Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Open Diary: 'The Calc' shows Courage to sink putts after a few pints

Mark Calcavecchia was seen enjoying himself in a hostelry at 9pm on Wednesday. Nine hours, 41 minutes later he was on the first tee of the Open Championship. The 51-year-old has always done his own thing and his own thing has often featured more pints in his preparation than holes.

That has certainly been the case here as he waddled to a first-round 69. "The Calc", as he is affectionately known, played only five holes of practice after arriving here on Tuesday. "It was so windy yesterday that the guys I signed up with to play a practice round with at 7.50am all bailed out," he explained. "So was I going to be out there for five hours all by myself? No. I played one, two, nine, 17, 18 – see ya. That was enough."

Calcavecchia is not quite as trim as when he won at Troon in 1989 and that might have something to do with his liking for the occasional jar. "I tried a few with some of the locals at the New Inn, but I wasn't fond of that John Smith's – that was pretty gross," he said. "The Courage Best – I like that, it's pretty good. I'll have a few tonight. My usual routine."

The veteran clearly enjoys his time in Britain, although he did call Sandwich "my second to last favourite course of the rota".

His least favourite? St Andrews. Last year at the Home of Golf, he went into the weekend in second place. But after a 77 and an 80 he dropped down to 73rd. The same could easily happen here.

Poulter tones down his threads for Seve's sake

Ian Poulter's uncharacteristically sober first-day outfit led one journalist to ask: "I don't think I've ever seen you dressed so boringly." Replied Poulter: "I went out in Seve's colours today – navy jumper, white shirt, white shoes. But it was cold, so I put my waterproofs on. Sorry to disappoint you. That's a nice shirt you're wearing, by the way."

Johnson off-colour about hole-in-one

Dustin Johnson was not overly impres-sed with his hole-in-one on the 16th. And his indifference had nothing to do with the ace being ever so slightly fortunate. "I'm not very excited at all," said Johnson. "I'm going home to sleep. I'm a little bit under the weather. My glands are all swollen." And he is usually so demonstrative.

Not so clever now – Colsaerts scoots out

Nicolas Colsaerts was determined to stay ahead of the local traffic this week, so he rented a scooter. The hapless Belgian beat the rush – but fell foul anyway, crashing and injuring his elbow. No amount of physio could rectify the damage and he was forced to withdraw, handing his place to Ricky Barnes.

Jimenez buys his own – shirt, that is

Calcavecchia was not the only player on the leader board consuming something other than health drinks in Sandwich last night. Indeed, there in second was Miguel Angel Jimenez courtesy of a typically controlled 66. Would he celebrate with a glass of his beloved Rioja? "No, I would have had a glass of Rioja whatever I scored. And I will have one tonight," he said. Jimenez then went off to buy an official polo shirt. A professional in the merchandise tent is a rare sight. "My sponsors they give me this thing," he said, pointing to his shirt. "But I want to buy one with the logo, the Open logo, no? And I have to pay for them. Like a human, no. I want buy a shirt with a logo for me. I am fan of Open as well, you know."