What’s it like to work as a referee at The Open?

CC Boo (Chairman – Rules of Golf Committee, Malaysian Golf Association), an invited official at this year’s Open, shares some of his experiences of refereeing at Muirfield.

My favourite activity each day since I was 10 years old has been to spend around 30 minutes each day dreaming. This year one of my dreams came true…

The Invitation

It started a few months ago when I received an email from David Rickman (R&A Executive Director, Rules and Equipment Standards) informing me that I had been invited by The Open Committee Chairman, Jim McArthur, to serve on the Rules Committee for the 142nd Open Golf Championship at Muirfield.

My Love of The Open

I was at The Open in 1992 (when Nick Faldo won at Muirfield) and in 1995 (when John Daly won at St Andrews). Being Asian, i.e. I’m not too tall, it was tough at times being sandwiched among other spectators following the leader groups.

It was only in 2005 that I attended my first R&A Rules School in Singapore and passed the exam with merit. The dream was born there…

Arrival at Muirfield

I arrived at Muirfield on July 15th and walked the course twice trying to familiarise myself with the layout, all the temporary structures like TV towers and grandstands, and any potential Rules issues. I spent lots of time looking over the Local Rules, suspension of play policy, temporary immovable obstructions, timing, and so on. All can be found in the Big Blue Folder that each referee is given on arrival. Message number 1: you’ve got to do your homework. Nearly ready.

On the morning of the 17th we had a meeting of all the referees; there are about 75 of us from all over the world. Many of them have refereed the Open before, but there are a few new boys like me. It’s a great opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business and to ask questions.

The meeting goes well, we take the official referees photograph and then it’s the official course walk. We’re split into groups and my group is headed by the ever smiling face of Alick Bisset. OK. Ready. Let’s go.

Day One


I’m out as an observer for the referee, Chris Hilton (Chairman of The R&A Rules of Golf Committee). The players are Tiger Woods, Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen. What else could I ask for more to be with Tiger in my first Open!

My job as an observer is to work ahead of the players, to be near the landing area to give t