OPEN DIARY – SATURDAY

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In a week dominated by Gary Player’s claims about drug use in golf, Jim Furyk had another shocking revelation.

In a week dominated by Gary Player’s claims about drug use in golf, Jim Furyk had another shocking revelation.
He had a pint. In a pub.
After the aghast members of the world’s press – sober men and true every one – had picked themselves up off the floor, Furyk explained: “My wife (Tabitha) and I went to a pizza place on the high street. We were trying to grab dinner but everything was busy so we grabbed a couple of pizzas to bring back to the hotel.
“Then we saw Justin (Leonard) and Scott Verplank and a bunch of guys we knew from the States and they invited us to go out for a pint with them. They twisted our arms. Half the place was people from the golf tournament, a couple of writers, a few caddies, some players.
“We sat around and had one drink and then got back to the hotel.”
The 2003 US Open champion admitted he was surprised everyone was so interested in his social life, adding: “It’s not like I’ve never been in a pub before.
“I haven’t spent my fair share of time in them but I wasn’t in the condition quite a few of the patrons there were.”
Controversial decision
Niclas Fasth kept his hopes of Open glory alive with a second-round 69, but afterwards was still chuntering about a controversial ruling in his first round.
Fasth was deemed to be addressing his ball on the second green when it moved, therefore costing the Swede a one-stroke penalty.
The Ryder Cup player asked for a second opinion from European Tour senior referee Andy McFee, who initially seemed sympathetic to Fasth’s case but eventually backed his R&A colleague.
“It ruined my day,” said Fasth, whose bogey on the 463-yard par four became a double bogey six with the penalty. “I did not feel I should be penalised and it was a bit iffy to say the least.”
Mobile phone ban
It has not been a good week so far for the R&A, what with Fasth’s complaints, the furore over a drop for Tiger Woods, Gary Player’s claims about drug use and the ‘racist’ jokes told by one of their rules officials during an after-dinner speech on Tuesday.
So how about some welcome praise for the game’s governing body from tournament leader Sergio Garcia over the decision to ban spectators from bringing mobile phones to the course…
Last year’s event at Hoylake was disrupted by numerous incidents and Garcia was one of the principle victims, especially on the Sunday when he was out in the final group with eventual winner Tiger Woods.
The pair drew huge galleries but the constant interruption from mobiles meant both players were continually being held up and, as a result, they were put on the clock for slow play by officials.
“You don’t want to be in the last group trying to win a British Open and be on the clock because of that,” Garcia said. “I think that’s definitely an improvement. The crowds have been just amazing, I haven’t heard one phone out there.
“The R&A has done a great job on that.”
Stupid question
Prize for the most stupid question of the week at the British Open went to the reporter who foolishly asked Phil Mickelson whether he would be staying on at the weekend to watch some golf.
Lefty had just walked in with a 77 – which included a double-bogey six at the last – to finish with a six-over-par 148 total for two rounds at Carnoustie and miss the cut.
Mickelson, to his credit, was charming in response.
“Go follow the groups? Probably not – but thanks for asking,” said the world number two with a wink, no doubt mentally going through the Delta timetable at the time.
Golf foundation
Hats off to the seven players who gave up their time during the most important tournament of the year to help out the Golf Foundation at Carnoustie.
English quartet Ian Poulter, Graeme Storm, Peter Baker and Ross Fisher were all happy to take on hundreds of eager youngsters at the specially devised Tri-Golf games at the R&A Junior Golf Centre.
Portugal’s Jose-Filipe Lima and American pair Arron Oberholser and Brett Quigley also enjoyed passing on their knowledge in a break from the serious action.
Oberholser said: “Tri-Golf is a great game for these youngsters. It’s all about fun and running around and enjoying yourself. I come from a real golfing family and understand the importance of starting golf early. I was playing at the age of three!”
Mike Round, chief executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “We really are extremely grateful to every player who makes this effort to support all our work. When you see the young children’s eyes light up when they meet a top player, you can understand the positive effect these players have and how they inspire the players of the future.”

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