As the ground baked with every sun ray here at Hoylake yesterday there was plenty to sweat on with the first round just three days away. How to stop the ball from bouncing into the rough. How to stop the ball from bouncing all the way to Chester.
Ian Poulter (pictured), however, was mopping his brow for an entirely different reason. To hell with whether his game will be ready in time - what about his outfit?
Ever since he donned the Union Flag trousers at Troon in 2004, Poulter's outrageous fashion statements have become a fixed sideshow at the Open and this time around, Poulter is promising sartorial fireworks after designing his own "IP" fashion range. Alas, it is not as easy or as quick as it might look. "It's on the machine right now and will be until Wednesday," he said yesterday. "I'll be gutted if it's not ready in time."
It is not just his pride in his appearance that is making Poulter as nervous as a bridesmaid. "I want to do something for the kids," he said. "I want them to be able to express themselves on the course without paying £250 for a pair of trousers and £150 for a belt. There are an awful lot of them paying that kind of money."
Poulter is unashamed in believing his venture will be a success. "How many people are going to wear white trousers and bright coloured trousers this week?" he asked.
"That didn't happen two years ago. Golf has changed because of what I did. Companies now think, 'Wow, we can sex up golf a bit, make it more funky'."
Not everyone is too impressed, though. Recently Nick Faldo, in his role as a television summariser, quipped: "It took me six major wins to get a clothing range named after me. Poulter just had to wear a silly pair of trousers."
Silly trousers maybe, but far from a daft businessman. "Keep talking about it, Nick," he laughed after being told of Faldo's comments. "You can't buy that kind of advertising - three minutes live on US television. Go for it, Nick. He can become my marketing manager if he likes."Reuse content