Garcia's grin runs on a gallon of scotch

Open Diary

Sergio Garcia didn't quite have what it took to lift the Claret Jug but at least he left Kent with the title "Personality of The Open." The award was organised by the whisky firm, The Famous Grouse, who asked hundreds of fans to vote for their favourites in this era of "lack of characters" (copyright Greg Norman). As we reported on Saturday, Garcia was running second behind Jesper Parnevik in the poll. But the Spaniard triumphed after overtaking the Swede to earn 172 votes for his on-the-tee joie de vivre, his personal panache and his fashion flair. He wins a gallon of scotch. Parnevik came second with 131 votes. We can't confirm that he lost out on any because some admirers signed the wrong bit of paper.

Representatives from the Pfizer factory in Sandwich, which makes Viagra, have just attended a reception at Buckingham Palace, hosted by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, to pick up the Queen's Award for Enterprise. According to the current edition of the weekly East Kent Mercury: "The award was granted to Pfizer following impressive growth ..."

Ian Woosnam was as chirpy as ever after finishing his fourth round yesterday. "It's been a long, hard week, hasn't it?" he was asked. "Yeah, my feet ache and my body's aching and I just want to have a couple of days relaxing." "How is your back?" he was asked. "It's not great. I keep waking up every morning stiff, and my neck's stiff and my foot's aching." Then, in the wake of the Mark Roe affair, he was asked how long it takes to overcome misfortune as a result of rule infringement. "You're still reminding me about it now, two years on," he said of his one-club-too-many hiccup. "That's the sickening thing about it. People keep going on about it. People are still going on, 'how many clubs do you have in your bag?' It's pathetic."

Royal St George's has been populated by a smattering of cheerful and accommodating folk over the past week, not least the volunteer stewards. They had our heartfelt admiration, especially those teams of six people who manned each crossing, carefully raising and lowering a bit of string several times each hour. How as few as three people coped with each bit of string - often several feet long - is a wonder. But the course and the local vicinity has had more than its share of jobsworth officials - from the car parks to the clubhouse - and greedy locals. "You're not allowed in here. We're not briefed to receive you," one especially snooty chap told a group of journalists one evening at the clubhouse, where the press were in fact entitled to be, after 5.30pm. The same thing happened to the same group three times in five minutes. As for cashing in, the residents of the local Sandwich Bay Estate relieved punters of £10-a-time to use a road, taxi drivers have been charging up to £15 for a local journey that's normally £4, and countless local restaurants, hotels and B&Bs have upped their prices to rake in a few extra quid. Fair enough, some might say, but a good advertisement for a future Open it wasn't. One saving grace was a small, friendly eaterie in nearby Deal called The Hole In The Roof. (By the way, R&A, the stuffy press tent, with no air conditioning and one small fan for 500-plus people, could have done with a hole in its roof). It serves decent grub and leaves no hole in your pocket. Or sour taste in the mouth.

Comments