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Last Updated: Friday, 20 July 2007, 08:54 GMT 09:54 UK
Open Diary
By Matt Slater and Rob Hodgetts
BBC Sport at Carnoustie


It seems we may have been a bit previous with our decision on Wednesday to declare the "Interview of the Week" competition already done and dusted.

Miguel Angel Jimenez
Jimenez was asked the tough questions after his first round

Picture the scene: it's the mix zone (sounds really cool but is in fact just a small marquee with a knee-high wooden picket fence down the middle to keep the athletes from the baying hounds of the press), the Miguel Angel Jimenez, Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson group has just finished and everybody wants a piece of them.

The Brits are frothing at the mouth about the "Lewis Hamilton of the fairways" McIlroy, the Swedes are discussing flat-fronted trousers and coffee-table nests with Stenson and the Spanish are shrugging and pulling long baleful faces with "Himmy".

The diary, being too cool to join the scrum around McIlroy and not understanding Swedish, joined the Spanish huddle and listened in to what the marvellous Malagan (is that what people from Malaga are called?) had to say.

To be honest, "the Mechanic" has been a favourite of ours ever since he gave us a thumbs-up through the window of St Andrews' Jigger Inn in 2005.

Anyway, after five minutes or so of gentle banter, which we understood every word of (Gary Lineker ain't the only BBC employee with holiday Spanish), Jimenez clearly wanted to get back to his hotel room to open a nice bottle of Rioja, stick some Iglesias on and start flicking through Top Gear.

"Miguel, uno mas, por favor!" somebody piped up.


Jimenez stopped in his tracks and turned, Bond-like, towards his inquisitor.

"What are you smoking?" came the question.

"Partagas, number four," he said with a twinkle, before adding, "Cuban, of course."

Of course! Cases of the aforementioned product (which retail at 12 a cigar) can be sent to Miguel's usual address and the Media Centre, Links Parade, Carnoustie.


Late on Thursday evening, during a Diary planning powwow, a phrase was uttered that took both people present at the meeting by complete surprise.

"I'm hearing good things about Dundee," was the statement in question. The meeting was adjourned immediately.

The home of the Discovery, the Beano and the eponymous cake still awaits us, however, as work commitments took priority. We settled for a fish supper from Carnoustie High Street's chipper (excellent, and full of American guests) and then a pint in the Kinloch Arms (which was heaving and had three bouncers outside).

It's Operation Broughty Ferry this evening, although the R&A's press officer has just been at pains to dampen our expectations about the delights on offer.

Given the rough ride the R&A has endured this week - a racism row, doping scandal and rules rumpus - we are hoping this was just effective public relations and not the precursor of a wasted journey.


While most 'fashion' watchers have focused on Ian Poulter's shameless efforts to shift his own range of olive green tartan trousers and Darren Clarke and Michael Campbell's battle to be the pinkest man in Christendom, those in the know have been looking for the real story - what are the WAGs wearing?

Amy Mickelson
Amy Mickelson is being well protected

And it seems, having stalked Amy Mickelson (this week's top WAG in Elin Woods' absence), this year's must-have accessory is a pair of enormous beefcake minders.

While hubby grinded his way to a reasonable 71 on Thursday, Amy followed loyally in white jumper, blue jeans, brown leather boots, Louis Vuitton pashmina, Gucci handbag and black sunglasses.

But what really made this ensemble work were the two large, tanned, trained killers she had on each arm.

One, the friendlier of the two, was wearing Mickelson-issue slacks, a waterproof tank top, golf shirt, baseball cap and sunnies. The sleeves of the golf shirt were barely able to get past his shoulders and totally unable to cover his Green Beret tattoo and humungous 'guns'. Paul Casey, Rafael Nadal, Charles Atlas, get back to the gym.

Setting his outfit off was the chunkiest watch the diary has ever seen on a human wrist. The strap appeared to be made of bullet cartridges.

Amy's other outrider was far more frightening. He looked like a character from Sin City meets The Sopranos. His name is probably Jimmy the Bull and Amy spent much of the afternoon whispering in his ear as if the Feds were watching through binoculars from the grandstands.

These two certainly appeared to prove the old adage that sometimes fashion hurts.


Carnoustie has its own clairvoyant and he's a caddie.

Sergio Garcia
Any mention of Garcia gives us an excuse to use a photo of "that outfit" again

Pete Maffey, the caddie master, predicted this year's Open champion in a moment of inspiration last week.

And when Sergio Garcia surged to the top of the leaderboard on Thursday, Maffey was revelling in his new role as Oracle of the Open.

"I had a dream last week, really vivid, that Sergio Garcia's name was on the Claret Jug. I told his dad," said Maffey, who used to work for Manuel Pinero, among others, and still visits the Spanish great.

"I saw his dad again today and said, 'told you so. This could be the year.'"

Garcia senior took it all in his stride. He watched with everyone else as Sergio set off full of hope in the final group with Tiger Woods last year, only to wither away in an all-lemon outfit.


Some things are not as they seem at Carnoustie. So next time you contemplate tangling with one of the on-course marshals, beware. They're not all sky-blue wearing lovable old golf club types.

A smattering of armed forces personnel have infiltrated among their number and are employed specifically to scan the crowd. (They're the ones with their backs turned to the golf.)

But one of the crack troops broke cover to reveal the terror that lurks in our midst.

Captain X, as I shall call him, though I've got his card and everything, spent last year on duty in Iraq, so is familiar with sand and bunkers.

"That was lively," said Captain X, a helicopter pilot in the Army Air Corps. "A real action holiday. And all for free. At least there are no mortars here."

The only real disturbance of note so far has come from mobile phones and camera phones, which are banned.

"The two phone incidents we've had have involved an R&A official and a player's coach, but I couldn't recognise the player because he was on the adjacent fairway."

The inclement weather and relative inaccessibility of Carnoustie has kept the crowds in check, allowing our hero to indulge in his other great passion.

Carnoustie is famous for its birdlife, and Captain X was keen to feast his eyes again on a particularly fine specimen with spectacular blonde shoulder-length plumage spotted standing by the 10th on Thursday.

"An eight-and-a-half. The winner so far," he said.


Golfers can be the most "sing when you're winning" of performers at times - Colin Montgomerie is just the most famous example. But if we highlight their bad moods we must also report their good moods.

Lee Westwood
Westwood was in good form during Thursday's opening round

Lee Westwood can get a good strop on when he wants but on Thursday he showed his chirpy, cuddly side.

Having spent most of his round smiling away and chatting with Phil Mickelson, he broke into a full-beam grin when he holed his approach to the 15th from 170 yards for an eagle.

When he reached the green, to warm applause, he milked it like a true showman, peering incredulously into the cup before delicately picking it out. He then turned to the crowd, picked a young girl and threw her the ball.

Sadly, his underarm toss was less accurate than his eight-iron and a cheeky adult snaffled the ball. Undeterred, Westwood turned back to the crowd, pointed with his club and said, "Not you, you're too old for that kind of thing."

Order was restored, the girl got her souvenir and Westwood carried on grinning. It was all really nice.

Open Diary
19 Jul 07 |  Golf
Open Diary
18 Jul 07 |  Golf
Open Diary
17 Jul 07 |  Golf


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