Museum trip a perfect distraction after dawn deluge

Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:38am EDT
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By Martyn Herman

ST ANDREWS, Scotland (Reuters) - The 1914 Dunlop V Floating Golf Ball perched in a display case inside the British Golf Museum would have come in handy at St Andrews after Friday's dawn deluge.

Although the old 'hairies' or 'featheries', the balls once used by Scotland's royals in the 1600s, might have become a little soggy on the famous Old Course links, dubbed the home of golf.

The evolution of the golf ball was just one fascinating distraction in the museum located a sand-wedge away from the 18th green where the 144th British Open will be won on Sunday.

Reopened in time for the tournament after modernization and the addition of a roof-top restaurant, it was an appropriate place to while away an hour on Friday as heavy rain forced the suspension of play and sent fans scuttling into town.

The modern museum charts the origins of the so-called sport of kings, a version of which, called Chuiwan, was played in China more than 1,000 years ago, through to the professional game we know today.

Strange that, as hundreds of thousands of golf enthusiasts descend on the Fife coast to catch sight of Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth, the earliest recorded mention of the sport was in 1457 when Scotland's King James II banned "gowf" fearing it would distract common folk from practicing archery.

In times of war, firing arrows was deemed a more useful activity than knocking a ball into a hole.

Royalty were partial to a game though.   Continued...

Jordan Spieth of the U.S. reacts after chipping onto the 15th green during the first round of the British Open golf championship on the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, July 16, 2015. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh