Our Open story

Chris Simmons shares his experience of caddying for home club favourite Matt Jordan at the 151st Open Championship

Anyone who watched The Open this year will have heard about Matt’s story – the local lad who qualified for a major at the club he’s been a member of since he was a boy – and I want to share what it was like to be beside him for that experience.

The story started at West Lancs and Final Qualifying. After a bit of a rush between the British Masters and heading to Denmark – and a very good performance to shoot 10 under-par alongside Sergio Garcia in front of the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen at qualifying – he qualified for a second year in a row. For Matt, this was a huge occasion. He grew up at Royal Liverpool and has been a member there most of his life. For me, it turned out to be one of the most special weeks of my career.

Our preparation was a little different to normal. Where I’d normally provide Matt with all the information he needs, at Hoylake he knew so much. I’m not saying I cut any corners, but all the knowledge on which lines to take in certain winds, and what is and isn’t in play in specific conditions, was all in his head. That said, one of the keys all week was sticking to our process, asking him questions and then giving him time to process, get into the right mindset, then execute. Normalising that process helped keep things under control and make it as close to a normal round as possible.

On Sunday, playing late in one of the final groups, the rain strangely helped too. Having that to concentrate on took the occasion out if it and made us focus on the basics.

The biggest difference at The Open was the expectations. The local support for Matt was phenomenal, and it was really special to be there for the opening tee shot, which Matt got invited to hit by The R&A. We knew a few friends and members were coming down early to watch, but seeing the grandstands full and hearing the roar as they announced his name was incredible.

We set a plan all week and Matt stuck to it brilliantly. Once we got to talking about a shot, we were in the zone and nothing was different to any other event. What he then did – shooting rounds of 69, 72, 69 and 70 to finish T10 and earn an invite to Royal Troon next year – was phenomenal.

We talk a lot about preparation and game plans, but to be able to pull it off under that spotlight was awesome. No matter how well you know a course, it’s still The Open. The difference from a normal week on tour to a major can throw anyone off, but he handled it all, from the media requests to being cheered onto every green. It was far from a normal week!

The icing on the cake for me was being invited into the clubhouse on Sunday night with the members. It’s a very traditional club, but at its heart it’s like any other and they loved that one of their own had done so well.

Having absorbed everything that happened, I can’t wait to do it all again at Royal Troon next season – and not have to rush to qualifying between events this time!