Did the Phantom of the Open Play Golf in Grand Rapids?
Yes, the Phantom did play in Grand Rapids and his name was Maurice Flintcroft. Mean anything to you? Most probably not. That is unless you followed golf in 1976, and specifically the British Open, now simply called The Open.
TIGER WOODS AT THE OPEN
Flitcroft, had gained a love of golf, and on a whim posed as a professional golfer to see if he could get into The Open. He did, and that is where it all fell apart because he shot an astounding 121 in the first round. That was the worst score ever recorded at the Open. Well, the media was all over him so he certainly gained some fame. But, was never allowed to play in The Open again. Go figure.
BLYTHFIELD COUNTRY CLUB
Flash forward when Buddy Whitten, head pro at Blythfield Country Club, and well aware of the Flitcroft story, created the Maurice Flitcroft Member-Guest Tournament. The winner of the tournament was the foursome with the HIGHEST score.
"It started as a lark, but most people can't break 90 so they relate more to Maurice than they would to a touring pro."
Blythfield even flew Flitcroft and his wife to Grand Rapids in 1988 so he could play in his own tournament.
Check this video out from 1988, as a young sportscaster, Phil Johnson, who now is a sales executive here at Townsquare Media, introduces the story. It's a long clip compilation of all the local TV coverage so you can bail out after the Channel 8 piece if you like. Be sure to check out who Flitcroft's caddy was!
So, who was that caddy? Sports Director at TV8, Warren Reynolds!
Okay, so flash forward to present day. In 2017 comedian and writer Simon Farnaby, who co-wrote a biography of Flitcroft, started writing a film script based on the book, The Phantom of the Open. It took awhile, but finally came to the big screen, and is playing at Celebration Cinema North.
By the way, that TV clip from Channel 8 made it into the movie. Does Phil get talent residuals?
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