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Last Updated: Friday, 18 July, 2003, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
Friday's Open diary
By Matthew Slater
BBC Sport at the Open

Tiger's ball mystery solved

While Tiger Woods is about 3 down after losing his ball in the rough on the first hole on Thursday, course marshal Terry Bennett is reported to be several grand up after finding it.

Tiger Woods searches for his ball on the first hole
A cast of thousands failed to find Woods' ball

Retired fireman Bennett inadvertantly trod on an object in the thick grass to the right of the first fairway which bore Woods' signature.

The 52-year-old succeeded where a phalanx of ball spotters, including Woods himself, and the entire gallery lining the hole, had failed hours earlier.

"I was patrolling that area anyway as a ball spotter. I wasn't actually looking for it. I just trod on it," Bennett told BBC Radio Five Live.

"It was a Nike ball, marked with his name and with a black line on it that he uses.

"I took it home and then a certain newspaper contacted me and made me an offer which I accepted.

"I'd rather not say how much, but it was more than a day's wages.

"I was tempted to keep it but it's not a lot of use and I'd rather have the money."

Indeed. Sources suggest The Sun crossed Bennett's palm to the tune of 8,000 for the ball and his story.

Caught short

Golfers offer lots of excuses for dropping shots, but few are as good, or honest, as Gary Wolstenholme's.

The British amateur champion bogeyed the par-five 14th despite hitting a good drive. The reason? A rushed second shot.

"I just wanted to go to the toilet. I wanted to get it over and done with as quickly as possible," said Wolstenholme.

"You have to learn in this pro game that you can't just go for a, you know, whatever you call it politely.

"Hopefully I won't do that again, but there aren't many Portaloos out there."

So there you have it - the pro game is all about having a strong bladder and sound course management.

Character search update

Overheard at the putting green when it was announced that Steve Elkington, who shot an 86 on Thursday, was withdrawing with a sore shoulder: "Has anybody ever pulled out after shooting a good score?"

The diary will look into it - just as soon as we have found some of the "character" golf is supposed to be missing these days.

Ask a stupid question, part II

Phil Mickelson
Mickelson was convinced he had driven well

This will come as no surprise to professional golfers, but the journalists who ask them questions about their rounds haven't necessarily seen all or even any of that round.

Take Thursday's exchange on the 18th between an esteemed colleague and Phil Mickelson.

Hack: "Your driving didn't seem to be at its best today?"

Mickelson: "I drove it great today and to say I didn't is ridiculous."

It will come as no surprise to you that the interview never really took off after that. And no, the hack wasn't me.

Breakfast blues

So far, so good - we've had breakfast in the press tent and there were no major catastrophes.

They ran out of baked beans and muesli - separately, they're not offering them as a combination - and the toast was a little hard, but there were no falls, slips or stumbles.

Links to more Daily Diary stories


Course marshal Terry Bennett
"I was offered more than a day's wages for it"






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