Crane makes it to Hoylake, still waiting for spot

Ben Crane won the FedEx St. Jude Classic last month.
Ben Crane won the FedEx St. Jude Classic last month. ( Getty Images )

Thursday, July 17, 2014

HOYLAKE, England – Ben Crane has been at Royal Liverpool since 5:20 a.m. Thursday morning in hopes of teeing it up in his sixth Open Championship.

It wasn’t until Tuesday evening at just after 5:00 p.m. in Portland that Crane found out from his manager that he was now the first alternate due to Seung-Yul Noh’s decision to stay in Korea.

Upon hearing the news, Crane stopped his charity lesson after just one shot and jumped into his car where he had his clubs and suitcase ready to go.

The odyssey started on a flight from Portland to Seattle, since he missed the last flight from Portland to the east coast.

From Seattle he flew to New York City's JFK airport, and then onto London and Manchester, where a car awaited to take him to Hoylake arriving at his hotel on the on the Merseyside coast just after 1:00 a.m. early Thursday morning.

“Got a little clip, a packet, a yardage book and we know everything we're supposed to be doing on the holes, so that was our practice round,” Crane said as he was hitting putts. “It's just an exciting place. These are golf fans here.”

Complicating Crane’s preparation was the fact that the driving range is on the municipal course across the street and a five-minute drive from the course.

Those five minutes are important since that is likely all the time that Crane would have to make it to the tee or be disqualified if someone withdrew.

So Crane hired a local caddie to take the trip to the range, setup the bag and then make it back to the first tee. It took 4 minutes and 20 seconds, so Crane went to the range.

The last tee time on Thursday is at 4:06 p.m. and if he doesn’t make it into the field he will pack up his bag for an 8:00 a.m. flight back to the U.S. and likely an appearance at the Canadian Open next week.

But the week won’t be a total waste, as he has a tee time at nearby Wallasey for the afternoon if he doesn't get into the field.

“Either way it's worth it,” Crane said. “It's an opportunity. How many opportunities do you have to play in this tournament, and I'd love to win this tournament, and if you don't play, you've got no chance.“