The Open Diary: What would Old Tom think about Tiger?
Friday 16 July 2010
The winner here on Sunday evening will receive not only a Claret Jug but also a belt. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the game's oldest major, Prestwick Golf Club, the venue for the very first Open Championship, will award the champion a replica of the Championship Belt which hangs in the Royal and Ancient clubhouse at St Andrews.
It was not until the 12th year of the tournament that the Claret Jug was commissioned and then only because Young Tom Morris had won the red Morocco belt outright with his three victories. Prestwick made a similar gesture for the 125th anniversary in 1985 when Sandy Lyle was the recipient on that occasion. "It's a great idea," said the Scot. "It certainly made my victory seem even more special."
Alas, not everyone is so enthused by the idea. In fact, the great, great grandson of Old Tom – Young Tom's father – finds the thought of it going to Tiger Woods appalling. Melvyn Morrow has written to Prestwick demanding them to hold back the honour if Woods prevails.
"It's not about his ladies or private problem; it's his course conduct that I am totally against," so Morrow told The Scotsman. "It's his language and course etiquette. Such language is bad enough for a pro, but to throw his clubs when spectators are close by is not acceptable."
But Prestwick are standing firm and insist they will present it to Woods if he wins. Then again, that may be easier said than done. The word is that Elin tried to give him a belt and was unsuccessful.
Brolly poor show
Anna Cladakis, John Daly's girlfriend, refused to put her umbrella down behind the 17th green yesterday. When told it was blocking the galleries' view of her beau she shrugged her shoulders. "But it's not raining," said the journalist. "No, but it's misty," replied the former Hooters waitress. The supporters should count themselves lucky. At last week's Scottish Open, Ms Cladakis was caught with a rucksack trying to sell Daly merchandise to fans. A hat was £15, a ball was £10. She claimed it was all for charity – the European Tour asked her to stop anyway. Daly owes $1m to the American taxman.
Tiger a target for mockery
John Inverdale, the BBC presenter, provoked raucous laughter in the R&A tent at the Sportsman's Dinner on Wednesday when taking the mick out of Tiger Woods. Tony Jacklin, the honoured guest at the charity function for Seve Ballesteros's brain cancer charity, told the evening's compère, "I'm pulling for Tiger this week." Inverdale interjected: "I don't think Tiger needs anyone to do his pulling for him."
Going out with a party
Those generous folks at the magazine Golf Punk are holding a "Miss The Cut Party" tonight at the St Andrews public house they have made their headquarters for this week. Any players who do see their dreams crash down around them today are being invited to attend The Rule – and drown their sorrows for free. The fans can also join with the gallows humour. The first 165 attendees last night were asked to pick a player out of the hat. If their man misses the cut they also get to drink free. So if you hear one lonely cheer when Colin Montgomerie three-putts the last you will know the reason.
Five stars come good
The Five Live commentary booth is rapidly becoming the recovery centre for the struggling pro. Three weeks after Graeme McDowell credited working for the radio station at the 2006 Ryder Cup with turning around his career – "I was there with that microphone in my hand wondering 'Where did it all go wrong?'" said the US Open champion – Andrew Coltart admitted to a similar epiphany. The Scot spent the last two Opens as an analyst. "It's inspirational stuff being here watching these guys play in these majors, and it helped to get me up to get back out here," he said. "It's better than standing in the rain, beating balls trying to improve." A ringing endorsement, indeed.
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