St. ANDREWS, Scotland - Many would argue that golf is best viewed on TV, from the comfort of your own couch. And in many scenarios, those "many" would be correct.
But at the Open Championship at St. Andrews, if you're fortunate enough to be part of James Kinnear's circle, TV could never do justice to the perch that is known as the "Royal Box of Golf."
Kinnear, a Canadian businessman and member of the R&A since 1995, owns a three-story, five-bedroom home just to the right of 18 green. He purchased it in early 2010 for more than 3.75 million pounds in advance of the 139th edition of the Open.
The views from said "Royal Box" are spectacular - you can see Nos. 1 and 18 in their entirety, with unobstructed views of Nos. 2 and 17, additionally.
"I'd been coming (to the old Course) for years to play the R&A fall matches," Kinnear said. "And in 2010 I noticed a for sale sign in the window. So I called them up, and I bought it."
How lovely that all sounds, right?
"I bought it to entertain business associates."
That's what Kinnear told me as we stood talking, overlooking Phil Mickelson (2 under), Henrik Stenson (1 over) and Matt Kuchar (1 under) putting out, finishing up their first rounds on the 18th green.
I asked him how, then, could he let someone like me (who had met a friend of a friend of his at the Dunvegan two nights prior) to enjoy the golf from such a sanctimonious place.
"I guess I'm just a nice guy," Kinnear (above left) chuckled.
There was plenty of chuckling among guests Thursday while watching the Open Championship action from the "Royal Box." And with views like these, it's no wonder why.
"To be able to overlook the 18th green at the Old Course is unliike anything in the world," Kinnear said. "And to be able to come here with family and friends? It's a wonderful experience."
A wonderful experience, indeed.
P.S. I finally tried haggis (shown below as a haggis ball). Not terrible. Not great. (Ringing endorsement ... I know.)
Editor's note: Photos courtesy of Spencer Bentley of Sierrawhiskeybravo.com.