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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 July 2007, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
Open Diary
By Matt Slater and Rob Hodgetts
BBC Sport at Carnoustie

SO WHO DO YOU WANT TO WIN?

Whereas previous Opens have had the duo dressed as Jesper Parnevik and the bewigged Monty maniacs, this year's tournament has been a little bit light on the comedy fan front.

The Birchwood Garcia fans
The sextet have made their mark at Carnoustie

The closest thing we have this week in Carnoustie is Garcia's gang, six lads from Birchwood Golf Club in Warrington who, if they stand in the right order, spell S.E.R.G.I.O. with the big black letters printed on their yellow t-shirts.

Those shirts also now have their hero's signature on them, and their hero's dad's.

"He loves them and said he was made up that we are out here cheering for him," said "R", or Paul Rigby, as his mother knows him.

The rest of the anagram are: S, Dan Joyce; E, Dan Creaney; G, Ben Slater; I, Graham Truesdale and O, Nick Dee. Joyce and Dee are the bookends as they are the tallest.

The lads, aged between 15 and 18, like the sparky Spaniard because "he really goes for it" and he's "cool".

Having seen their favourite falter at Hoylake last year, the Birchwood massive are praying for better things this weekend. And the way their man has started his third round they have every chance of finding their photograph in every British newspaper come Monday.

THE DAVID HOWELL TAPES, PART II

After our earlier exchange with the "son of Swindon" David Howell (see Wednesday's diary), we thought we should try a different tack in our line of questioning the next time our paths crossed.

David Howell
Howell was not prepared for his Diary grilling at Carnoustie

While avoiding the yes/no question sand trap, we had perhaps given him a little too much green to play with. A second interview would be far more testing.

Like Joe Pesci with a pair of pliers and a vice, we would get the answers we wanted from "Howeller" eventually.

"David, David, can I ask you just one quick question?" we enquired as Howell walked slightly faster towards the car park.

"Yes," the Englishman replied, clearly delighted to make his first Open cut since 1999.

"David, you are often referred to as the nicest man in golf," we started.

MY SPORT: DEBATE

"Am I? Oh. No you can't ask a *%$ing question then," he said.

"Very good. OK, if you're not the nicest man in golf, who is?" we tried again.

"Ah, there are so many. I wouldn't want to pick just one."

"Oh go on. How about a top 10?"

"I can't."

"A top three?"

"I can't. I'm just too nice."

WOODS WARMERS, KONDO CRYSTALS

Caddies, as we have previously discussed, are absolutely vital for the modern professional golfer. Sports psychologist, cheerleader, dinner partner, entertainer, bodyguard - you name it, today's "looper" does it all. They even carry the clubs.

I read somewhere that KJ Choi's bagman, Andy Prodger, "is worth a shot a round" to his man, which sounds a bit unfair on the others but there you have it.

Tiger Woods
A world number one needs to keep his hands warm you know

But there is another less celebrated role the caddie must perform, it is the essential function of personal shopper.

The top pros cannot possibly go shopping or even dress themselves, oh no. They send their man off to do that.

So when Tiger Woods arrived at the course on Thursday and realised that the Scottish summer had this year fallen on Tuesday, he ordered Steve Williams across the street to Simpson's Golf Shop.

There, Williams purchased a pair of those enormous oven gloves his boss has been wearing between shots this week. The big Kiwi was served by Susan, just one of the lovely ladies at 6 Links Parade, and apparently he was "very nice" and did not ask for a discount.

It was a busy day for caddies in Simpson's - Japanese debutant Tomohiro Kondo was in there also and needed his helper's linguistic skills to negotiate the purchase of some Carnoustie crystal whiskey glasses.

They were both "lovely" too - Kondo and his caddie, not the glasses. Not that there is anything wrong with them - oh, you know what we mean.

WHERE IT'S AT - AN UPDATE

Having stuck our noses through the doors of each and every drinking den and eating establishment in Carnoustie this week, we moved our search for thrills, spills and bellyaches to Broughty Ferry.

The first time somebody mentioned this to us we thought this was another of Bryan's children, perhaps a leggy, raven-haired daughter of his. Imagine our surprise when we discovered that it is in fact a suburb of Dundee.

