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Who Engraves the British Open’s Claret Jug on Sunday?


ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — The excellent news for Garry Harvey is that nearly nobody on this 12 months’s British Open field has a reputation quite so long as Severiano Ballesteros — Spanish master of the short game, three-time Open champion and unwitting menace to a person with minutes to engrave one in all golf’s most sacred trophies.

Harvey will face a foreboding stretch on Sunday anyway. Like his father, Alex, who was tasked with etching Ballesteros into history on deadline, he may have perhaps 10 minutes so as to add Rory McIlroy (11 letters) or Scottie Scheffler (16 letters) or another person entirely to the claret jug.

He’ll fret over spelling. He’ll fuss over spacing. For engraving efficiency as much as national pride, he wouldn’t have minded if the Scot Paul Lawrie had won again. But he began engraving when he was 14, has handled claret jug duties since Tony Blair was prime minister and has a big enough reservoir of on-demand tranquility that he played within the 1979 Open, one in all three that Ballesteros won, forcing Alex Harvey so as to add the Spaniard’s name to the jug as an alternative of his son’s.

“After I get nervous, I remember what my father looked like and taught me,” Garry Harvey, 67 and soft-spoken, said along the Old Course at St. Andrews, the positioning of the a hundred and fiftieth Open. “After I’m under pressure, I believe in regards to the old man, after which I just do it.”

And so a letter, Harvey said, might take him eight seconds so as to add to a band on the jug’s base.

Generations of Open winners handled the engraving of the jug, which is formally generally known as the Golf Champion Trophy. But after Roberto De Vicenzo, the 1967 victor at Royal Liverpool, did not achieve this, the R&A, the Open’s organizer, took control and turned to Alex Harvey. Garry Harvey, born months after Peter Thomson won the primary of his five Opens, began his engraving education around then.

At the identical time, he was emerging as one in all Britain’s best young golfers, ending because the runner-up on the boys’ amateur championship in 1971 and winning the next 12 months. He put his own name on the trophy in essentially the most literal sense, too.

Other golf achievements followed, including a victory on the 1985 Kenya Open and a berth in an Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes, where he finished in a tie for 139th. All of the while, Alex Harvey’s hands were evolving right into a fixture of television coverage of the Open.

Garry Harvey would often accompany his father, scrutinizing his patience and practices. Alex Harvey didn’t, for instance, start adding Jean van de Velde’s name when he arrived at No. 18 at Carnoustie in 1999 with the three-shot lead that he soon squandered. He all the time waited for word from the leader of the R&A that the rating was final.

Now Garry Harvey, whose father died in 2008, a couple of years after retiring, has been across the Open so long that he cannot remember exactly whose name he was first charged with engraving.

Even when the present craftsman typically prefers to work within the background, the ritual is seen as a component of the Open’s charm. Tom Watson, whose eight major victories include five British Open wins, said that rapid engraving had grown to turn out to be “a part of the entire fabric of the Open Championship.”

“It really doesn’t matter whether your name is on the trophy or not, truthfully — you might have the trophy in hand and also you get to see that lovely claret jug — but it surely’s a perk,” Watson, one in all the primary winners to lift a freshly updated trophy, said on Friday. “It’s an ideal perk.”

In turn, Harvey has a well-settled practice for the ultimate round, preparing certain parts of the engraving, just like the tournament’s site and 12 months, prematurely. But he also avoids venturing onto the course on Sunday, rife with hazards — crowds, nerves, fall risks — that might conspire to maintain him from being at his position when the minute comes. He mutes the tv, bored with the commentary about his hands, and doesn’t look after the clicks of a still camera’s shutter. He hopes a floorboard doesn’t shake and interrupt his rhythm and concentration as he works with a tool he believes is a minimum of a century old.

“There are all kinds of things that may go unsuitable, however the spelling’s vital,” he said. “You don’t need to slip, and that may’t occur.” (“The spelling of Padraig, you’ve got to be very careful with that one,” he said, referring to Padraig Harrington, the Irish golfer whose name he has twice added to the jug.)

The Open gig, in fact, is a fraction of his work, which frequently brings other sports trophies and medals to his work area, whether it’s at St. Andrews or closer to his home in Crook of Devon, a village about an hour’s drive from the Old Course. Along together with his wife, Jeanette, he runs a jewellery shop in nearby Dunfermline, where it seems only a couple of customers know that he works on the jug.

He expects to work with the R&A for so long as he can, and there isn’t any prospect, he said, of one other member of the family assuming the role.

He’ll, eventually, get around to watching a replay of Sunday’s round. He has plans for Monday, though: a Senior Open qualifier. But before then, until the etching is completed, he’ll wait and wonder what, exactly, he might want to do almost as soon because the last putt drops.

“If it’s a protracted name — a extremely long name — it’s going to be tricky,” he said.

He reassured himself, his voice trailing off.

“If Severiano Ballesteros can get into that gap.”

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