As a man who grew up in north-west England, you’d think Tommy Fleetwood would be well prepared for wet-weather golf.
But when the heavens opened at Carnoustie last summer, he was caught short and Rihanna nowhere to be found to offer him refuge under her umbrella.
Luckily for him, there was one available at The Open Shop and the Englishman plodded round – much to the amusement of the crowds and media – for 18 holes.
Since then Fleetwood has learnt his lesson, carting The Open brolly all over the world, to keep his perfectly-coiffured hair dry and bringing back to golf’s oldest major this year.
No longer a wally without a brolly
The fun began on Carnoustie’s first tee 12 months ago. Caddie Ian Finnis needed some quick-thinking when the duo arrived and it was raining at The 147th Open.
You’d have thought – with that excellent hair - that Fleetwood would want to stay dry but they are clearly made of tough stuff on Merseyside, with nary a thought about protecting himself from the conditions.
Luckily an understanding official was soon able to save the day.
“We got given an official Open umbrella for free, we didn't steal it,” Fleetwood explained, when questioned about the bright yellow accessory’s sudden appearance in his bag. “It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”
So nice in fact, that Fleetwood wanted to take an Open-branded brolly around the world.
Fleetwood clearly learnt his harsh lesson when it came to umbrella-based preparation.
At the Player’s Championship in March, he was seen getting an Open brolly out to protect himself from the Florida deluge, and it clearly worked as he went on to finish T-5.
Back in his native north-west, Fleetwood was again spotted with it at the British Masters – which he hosted at Hillside.
New year, new brolly
With Royal Portrush – host of The 148th Open and based on Northern Ireland’s Antrim coast – known for its wet weather, Fleetwood could ill-afford another forgetful year.
“You never know what The Open is going to bring,” he wisely said in his press conference.
Instead, it didn’t matter. Open TV’s George Harper Jr was on-hand to give Tommy a 2019 umbrella and ensure he could stay dry for all four rounds.
“This will go straight in. It is a little bit bigger, sturdier and stronger,” he joked.
And would you believe it, the umbrella inspired him to his best-ever Open finish – second spot behind Champion Golfer of the Year Shane Lowry.