Anyway, we dined in a very expensive curry house last night - too expensive for the players, by all accounts - and then thought about popping in to Jolly's for a night cap only to decide there may be rather too much life in there for our liking.

Many of the American golfers, it turns out, have actually been dining far closer to their Carnoustie Golf Course Hotel HQ.

If you want to see a golfer up close and personal this weekend and cannot afford the 50 sheets required to get through the gates here, the Titanic Pizza Company on Carnoustie High Street is your best bet.

So far this week it has become a small outpost of the PGA Tour. Chad Campbell, Charlie Howell, Brett Quigley, Steve Stricker and Vaughn Taylor are just some of the Yanks that have been in for a pie. And they have all autographed the wall.

Justin Leonard was in there too but they were too busy taking orders from his mates to get him to add his mark. Much more of this and PGA Tour supremo Tim Finchem will want a slice of the action.

What are they ordering? American hots, obviously.

Some of them, apparently, have been in there twice a day. And to think one of our colleagues picked us up earlier this week for describing golfers as athletes.

CUTTING IT FINE

Australia's Won Joon Lee sparked all sorts of controversy and gnashing of teeth as he added the finishing touches to his second round in the gloom on Friday.

Won Joon Lee
Won Joon Lee was centre of attention late on Friday night

Lee, in the last group still out, was poised at three-under-par going up the last, and held the destiny of many players in his hands.

Colin Montgomerie and Paul Lawrie, to name but two, were on tenterhooks. With the top 70 and ties making it to the weekend, a double-bogey six from Lee would drop the cut to five over, meaning that the home favourites would scrape in.

With no TV coverage, little huddles of pressmen were crowded around the official scoring computers in the media tent, stories dependant on the outcome.

"It's like watching your team go through a penalty shoot-out on Ceefax," said a Scottish hack.

Eventually, at 2121 BST, a little green number five flicked up on the screen. A bogey, so the cut was four over. Monty and Lawrie were no more and the pressmen scuttled off to file.

But the official Open Championship website was showing the cut at five over. Confusion reigned. A host of players and caddies contacted journalists to verify the news.

Had we missed something? Then the penny dropped - the website hadn't factored the amateur Rory McIlroy into the equation.

In normal Tour events, an amateur making the cut doesn't count in terms of numbers, so ignoring McIlroy would have meant the cut was five over. But this being an Open, McIlroy counts, hence he's included in the top 70 and ties.

"Unbelievable," said betting guru Angus Loughran.

JUST FOR LAUGHS

US-based Swede Carl Pettersson gave diary an exclusive glimpse into why he and his caddie are known as the funniest combo on Tour.

Carl Pettersson
Funnyman Pettersson enjoys a joke with his caddie

Pettersson slumped to a second-round 75, but despite finishing with a double-bogey six he displayed impressive good humour even to tolerate clowns like us.

"Who's your favourite comedian Carl?"

"My caddie Grant Berry. He's good, he keeps me loose. He should do some stand-up stuff. He's been a caddie for 20 years. But he's just as funny as he is a good caddie.

"But it wasn't very funny today."

"Do you know any good jokes?"

"Not right now. I'm not actually that funny. It's just when I'm around him."

GUARDING THE TIGER

Debate has been raging between at least two people here at Carnoustie about who has the best job at the Open.

Obviously, being a player and getting truck loads of cash for doing your hobby is number one, but that doesn't count. And being a caddie is pretty good, too, for carrying the clubs of a man doing your hobby, and for slightly smaller trucks - vans - of loot.

After that, though, it's up for grabs. But one man you wouldn't want to argue with is one of Tiger Woods's on-course bodyguards for the week.

"I reckon I've got the best &$%& job here," he growled at diary.

"You have, you have," we replied quickly, bowing slightly. "And how is Tiger? Behaving himself? Giving you any grief?"

"He wouldn't *%$ing dare," said muscles.

No, quite.

In fact, the only thing that seemed to scare him was the prospect of a washout and a 1988 Royal Lytham-style return to finish the tournament on Monday.

"That can't happen. I've got to go back to work."



SEE ALSO
Open Diary
20 Jul 07 |  Golf
Open Diary
19 Jul 07 |  Golf
Open Diary
18 Jul 07 |  Golf
Open Diary
17 Jul 07 |  Golf


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