By Our team at St Andrews
The Valley of Skins
The practice days before a major are set aside for quiet preparation, careful study, meticulous fine-tuning and gambling.
The top names are playing Skins golf for big stakes
The prize fund for the tournament proper is £4m, but that
does not include the money at stake in the skins games
played from Monday to Wednesday.
The Jack Nicklaus, Kenny Perry, Tom Watson, Mike Weir
four-ball was Tuesday's high-roller game.
And they weren't playing for one of Jack's new Scottish
fivers at each hole either. Rumour has it that it was $500 a pop.
Can you keep it down, please?
The Open Championship suffers from all the major vices.
If it is not sneaky fags in non-smoking hotel rooms or
players gambling, it is hacks lubricating their writing
muscles at the Golf Writers Association dinner.
This august literary occasion - think trade union
conference meets Beaujolais Nouveau night - is a fixture
on the Tuesday of Open week.
Another fixture of Open week is the hush in the press tent
on Wednesday morning. Shhhhh, we're thinking.
No smoke without fire?
Never ones to shirk the responsibilities of investigative journalism, your BBC Open diary team took it upon themselves to uncover the culprit of "alarm-gate".
Tuesday's 4am evacuation of the St Andrews University halls after an untimely fire alarm prompted frosty looks over the frosties and whispers of the potential identity of the fag-fiend who had ensured such a rude awakening of the 200 or so residents.
And so it was, with an air of determination and vengeance, that yours truly tackled the security official on duty at breakfast time.
"Which room set off the fire alarm this morning?," I asked, bluntly and to the point.
"Yours", said the security man as he entered my room to replace the flaky system that had set off the alarm not three hours earlier.
It was, we can exclusively reveal, an electrical fault - and not a late-night bedroom smoke - which tripped the ailing system.
Gutted, we think, is the phrase.
Ian Poulter is clearly intent on putting the wham-bam into his golf this week.
Poulter wore the look of a pop star on Tuesday night when he let his highlighted hair down and enjoyed a few shandies in town with Andrew Ridgeley.
The former Wham! star was well known for wearing some dodgy trousers in his time, so it may well be that we have uncovered the inspiration behind Poulter's passion for pretentious pants.
Bagging a bargain at auction?
Aussie journeyman David Diaz offered lesson number one in the art of caddying to his new bag man after auctioning the chance of a lifetime on Ebay last week.
Diaz has already made more than £8,000 from this year's Open, the size of the winning bid when his unique auction ended on Sunday. It could turn out to be a shrewd investment for the punter who won the auction, with 10% of Diaz's prize purse due to the bagman.
But the caddy will have to earn his corn, with Diaz quite specific over what he needs from his right-hand man this week.
"I don't need a professional golfer, I just want someone who can carry the bag, pick out the good sorts in the crowd and just suck it up and enjoy the experience," he said.
From what we have seen in the bars and hotels these past couple of nights, most caddies never stop working!
Journalists fail to think on their feet
Just remember to rake the bunker after you...
Kenny Perry is not the only person foxed by the remarkably summer-like weather currently on offer at St Andrews.
Perry told reporters on Tuesday that he is not complaining
but he did not exactly come prepared for 70 degrees and sun.
Well at least one member of the BBC team on course can top
the American's packing-related predicament.
The unfortunate journalist remembered to bring seven pairs of clean socks for the week in Scotland but sadly packed only one pair of shoes ... flip-flops.
O'Hair's passport predicament
American Sean O'Hair had to rely on friends in high places to allow him to compete at St Andrews.
O'Hair qualified for the Open after winning the John Deere Classic on Sunday but he had no passport after losing his old one.
"I spent my birthday on Monday on the phone screaming at people and trying to get out here," he said. "I had no accommodation, no passport, flight, nothing at all.
"But the people at John Deere had some really good connections in the White House and somehow they got me a passport.
"I've got a lot of things working against me and I'll probably miss the ball when I get on the first tee, but I just hope I don't miss the fairway."
The dog ate my homework...
While one of our scribes was listening back to an interview with an eminent figure at St Andrews, the tape in the Dictaphone fired itself out as he changed sides.
Not usually a problem, you'd think. Bend down and pick it up. But he was sitting on a bench above the beach, and the precious missile flew down onto the sands below.
In the time it took him to reach beach level, an ugly-looking seagull had clasped the world-stopping interview in its beak and scarpered.
And you wonder why journalists sometimes get "economical with the truth".