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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 July, 2005, 16:39 GMT 17:39 UK
Open diary - Thursday
By Our team at St Andrews

Beach cricket

BBC Sport's Matthew Slater
Our man left the ball where it was and still has a few tricks to learn
While Tiger Woods was ripping up the Old Course, one of his counterparts in the trick shot world was giving a master class of his own on St Andrews' West Sands.

Jeremy Dale, scratch golfer and PGA pro, is the world number two when it comes to clowning around with a golf club.

He demonstrated just one of his party pieces by spanking a ball, Happy Gilmour fashion, 250 yards into the North Sea.

Having been told it was "a bit like dancing down the track to a spinner and smashing him over long on", yours truly got stumped... four times in a row.

Dale, a hot favourite for the 2006 World Golf Trick Shot Championships, will be going for an Edward Scissorhands (his signature trick) world record at St Andrews Bay on Saturday.

Very simple: a long line of balls, a club in each hand, three minutes to hit as many as he can at least 30 yards in a scything fashion as he walks down the line.

The risk of knee-capping looks far too great for me to attempt this one. So I'll stick to memories of my fifth successful Happy Gilmour - a four laced past mid on.

Beige is the colour

Ray Wilkins and Gianluca Vialli
Wilkins and Vialli... or is that Vialli and Wilkins?
Few people, including golfers, play as much golf as ex-footballers.

When they're not buying Ferraris in Cheshire, playing five-a-side in Docklands or appearing in reality television programmes, they're on the course.

So it came as absolutely no surprise to me to find my view at the 13th tee blocked by not one, but two stars of recent vintage.

Dressed head to toe in beige, Chelsea buddies Gianluca Vialli and Ray Wilkins looked more like a Champions Tour boyband than a managerial double act.

Monty's fan club

Monty's fan club
The boys are backing Monty all the way

The Colin Montgomerie Appreciation Society is alive and kicking at St Andrews.

Sporting "We Love Monty" T-shirts and festooned in blonde, curly wigs, five lads from Dunblane are striving to aid Montgomerie's quest for a first major title.

The crew tracked the great Scot throughout his opening one-under 71, even appearing on TV for their exuberant birdie celebrations on the 10th.

"It's definitely benefited him already," said David Orr, 18.

Orr and the gang - Calvin Cameron, Russ and James Mungavin and Callum Lord - are convinced Monty is an "absolute legend" and were chuffed to have the big man sign their shirts after the round.

And they'll be back again on Friday. "Monty'll be expecting us," said Cameron.

Trouble is, their love may be unrequited. Last seen, Monty was flirting outrageously on the range with a "bunker babe" from a glossy golf magazine.  

Text menace

Memo to me: those big signs about not using mobile phones on the course are there for my safety.

I repeat do not attempt to power-walk down the New Course shortcut back to the press tent while writing a text message.

The sand in St Andrews' bunkers may well prevent physical injury but it is powerless against knocks to your dignity.

Todd who?

Two Scottish gentlemen were chatting on the 16th hole when one said to other: "Who's the fellow in the middle, is he Australian?"

With Retief Goosen on the left and Lee Westwood on the right that left only one option.

Step forward defending Open champion Todd Hamilton.

And he's American.

Qualifier turns food critic

Scott Gutschewski
Gutschewski is not impressed with the food on offer at St Andrews
The differences between Brits and Americans are thrown into sharp relief during British Open, sorry, Open week.

Writers have been highlighting these differences for years, and the latest to follow in the steps of Daniel Defoe and Charles Dickens is Scott Gutschewski.

The American qualifier has been sharing his first impressions of these islands in his diary for the PGA Tour website.

His first contribution to the cultural divide debate? 'We eat mushrooms for breakfast and our eggs taste funny.' Outrageous slur!

Men about town

Golfers, some of them anyway, are just like you and me. So on the eve of the Open, plenty of faces were out and about.

Darren Clarke and Colin Montgomerie popped into the Gin House for a sharpener, while Freddie 'Frappuccino' Couples opted for a well-known coffee shop.

Later, legendary gambler JP McManus chatted in the Jigger Inn as Miguel Angel Jimenez enjoyed a cheroot in the garden, waving cheerily through the window.

A certain T Woods was unsurprisingly absent, though it may just be that he was hanging out in slightly classier joints.

Tailor-made start

Rory Sabbatini's camouflage pants
Sabbatini was doing his best to blend in at St Andrews

England's Simon Dyson led a sartorial dash down the first as he hit the opening shot of the 134th Open Championship.

Dyson, resplendent in pale pink slacks, kicked off proceedings at 0630 with an iron off the tee.

Next up was Rory Sabbatini, or at least his top half, his choice of camouflage trousers disguising any evidence of actual legs.

He must have had some somewhere, though, as the pair and playing partner Mark Calcavecchia strode on their way, first-tee dignity intact.

Jacket required

Speaking of matters sartorial, John Daly has offered a plausible explanation about why he missed the traditional eve-of-Open champions' dinner at St Andrews.

The 1995 Open winner was notable by his absence from a glittering gathering which included Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros, Peter Thomson, Bob Charles and Gary Player.

"I didn't bring a coat or anything," confessed Daly, presumably referring to his tuxedo. "You can't get a coat and a tie on this fat boy!"

Less plausibly, the larger-than-life 'Wild Thing', added: "I'm not into the dinners, man."

Obviously, he was talking about formal dining occasions.

Open diary
13 Jul 05 |  Golf
Open diary
12 Jul 05 |  Golf

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