CARNOUSTIE, Scotland (Reuters) - Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas starred in his own “horror movie” on Thursday, arriving at the British Open with barely an hour to spare for his 1031 (0931 GMT) tee time after a nightmare journey.
Firstly, the triple PGA Tour winner did not realize his visa had expired until he was ready to leave the United States.
After obtaining the necessary documentation, the Houston resident took the last possible flight that would get him to Carnoustie on time, but the story did not end there.
He lost his clubs en route and, following an 0630 helicopter ride from Glasgow Airport to the east coast of Scotland, a new set of clubs from three different manufacturers had to be hastily cobbled together for the start of his first round.
“It almost seemed like it was a horror movie happening for the past week,” Vegas told reporters after posting a five-over 76. “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose, I think you couldn’t really do it.
“I looked at my visa and got really confused with the dates. I was supposed to get here on Friday. For some reason the people at the consulate in New York decided not to respond to the application.
“They responded on Monday morning, saying I applied for the wrong visa. We fixed it and I was supposed to be in Houston on Tuesday morning to be here Wednesday,” said Vegas, who missed the cut on his British Open debut at Royal Birkdale last year.
“But that didn’t happen. I waited in a car in front of the consulate in Houston for seven hours for the visa. I went Wednesday morning, got it, got on a flight from Houston here through Toronto and got my agents to give me a helicopter ride from Glasgow.”
When he finally arrived at the course, Vegas quickly hit 20 balls on the practice range with a collection of TaylorMade woods, Titleist and Mizuno irons and a TaylorMade putter.
“It took over 14 hours to get here and I had two hours sleep so it was not ideal,” he said, smiling. “I don’t recommend it.
“The journey seemed really crazy and frustrating. I thought somebody was playing a joke on me, how everything got interrupted on the way.
“Showing up here and my clubs not showing up, I started laughing. That’s kind of when I said, ‘okay, I’m done. What else can I do?’.
“At the end of the day I gave it a try. I wouldn’t do it every single day. It’s fun playing majors, fun playing the Open. I wouldn’t miss it for anything.”
Editing by Toby Davis