So much fun stuff to read what with the R&A stumbling all over itself and Gary Player making news. Oh, and the Open Championship starts today, too.
Regarding the matter at hand, GolfDigest's Mike O'Malley gives us a heads up on the O.B. close to 18 green, which I seem to remember was an issue in 1999 as well (but I still can't picture the all time greatest shot ever that Paul Lawrie spoke of).
The Golf Digest writers make their picks, including Boredom and Giggle who are going semi-retro (2003) by picking Padraig and Els.
James Lawton considers Nick Faldo's press conference and his assertion that today's players are a bit soft.
Paul Kelso in The Guardian notes this from Faldo's media gathering:
Nick Faldo, left, was celebrating his 50th birthday yesterday and, although he joked that he had received only one present, it seems there are some gifts he can do without. After his press conference yesterday he was offered a signed copy of a new biography of Colin Montgomerie, his one-time European Ryder Cup partner. Deciding apparently that the Faldo bookshelves were already full, the six-times major champion neglected to take the book with him when he left.
Speaking of our favorite car washer, Steve Bierley calls Monty the "grand illusionist" in laughing off the Scot's newfound optimism while Lorne Rubenstein recounts some of Monty's classic Jekyl and Hyde moments.
Sergio Garcia wishes things were firmer and faster, but the weather forecast doesn't look like it's going to help matters. And judging by the photos at golf.com, it was a miserable final practice round.
John Huggan considers what things would be like with Ben Hogan returning to Carnoustie in 2007.
John Hawkins wonders what's up with David Duval, updates his whereabouts (should you care) and shares this anecdote from Duval's 2001 Open win:
After he won the '01 British, Duval let me accompany him back to the house he had rented for the week in northwest England. What struck me about that hour was the utter lack of joy exhibited by anyone in the traveling party, particularly the latest owner of the claret jug. They had a plane to catch and bags to pack, but if you had walked into that house 20 minutes into the process, you would have sworn Duval finished tied for 35th.
John Garrity visits Rhod McEwan's merchandise tent bookstore. They sell books? Why, that might compete with hat sales here in the States.
However, Mr Brown, who was attending the dinner in a private capacity, shocked the gathering with a speech described by those listening as "offensive and racist". He joked about Japanese players all looking the same, referring to them as "Nips", and about a black taxi driver in a Deep South accent. Diners were left with their heads in their hands as he launched into another ill-judged story about a deaf golfer playing against an opponent with a cleft palate. "He went down like a lead balloon," said one guest. "It was like a Bernard Manning tribute night," said another.
Sadly, the Principal has not weighed in yet.
James Corrigan offers the best summary of Gary Player's comments on possible drug use along with plenty of player reaction (They're shocked, saddened and of course don't think they know of anyone doing anything sinister because they're family men who are playing a game of honor...yada, yada. Alan Shipnuck thankfully agrees that such a response is getting old.).
In the transcript of Player's press conference, note that he called it a "wonderful question" before beginning his gabfest, so he clearly was waiting to be asked about this.
And finally, Kelso's Guardian account shared this from Ernie Els in response to Player's claims:
Els, who is one of the favourites this week, was surprised at his compatriot's assertion. "Holy shit. I know I'm not. But if he knows it, he knows something I don't. There is a list of substances they ban. I take Advil for pains and discomfort and anti-inflammatories and something for my knee when it gets damp, and I take Guinness."