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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 July, 2003, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Wednesday's Open diary
By Matthew Slater and Ed King
BBC Sport at the Open

Gangstas 1-0 BBC

Wayne Grady
Grady: A dab hand with barbecue tongs

For some Open week starts with final qualifying, for others it is the moment the first player drives off on Thursday morning.

But for the hungry hordes from the BBC it is undoubtedly Tuesday evening's annual barbecue.

But this year's cook-out at the BBC commentators' always well-appointed hideaway had some unexpected competition for the title of Sandwich's hottest Tuesday night ticket (usually held by the Kings Arms' pub quiz).

Everything started smoothly enough.

With Mozart's fifth symphony providing a soothing soundtrack, occasional golfer and full-time barbecue chef Wayne Grady was putting on a masterclass with his tongs and basting brush, BBC stalwart Alex Hay was impressing guests with his exploding sausages act and the Pimm's and lemonade was flowing freely.

But then, out of the blue, Mozart was hijacked by the more strident tones of what is popularly known as "gangsta rap".

Oakley, the cool person's sunglasses manufacturer, had also chosen Tuesday for their pre-Open bash, and thanks to Snoop Doggy Dog and 50 Cent, its party was winning the battle of the sound systems.

So while Oakley guests Justin Rose and Michael Campbell were able to enjoy the vocal stylings of Messrs Dog and Cent unhindered by Mozart's more considered approach, Hay was left wondering exactly what getting "jiggy" meant.

Roundabout rage

Jay Haas
Jay Haas should stick to driving on the golf course

It is well known that many American players find these annual visits to the home of golf about as appetising as many of us view Christmas with the in-laws.

The wind, the funny bounces, the rough, the concrete greens - I'm talking about the golf now, not Christmas - tend to have the same effect on American golfers that "foreign" food has on British tourists: it's OK, but I wouldn't want it every day.

Jay Haas has in the past been a good example of the reluctant PGA Tourist, playing only eight Opens in 27 years as a professional.

But it seems that the 49-year-old Haas is starting to acquire the taste that is the Open, although he still can't work out why British hotels do not have air-conditioning.

After a good season at home, Haas is confident he can improve his best-ever Open finish of a tie for 19th in 1983.

That's not to say he has got to grips with all the Open's unique challenges, however.

"It's my ninth time here but I have already blown a tyre by hitting the kerb," he said.

"And I still can't figure those roundabouts," Haas said. "My wife is terrified when we drive down these roads on the wrong side."

He didn't make it clear if he was driving on the right or the left, but we knew what he meant.

Creature comforts

Anna Ryder Richardson
Changing Rooms is a hit with the press corps

While world number one Tiger Woods is safely cocooned in a gated mansion called, appropriately enough, The White House, the ladies and gentlemen of the press will spend most of the next four days herded into a large plastic tent with a micro-climate like a rain forest.

It's not all torrential downpours, midges and headaches, though. The world's media have so far been able to enjoy a rich diet of daytime entertainment on the press tent's enormous plasma screen televisions.

A quick-straw poll of our immediate neighbours reveals that Anna Ryder Richardson was the most interesting viewing, although there is a lot of late backing for David Dickinson.

It is almost a shame that the golf has to start.

Ask a stupid question...

Wednesday's practice session at the Open clearly applies to more than just the players - the hacks are finding their feet, too.

So for that reason, and that reason only, will we excuse the gentleman journalist who asked Sergio Garcia if he had a reaction to David Beckham's transfer to Real Madrid.

Garcia may well be a Real fan, but surely we have all written enough about Senor Beckham for one summer.

Garcia, for his part, handled the enquiry with aplomb - finding just the right words to say, "Yes, Becks is a good signing. No, I don't want to talk about football anymore."

But he completely ignored my question about whether the British Government lied about the Iraqi arms programme. No matter, Shigeki Maruyama is in next, I'll ask him.

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