The Open Diary: Your essential guide to the Open 2008
Saturday 19 July 2008
Van de Velde finds poetry in the pain
Jean Van de Velde will forever be held in the affections of the British sporting public after his traumas at Carnoustie in 1999. So it has been good to see him back in action here, and not too far from contention after a 71 yesterday put him on four-over-par overall. But it is the lyricism of the Frenchman that really appeals. He talked yesterday of "the brutality of morning", and "weather out of all control" and then cast his mind back a year to his serious illness that he feared was cancer.
"I went to see my doctor, who eventually diagnosed a virus," he said. "The doctor said it was interesting. I said to him 'You think this is interesting? I have been sick five times a day for two and a half months. I am hungry but cannot eat. I don't eat but I am bloated. I feel like I am six months pregnant'."
Van de Velde added that while getting up at 4.30amfor a 6.30am start was not perhaps the most "friendly" start to the day, "I'd be happy to come down at 6.30amevery day if I could keep playing golf for many years to come."
Faldo breaks mould amid identikit fans
What is it with golf fans? Everywhere you look there's another hundred identikit mannequins in branded shoes, tank tops and caps. Thank goodness for Nick Faldo, then, spotted here dressed in Burberry, hurrying off to the practice range with four clubs. "I wouldn't say he looked chavvy," said a witness. "Not to his face, anyway. But he was about the only person in the whole place who didn't look like a golfer. And why he was off to hit balls, I have no idea."
Coke can't sign up can-shaped house
On the subject of inappropriate attire, we're glad that Coca-Cola have failed again this year in an attempt to rent one of the swankiest local houses, which happens to be shaped like a giant can. Rumour has it that those zany Coke guys have long wanted to hire it, to paint it red! Thankfully, its owner on each occasion has resisted on taste grounds. Instead, this time it's been rented by Credit Suisse. For a nicely rounded £35,000.
Norman's caddie looks like his daddy
If you think Greg Norman is pushing it at 53, check out his caddie, an American called Linn Strickler, who is 58 and looks like he could be Norman's old man. As the guy himself concedes: "They've been 58 well worn years."
The greenkeeper's cure for insomnia
The Diary has a good friend who used to work for International Cement Review, aka "the leading cement industry publication." But like the product it espoused, it got harder as time went on. Harder to muster enthusiasm, that is. Far be it for us to start belittling specialist golf literature, but we think that ICR now has a serious rival in the fight against insomnia. Step forward Greenkeeper International (July issue out now, price £5). With features including "The Contractor Factor", "Pump Stations: Simple Job, Complex Technology" and "Ride On Mower Units", you just can't go wro... zzzzzz.
Today and tomorrow: Unsettled, with showers and windy conditions throughout the day.
Maximum temperature (today): 15C. Tomorrow: 14C.
Today: Live: 10.00-17.35 BBC1; 17.35-19.30 BBC2. Highlights: 23.00-00.00 BBC2.
Today: Live: 11.00-14.30 BBC2; 14.30-19.10 BBC1. -19.30 BBC2. Highlights: 23.00-00.00 BBC2.
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