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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 July, 2003, 10:49 GMT 11:49 UK
Saturday's Open diary
By Matthew Slater
BBC Sport at the Open

Jesper's strides spell woe for Roe

Mark Roe and Jesper Parnevik
Roe: "Jesper wore the wrong trousers!"
I knew this Scandinavian fad for matching cricket trousers with brightly coloured sleeveless jumpers and crazy headgear would end in tears.

It just doesn't seem right that the victim of these crimes against taste should be the sensibly-attired Mark Roe.

The 39-year-old Englishman was sensationally disqualified from the Open only minutes after carding possibly the best round of his life. Roe's 67, the equal low score of the day, had fired him up the leaderboard to a tie for third at one over par.

But before he could start to think about playing in a late group on the final day of golf's biggest event, Roe and playing partner Jesper Parnevik were DQ-ed for failing to swap score cards on the 1st tee.

When asked by journalists if anything happened on the tee that could have distracted him, the remarkably stoic Roe said: "Well, there was one thing. I just could not believe the colour of Jesper's trousers. What an outfit!"

So there you have it, it's another case of British achievement being brought down by foreign chicanery.


Open whisker war

The diary is a well-known source of support for social campaigners, so a request for help from the Beard Liberation Front came as no surprise to me.

What did surprise was the nature of their gripe: apparently, wearers of beards are banned from playing at the Open.

I say apparently because I can find no reference to facial hair in the R&A handbook, and I'm sure that kind of thing would be almost as unfair as, well, not letting women into the clubhouse.

We believe facial hair can work with air currents to improve golfers' play
Ken Flett
Beard Liberation Front

But a flick through the official programme suggests the BLF - not to be confused with the Liberation Front for Beards...splitters - might be on to something.

The 'informal network of beard wearers' is not willing to take this kind of prejudice on the chin any longer.

BLF organiser Keith Flett has decided to launch a hunt for the most clean-shaven golfer at this year's Open in a bid to draw attention to their cause.

Flett said: "In past years we have run a Beard of the Open award, but it is hard going.

"Even golfers who sometimes sport beards, like Tiger Woods, shave them off for the Open such is the pressure of the beard ban.

"We believe facial hair can work with air currents to improve golfers' play."

While the diary remains unconvinced of the BLF's science - and will ignore Ian Poulter's fashionable facial hair for the sake of argument - it backs the substance of the campaign and is sorry that it missed last month's mass beard waggle in honour of Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis.

A winner will be announced on Sunday, I'll keep you posted.


Tabloid lies, part 267,438

The 7th hole at Sandwich
More than just golf going on at the 7th?
Investigative journalism takes many different forms.

Sometimes it is trawling through people's bins, sometimes it is going undercover with dangerous criminals. But some other times it is just hanging around waiting for something to happen.

And it was the latter technique that your diarist was employing last night when he was sitting on the grandstand by the 7th green waiting for a repeat of the sexual shenanigans The Sun claimed to have seen on Thursday evening.

Nothing, not even a suggestive look.

That said I am willing to try the grandstand by the 15th tonight.

Investigative journalism is like that, sometimes you have to be part of the story.


Character search update

The subject of the lack of 'characters' at this year's Open continues to occasionally crop up in small talk in the press tent.

Charles Challen
I'm a red wine drinker so I'm going to get right into it tonight
Charles Challen

While the diary remains unconvinced that golfers of yesteryear were any more charming or dashing than today's crop, it is annoyed that the young guard seem to have confused dressing like an idiot with being interesting.

With most of the Scandinavians strolling around looking like members of Swedish pop combo Junior Senior, and Poulter attempting to out-Beckham Becks in the battle of the barnet, I would much prefer it if somebody just played with a smile, waved to the crowd and gave good copy.

So it was with particular sorrow that I bade farewell to Open debutant Charles Challen when the 28-year-old Englishman spectacularly failed to make Friday's cut.

Dead last after two testing days at Royal St George's that left him 31 over par, Challen still managed to look like he was enjoying himself, and the cheer he got for a huge par putt on 16 was surely the biggest of his career.

When asked what he was going to do next, Challen said: "I'm a red wine drinker so I'm going to get right into it tonight."

Charles, when will we see your like again?


Stupid question, part three

While several leading golfers failed to cover themselves in glory over the first few days of competition at Sandwich, the ladies and gentlemen of the press also continue to struggle at the tough Kent links.

Friday's least sparkling piece of wordplay came when Nick Price stopped to talk to a howling - the collective noun - of hacks beside the 18th green.

Hack: "So Nick, you finished five over?"

Price: "No, four."

Hack: "That's very good, isn't it?"

Price: "Thank you."

The Pullitzer Prize is in the post.



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VOTE RESULTS
Who is to blame for the scorecard mix-up that saw Mark Roe and Jesper Parnevik disqualified?
Roe and Parnevik
 40.25% 
The scorers
 25.35% 
Everyone
 34.40% 
8352 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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