Husband-wife team working together for British Open glory

Alex Wrigley and Johanna Gustavsson put their new marriage to the test.

Oh, the newlyweds are in love, that’s obvious.

It’s just that British Open qualifier Wrigley had his bride caddy for him on Thursday and that combination doesn’t always work.

For example, when Wrigley caddyed for his bride-to-be on the Ladies European Tour, things didn’t go so smoothly.

“It was hard for me to have Alex on my back,” said 29-year-old Swede Gustavsson, who has finished second three times this year and four more in the top 10. “It’s getting a bit too tight for me. And since I’m also my coach, it’s going to be difficult for decision-making and all that. But I’m obviously not Alex’s coach, so I think it’s working out a little bit better.”

It was a challenging opening round for the pair. England’s Wrigley, who qualified for the Open for the first time, had two double bogeys on each side to finish with 10 over par 82.

When asked what memories he will have of his debut, he said with a laugh: “The first tee of course, and going away quickly on the 18th.”

In truth, he will enjoy more than that.

“Going up the 18th fairway is really cool, really special,” said Wrigley, 32, who had attempted to qualify for the championship nearly every year since he was 18. “It’s something special to see tigers [Woods] there when we go up 15 and tiger on the fifth green. Just looking was really cool.”

Gustavsson added: “Considering the score, it wasn’t great. But there is no other place in the world where we would like to be right now.”

Alex Wrigley and Johanna Gustavsson walk across the Old Course at St Andrews during a practice round at the British Open.

Alex Wrigley and Johanna Gustavsson walk across the Old Course at St Andrews during a practice round at the British Open.

(Alastair Grant/Associated Press)

Wrigley was reminded Thursday that there are no breathers or easy holes in a major championship — his first. There’s little chance to stop and regain your balance when you need to collect yourself.

“Golf on the left is very punishable,” he said. “You have to be precise, but you also have to get the green. Neither do I today. I wasn’t precise and wasn’t very lucky. This is my first major, when you watch it on TV you just can’t understand that they are brutal and you have to keep high quality recordings all the time. Quality drives and you need a bit of luck to stay in the fairway here as it’s a bit drier than the other majors.

“It’s hole after hole after hole, par is good, par is good, par is great. You need to hit four quality shots to make pars. The executives do that.”

Sometimes they sounded like a couple in a car, one holding the card.

“She gave me some good information and told me where to go,” Wrigley said. “And I haven’t.”

Johanna Gustavsson carries her husband Alex Wrigley's racquets at the British Open.

Johanna Gustavsson carries her husband Alex Wrigley’s racquets at the British Open.

(Alastair Grant/Associated Press)

The couple isn’t just making memories, they may be history. They are believed to be the first spouses to play at their respective Opens – Gustavsson will play at the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield in August.

“We’ve been asked about it a lot, and we don’t know for sure [if another couple has achieved that]’ said Wrigley. “No one has found it yet, I think.”

He said there was “no chance” he would make a cameo as his wife’s caddy.

The two met in 2015 when they were paired in the same group at a PGA event in Spain.

“It was just by chance that we met and started talking and I would say we became friends at first,” said Gustavsson. “We didn’t meet again until six months later.”

So Wrigley ended up in the friend zone right away?

“Oh, big time,” he said.

Maybe that gives him a glimmer of hope for the Open.

How things begin is not always how they end.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2022-07-14/wrigley-johanna-gustavsson-golfing-british-open-husband-wife-team Husband-wife team working together for British Open glory

Emma Bowman

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