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QUICK TAKE: A Long, Strange Trip To Carnoustie For Vegas

It was a nightmare getting there, but Venezuela's Jhonattan Vegas made it to Carnoustie for the first round of The Open. (Photo: REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff)

CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND | And you think you’ve got a nightmarish travel story.

Jhonattan Vegas has you 2 down at the turn.


Here’s the good news:

Vegas arrived at Carnoustie on Thursday in time to make his first-round tee time at 10:30 a.m.

The bad news, well, that’s going to take a while, much like Vegas’ long, strange trip to Scotland via Houston and Toronto.

“It almost seemed like a horror movie happening for the past week,” Vegas said after shooting 76 in his first look at Carnoustie – and without his own golf clubs, which were inadvertently left behind in Toronto.

But that’s getting ahead of his story.

It began last week when the Venezuelan-born Vegas realized he had confused the dates on his visa, having grown accustomed to the American style of month/day/year rather than the European style of day/month/year.


Fixing that meant postponing his planned arrival in Scotland last Friday.

If it had only been as easy as fixing the visa.

Vegas, who was home in Houston, got no response from officials in New York when he tried to remedy the issue on Friday. That forced him to wait through the weekend until Monday when he learned he had applied for the wrong visa.

Eventually, Vegas applied for and was granted the proper visa. For whatever reason – Vegas said it was a delivery company problem – the visa did not arrive in Houston on Tuesday morning as scheduled. He waited in a car at the Houston consulate for seven hours for a visa that did not arrive Tuesday.

On Wednesday morning, Vegas had his visa and a flight from Houston to Scotland via Toronto.

Vegas made the connection in Toronto but his clubs did not, which meant he arrived in Glasgow early Thursday without his equipment but with a helicopter waiting to whisk him to Carnoustie about 80 miles away.

Vegas had his caddie go to work putting together some clubs. Vegas wound up with a mixed set of clubs, nothing like those he typically plays. He was fortunate that the equipment trucks which typically pull out of PGA Tour event sites on Wednesdays were still at Carnoustie.

Otherwise, Vegas would have borrowed a set of clubs from one of the Carnoustie members.

Running on two hours of sleep and days of frustration, Vegas had time to hit about 20 practice balls before teeing off on a Carnoustie course burned brown and playing super fast. He didn’t play his best but Vegas had the day’s best story, for sure.

“I just thought that somebody was really playing a joke on me,” he said. “I mean, it couldn’t be that way. Just how everything just got interrupted on the way.

“Even today when my clubs didn’t show up … I haven’t had any issues all year long with my clubs, and they didn’t show up today.

“Especially when you start putting the pieces together, it almost feels like somebody on purpose did it. So everyone is having a laugh at it, which is good because I’m thinking the same way. If I would have had a different attitude, I would have broken a few clubs by now.”

Instead, all Vegas wanted to do was get some sleep and worry about Friday on Friday.

 

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