fill a garage with what I've been offered by various club manufacturers this week, who all seem to want their equipment to be seen by those of us playing in The Open.

But although I've played some TaylorMade clubs in the past, I'm sticking with Callaway this week.

Open golf 09
David Howell - Steve's practice partner

I haven't decided which of the two Callaway FT-9 drivers I'm going with but have picked up a new Callaway Diablo 13-degree fairway metal and added a Callaway X-Tour hybrid so that I've got 18 and 22 degree lofts. I'm also using Callaway X-Forged irons (5-iron to pitching wedge) and Callaway X-Forged wedges (55-degree sand iron and 60 degree lob wedge). My putter's an Odyssey XG No.7 with a belly shaft. I've used a belly putter for about six years.

I'm playing a Titleist Pro V1x ball because it generates less spin off the driver and works better in the wind.

All week, I've tended to keep myself to myself along with my caddie Harry Bird - who's only 18 - and my coach Ben Lloyd because I really want to focus on making the cut on Friday night and not get too wrapped up with the occasion.

But I'm determined to get Tiger's autograph. I was on the range, with him about 20 yards away today and I couldn't help but notice how calm and focussed he was. We saw him later in the locker room and I thought about asking him then but he disappeared.

Other guys I've spoken to say he's quite relaxed about having his picture taken with other players so hopefully Harry and I will get him tomorrow.

My tee-time isn't until 4.21 on Thursday so I'll have almost a whole day to kill which will be difficult when I'm excited and anxious to get started. So I'll probably hang out at the house we've rented in Ayr and watch the earlier starters on the TV and then head out to warm up and meet my playing partners Terry Pilkadaris from Australia and Koumei Oda from Japan.

I'll be nervous but I know I've got a lot of support - especially from those on the Golfmagic forum - and will do the best I possibly can to make everyone proud.

*Interview by Bob Warters.


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My son - Steve Surry - has asked me to thank everybody on GM who posted messages of Good Luck/Congratulations re. his qualification for The Open.  He very much appreciates people taking the time to do this, and to follow his progress (appreciated by me too).

This has been a whole new ball game for us, so, in case anybody is interested, this is the story so far .....

His life has been somewhat manic since returning from Scotland on Tuesday evening.  Besides all the arrangements for accommodation etc for next week, he has done some interviews with local press and radio, and the local BBC TV crew are going to film him at the club on Friday - to be shown on their evening news broadcast.  Radio 5 Live have also been touch as they want to interview him after practice and playing rounds.

Various manufacturers have been phoning re. providing bags, clothing etc. 

After qualifying, the R&A informed him that they had block booked hotel accommodation for players, and he was to ring the office the following day for more details.  Unfortunately the accommodation is in the Turnberry Hotel - £370 per night, with a minimum booking of 7 nights.  His finances do not stretch to £2.5K for accommodation for him and his caddie!   We are renting a house, which is about 12 miles from the course (were lucky to find that I think), with 6 of us staying there - so much more economical.

I think that he is travelling up to Turnberry sometime on Saturday, and one of his practice rounds will probably be with David Howell.  I believe that official practice starts on Monday. 

The information pack from the R&A should arrive today, which will give us info about passes, courtesy car etc.

For anybody still reading ....... background info available on his website. (He has not had a chance to update the blog yet!)

Again - many thanks folks. 

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 04:44

Thats awesome Mary. You must be excited! I am gonna try and stick a couple of quid on him to make the cut. Please do keep us informed of progress, its almost like a GM'er is playing in the Open!

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 07:38

This is the biggest thing that has ever happened in the forum in my years of posting and as Creo says - it feels like it's one of us!  Hope Steve doesn't mind being a pseudo GM'er!  We're all there by association!

I'm sure Bob and the editorial team would love a story from your aspect Mary after the event.

So excited for you  and your family - here's hoping it's the first of many to come.

GOOD LUCK STEVE.

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 07:58

It's great to have an insight on this wonderful experience Mary.

Seems like Steve's playing great at the moment. No-one would have thought Chris Woods would make the cut last year but he finished 5th, and he wasn't even a pro at that stage.I'll definitely stick a quid on Steve playing at the weekend.

Howeller is a legend in my house (a story about the Queen, Nick Faldo and the rudest word in the English language) and seems like a tremendous guy. Is he a pal of Steve's?

Again, thanks for sharing Mary.

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 09:19

Terrific achievement Mary. When you look at the quality of players who didn't qualify it makes Steve's achievement even more impressive. What a week you're going to have!

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 09:32

Well done to Steve and good luck. I shall be rooting for him of course. It makes up for some of the dissappointment of Pasty not making it. I was hoping to see pasty shaped headcovers for the first time in an Open Championship.

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 09:43

Thanks for keeping us informed Mary. I hope you and Steve both enjoy the week, it should be an experience to remember. I'll certainly be following his progress and wish you both all the luck! Great to see an honourary GM'er and Mother doing well!

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 09:51

I'm going to raid the piggy bank and stick a few bob on Steve - what a fantastic achievement.

