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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 July, 2004, 08:04 GMT 09:04 UK
Thursday's Open Diary
By Jamie Lillywhite and Rob Hodgetts
BBC Sport at Troon

Peter O'Malley drives off the first tee to start the 2004 Open
Peter O'Malley drives off the first tee to start the 2004 Open
Calm conditions greeted the players as the action got underway at 0630 BST.

Legendary starter Ivor Robson welcomed an enthusiastic gallery and there was barely a breath of wind as Peter O'Malley struck the first shot.

The Firth of Clyde glinted in the early morning sunshine and there was a quiet buzz of anticipation amongst the crowd.

As Gary Evans launched the second drive away, the only sound across the panoramic setting came from a flock of seagulls looking for some breakfast.

The players were not the only ones up and about at the crack of dawn.

The "gallery gurus" also started early, with one deep West Country burr admonishing Tom Weiskopf well before 0700.

The big American found the rough with his opening iron shot, only to be told off by our son of Somerset for not taking a driver and finding the long grass further up the hole.

You felt you had to side with the experience and knowledge of the 1973 champion. Until he took four to get out of the greenside bunker.

Ian Poulter shows off his trousers before starting his first round
Ian Poulter has upped the ante a couple of notches in the current trend for flamboyant golfwear.

Not content with a discreet St George's cross on his bag, the Englishman took patriotism to a new level with a dazzling pair of Union Jack strides.

The new garb has rocketed Poulter to the top of the sartorial leaderboard, above even colourful Swede Jesper Parnevik and recent convert Darren Clarke.

Knitwear companies favoured by Ronnie Corbett would be shocked. But we say get Poulter on the case for the Ryder Cup uniform.

Naked male flesh, knees pulled up around the ears, gentle groaning and special machines that suck.

Nothing sinister here, just a typical scene in the Red Bull Physio Van, a standard fixture on Tour.

Players can pop in to work out, limber up, receive physiotherapy and massage and get attention on anything from sore fingers to broken legs.

"About 40% of the field will visit us every day during the week," said Guy Delacave, the Belgian boss.

"Spine problems form over 60% of our work, followed by wrists and then shoulders. But we have seen broken legs. Once, one of our staff had to rush out to treat a top European star on the course.

"Unfortunately, the television cameras caught the pair in the bushes, with the player in an uncompromising position with his pants down. We were watching the screen doubled up with laughter."

American Chris DiMarco attempted to explain the reasons behind his late arrival, but only really succeeded in creating further nebulous intrigue.

DiMarco only arrived at the course at 1815 BST on Wednesday evening.

"There was a blanket in the toilet on the first flight and they ended up cancelling and kicking us off at four in the morning," he said.

"On the next flight at 0900 they had us on but then the electricity went off so we didn't get on that one until 0100."

Highlights: First round

See the experts' verdict on Royal Troon

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