Paul Larsen, Head Greenkeeper at Royal St. Georges, is the Breakout Star of The Open
The golf world has turned its eyes to Kent, England this week as The Open Championship will be played at Royal St. George's Golf Club. While the tournament doesn't start until Thursday, the Internet found the real star of the long weekend on Wednesday when The Golf Channel interviewed Paul Larsen, the head greenkeeper at the host course. He made an immediate impression and after doing a little digging Larsen quickly lived up to the first image many people have seen of him.
Larsen is active on Twitter and Instagram and he got a haircut within the last two weeks. In an interview he The Cure fan recently described his younger self as "goth," explaining he wears sunglasses because he doesn't like bright lights.
This is the 15th time that RSG has hosted The Open. The tournament was first played there in 1894. The links course is apparently very well known for bad bounces on the fairway. Justin Rose once compared RSG to "playing on the surface of the moon." But players seem quite optimistic about playing conditions this week. Here's what Rory McIlroy had to say this week:
“It's certainly not as penal or unfair as it has been in previous years. 2011, it was a little bit like that, but looking back to '03, for example, it looked really burnt and crispy then, and it looked like a bit of a pinball machine out there. But that's not going to be the case this week. It's a lot more lush. It's a lot more green.
“I think it's perfect, and as the days go on with a little bit of wind and sunshine, by the weekend it should just be absolutely perfect. It should be playing the way it should play.”
Here's a recent interview with Larsen talking about keeping the course alive during the early days of the pandemic.
It will be fun to see how much more coverage Larsen gets this weekend depending on how well - or how poorly - the players are doing. Hopefully, the course will be just like heaven.