Open ordeal: Mullinax shakes travel, club trouble
- • Joined ESPN in 2011
• Covered two Olympics, a pair of Rugby World Cups and two British & Irish Lions tours
• Previously rugby editor, and became senior writer in 2018
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Trey Mullinax had a mad rush to get to Scotland in time for the 150th Open Championship and had to contend with bent golf clubs from the journey, but he still managed to make the cut and carded a 6-under round Saturday.
Mullinax didn’t have high expectations for last weekend’s Barbasol Championship. In fact they were so low for the competition in Kentucky that he didn’t take his passport. But the unexpected triumph — as he won by a shot ahead of Kevin Streelman — meant he had secured a spot in The Open at St. Andrews and then faced a rush to get over in time to see the course before his first round Thursday.
What followed was a hectic journey for Mullinax.
“So I had to go home [to Birmingham, Alabama], get my passport, go to JFK on Monday morning, fly from JFK to Dublin, Dublin to Edinburgh, Edinburgh here,” Mullinax said. “I got here at like — I left my house at 5:00 a.m. Monday morning, got here at 8:00 on Tuesday, and then teed off at, like, 1:30 for 18 holes.”
He said he had in the region of three hours of sleep Sunday, then “about none to zero on Monday.” But he managed to make the cut, coming through the first two days at level par.
This score was made even more remarkable by the realization that he had been playing through the first two rounds with a putter that had been bent out of shape by 2 degrees during the transit from the U.S.
“I had to get my stuff bent back because all my clubs were out of my bag when I got here,” Mullinax said. “A lot of clubs were bent, and so we had to adjust and stuff like that.”
His caddy — Julien Trudeau — and Mullinax only realized the putter was misaligned on Friday evening.
“I actually found out last night that my putter was 2 degrees off,” Mullinax said. “I knew it looked funny.
“I was having to tell my caddie, man, I’m having to forward press this a lot. I was like, man, I don’t know what’s going on. The ball wasn’t rolling like it was in Kentucky. Surely I didn’t lose it in two days. I found out today that it was 2 degrees off. I played a lot better today.”
This was Mullinax’s first trip to the U.K. since 2014, when he played in the Palmer Cup at Walton Heath.
“This is such fun. Getting to hit shots I’ve never hit before,” he said. “My caddie, Jules, has been very prepared for the shots that we’re going to have to hit and the bump-and-runs you have to hit around here. I feel very prepared, and I feel like my game’s good.”
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