Wednesday, July 15

The Indefatigable Ivor Robson: 'On the Tee ... '

HE HAS BEEN AROUND AS LONG as Tom Watson, but he's not retiring from the Open Championship. At least not yet. And apparently no one knows how old he is.

I'm talking about Ivor Robson, of course, the official starter at the Open Championship since 1975, the year Watson won the first of his five Open titles. Robson's understated flair has been heard throughout the British Isles every July since Gerald Ford was president and Arthur Ashe and Billie Jean King won the singles titles at Wimbledon.

Not only has the man been on the job a long time, he has taken a very serious approach to the business of sending off the world's best players. Every championship round, from first to last grouping, Robson never leaves his post, not even for a bathroom break.

How is that possible? Well, much like the world's best players, Ivor has a routine. 

"This job requires total and complete concentration," Robson told Rick Reilly in 1999.

"For that reason," Reilly wrote, "he doesn't touch a drop of liquid after 7 p.m. the night before. For instance, each night last week in Carnoustie, he would have a sandwich and a glass of mineral water and nothing more until the following night at 7 p.m. He loses 'about a stone [14 pounds]' each Open, he says, but it makes it very easy to eschew the [bathroom] all day."

A former Scottish tour player in the 1960s and 1970s, Robson said in '99 he "absolutely lived in fear of the first tee" and "hated having my name announced."

Now announcing at his 41st Open, Robson feels very much at home on the 1st tee, a famous voice that adds another unique quality to the world's oldest golf championship.

(H/T Brendan Mohler,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Indefatigable Ivor's really a pleasure hearing Ivor announce the matches something about his tone that seems soothing to me. Funny thing that I have never experienced anything like it.

The only other game announcer that creates similar tone was the Late NY-Yankees announcer Bob Sheppard.