Open Diary: Your essential guide to the Open 2008
Friday 18 July 2008
Caddie can help Kim be real deal
Anthony Kim, briefly leader yesterday and America's next big thing, owes a debt of gratitude to Mark Calcavecchia. With Calcavecchia's blessing, Kim now employs Calcs' former caddie, Eric Larson. Calcs and Larson have such a close bond that when Larson served an 11-year prison sentence for drug dealing he still had a job on his release.
Larson was released in late 2005, and within 15 months he and Calcavecchia were revelling in the latter's win at the 2007 PODS Championship. "Eric is just loving life," said the player at the time. "I've never seen a guy, four nights in a row, eat a 48-ounce porterhouse. He said he never got food like this in the joint."
Larson said of his 1990s crime: "It wasn't like I was going over to Colombia and bringing back plane loads full [of cocaine]. I was never a big-time player, but I guess you don't have to be."
Kim has famously said he wants to become "the baddest person on the planet". Good start, sonny. When even your bag man has done an 11-stretch for pushing charlie, you're probably heading in the right direction.
Cheap not cheerful
Cheap accommodation is like a flaw-free round here: impossible to find. So bravo to the initiative of at least two sets of journalists who are billeted at Pontin's in Southport. "I thought the 'Hi-de-Hi!' gags were going to be hard enough to bear," said one esteemed writer. "But the entertainment, and I use that word advisedly, is appalling. In the theatre last night there was a bloke singing 'Achy Breaky Fart', with accompanying noises. The height of sophistication it isn't."
Pontin's is cheap, however. One trio of hacks has bagged themselves a cut-price deal costing £100 each per week, on the conceit they are a nuclear family. Despite quite obviously being three grown men, they have apparently convinced the Blue Coats they are dad and two lads, and that mummy has stayed at home. It's as outrageous as the scramble for the top bunk.
Ian Botham was in town on Wednesday, for an event billed as "dinner with Botham" at Southport & Birkdale Cricket Club. Tickets were £85 a head. Botham's fee, we hear, was not unadjacent to £15,000. He arrived at 10pm, spoke for 45 minutes, and left. "Just not cricket," said our mole.
Memo to the BBC: why, in the "Sports and weather" section of your website, is the Open weather forecast coming from Blackpool? Any northern town will do, eh? Whatever next? Carlisle? Aberdeen? Reykjavik?
Million miles away
A new website, www.savea millionshots.com, aims to "raise standards and lower handicaps by saving at least one million golfers one shot or more each". This will be done via free online tuition from coaches and experts, including noted sports shrink Dr Karl Morris. We asked Dr Morris for insight yesterday into Sandy Lyle's walkout, but it was beyond even him. "I couldn't comment without a lot more information," he said. We don't know if Sandy has visited the website. But even a million shots wouldn't have helped him yesterday.
Tiger In His Den: 'I thought I was watching a show about duck shooting...'
My beautiful wife Elin kept asking me yesterday: "Tiger, honey, why are you laughing? If you don't calm down you're gonna fall off that couch."
With my broken leg and ACL procedure, I've been laid up pretty much every day. Still, Elin has gone out of her way to create the ideal British Open environment for me in my own den.
"Tiger, honey, you want another pork pie?" she keeps asking.
"That'd be great, sweetie. And maybe another Guinness?"
When I won the British Open two years ago at Hoylake, I said: "This jug will be filled up, I'll tell you that, with a beverage of my choice, and not just once."
Elin is partial to a pint of Theakston's Old Peculier and a bag of scratchings herself. Personally, they give me wind.
There was a lot of that at Birkdale. Elin's had BBC installed so I don't miss a moment of Gary Lineker. What he doesn't know about golf is worth knowing.
I'd intended to get up at 1.30am here to see the guys tee off live. Even without me, there is still a world-class field. It's insulting for anyone to suggest otherwise simply because I win majors on one leg these days. Just look at the quality of the opening groups yesterday: Dyson, Fowler, Fichardt. I can't believe I overslept!
I was tuned in by 9.11am Birkdale time, though. It was 4.11am here, the sun was just coming up over the pool, I really can't tell you how much I'm missing England.
At first I thought I'd tuned into a Discovery channel show about duck shooting. Then I realised it was Ian Poulter teeing off. I just loved his combat pants and hunting hat. That guy is so stylish! And so talented.
As Ian himself will tell you, I fear for my No 1 spot with him around. And Phil Mickelson keeps breathing down my neck too. A lot people talk a lot of nonsense about me and Lefty not getting on. But when he triple-bogeyed the sixth yesterday to go six-over-par, I felt for him.
"Tiger, honey, why are you laughing?" asked Elin. You would not believe how ticklish this knee cast can be. I was chuckling so much I had to take a bathroom break. When I got back, my daughter Sam had taken over the television. Sam turned one not long ago. She's a huge fan of the Teletubbies. "Tinky Winky!" she said, pointing at the screen.
"Honey, that's not Tinky Winky," said Elin. "That's Colin."
As imagined by Nick Harris
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