Mary, will you be able to do a day by day diary to give us a 'inside the ropes' account of how the week pans out?

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 10:04

I know that coming 5th in the Open last year was life-changing for Chris Woods. Instead of his usual punishing practicie regime the following week, he was playing Wentworth with Chubby Chandler and meeting Darren Clarke et al. He was courted by major management companies. Since then he has made all the right decisions, travelled the world, made his tour card for next year and he and his coach are up to Turnberry on Monday. A good result in this most spotlit tournament really is life-changing. I wish Steve all the best of luck and hope this is a giant step up is career path.

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 10:10

One day "Bowood Bowl" ...the next The Open!!!

I am trying to undo some work committments to travel up for Friday -

Good luck SS... play well!

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 10:11

I'm Gonna put a few "Hard earned" ( Zip it Mary! ) Sheckles on Steve to make the cut too!

Are there any early prices around?

Once again Well done and will be following his progress avidly! 

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 10:13

Reckless wrote (see)

It makes up for some of the dissappointment of Pasty not making it.
Says who!?

Take plenty of camera batteries Mary, get some good shots of Steve during his practice rounds that you can use for promotional material in future.

I've spoken to a couple of guys who qualifiied for the first time, and they say that they spent their first Open just taking in the experience.   After missing the cut they regretted not focussing more on their golf, so with all the sideshow going on, make sure he remembers that swinging the club and getting the ball into the hole are the most important things.

All the best of luck.

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 10:22

Does he need a caddie? Seriously I am really thrilled for you and Steve, as LGL says we are all there now by association.  Good luck and play well.

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 10:23

Nice one Steve, this'll add another dimension to the coverage this year. Any change of sticking a GolfMagic logo on his cap All the very best of British luck, and have a great time. Living the dream eh?

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 11:21

Any idea what time Steve will be doing the TV thing at the club Mary? We're not members but me and the missus live in BOA and use the driving range, putting green and bar regularly. Would be nice to see a future champion doing his thing

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 11:37

Cheers guys - originally I was just going to post the "Thanks" as Steve requested, but as I have found it quite interesting to see how all the wheels start turning, I thought I would share some of it in case anybody else wanted an insight.  Whilst I am proud of what Steve has achieved, I would hate to come across as bragging about it - so feel free to tell me to zip it.  

Benidorm Mick - Points West are arriving around 5.30 and will be broadcasting their Sport Live slot from the club, it is due to go out around 6.45 - just a 5 minute slot. I think they are hoping that a few people will be milling around in the background.  I have already arranged to look after my mum for the weekend, so will be viewing at home.

There is internet access in the house we are renting, so I should be able to do some daily updates (if I can get Steve off Facebook)

Pasty - thanks for the advice - I will pass it on.  Steve is going up on Saturday, so he has 4 or 5 days to get used to rocking up to Turnberry with players privileges before the big day.  We are trying to keep his preparation the same as usual - i.e. he may just go out for a meal with his caddie in the evenings, not the whole group of us surrounding him. Ross, who is managing all his prep is dealing with as many enquiries as possible so that Steve can focus on his golf.

1 Over - I don't know of any prices yet, but a text will be on the way when I do! "Hard earned" !! - as if!

Tom - I know the story to which you are referring.  Howeller has always kept in touch with the Wiltshire golf scene, so I think has known of Steve from when he was in the County Boys and Mens teams.  One of Steve's friends has been caddying for Howeller for the last couple of seasons, so I think he has kept him posted re what Steve has been doing. 

Again - thanks to all for the interest.

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 14:08

Come on Steve. What are you all talking about putting some hard earned pennies on him making the cut.  Put them on him winning the bloody thing.

Well done and I look forward to watching him over the weekend.

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 14:59

Thanks Mary. Unfortunately i've got a match in WSMare at 4.30 but i'm sure there'll be plenty of "millers" hanging around at the club. I'll be gathering the family around the TV for The Open and a look at the local lad done good.

Well done to Steve and all the best for next week

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 15:05

Good Luck to Steve,

My girlfriend and I are going to go on the Sunday so hopefully we'll get to see him hit a few shots, really looking forward to going down to Turnberry after caddying on my summer holidays when I was 17/18...(around 10 years ago)

My family owned a pub/hotel in Girvan. One of the regulars who drank in the pub had caddied at Turnberry most of his life, I think he was arond 70, he let me copy his yardage book which was marked from all the sprinkler heads ,bunkers and other little land marks. The other regulars in the pub told me I should count myself lucky getting this as he wouldn't normally share this with anyone and he must of liked me. They were right enough as the other younger caddy's kept offering me money for it. I think i still have it at my mum's house.

One of the tips he gave me to pass on to players who I caddied for was that for the first 9 holes (...I think) all the greens break towards the sea.

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 22:07

Very proud of both you, Mary, and Steve  I hope you all have a great week in Scotland and it would be absolutely brilliant if Steve made the cut  This is what he has been working for so I am sure he will produce the shots when necessary  Go Steve Go

Posted: 09/07/2009 at 22:14

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