THERE is a bit of a wind theme blowing through this Open. Today is really windy, edging its way towards gale force at times. Tomorrow were told to expect more of the same with the added bonus of rain at times. It was windy at my place yesterday as well.
Those of you of a perceptive nature may have noticed that my Tuesday blog never appeared. The reason for this was that neither did I. Appear that is at The Open. No-one, of course missed me. This absence was forced on me thanks to a severe stomach virus upset thingy that kept me in my bed well, mostly in my bed until 5pm yesterday afternoon at which point I rose and eventually gingerly made my way to the Association of Golf Writers annual dinner.
Here I listened to the speakers Peter Alliss (always good), Padraig Harrington (not bad), our own Tony Stenson (a creditable effort) and finally Nick Faldo (strangely disjointed, hesitant and a bit nervous). If Nick is to make an audible mark at the Ryder Cup he is going to have to brush up on this aspect of his captaincy. In between listening to these guys I munched delicately on one piece of dry bread and drank half a dozen glasses of mildly warm water. All this for 45 quid. What a bargain.
On Monday evening I took myself to Anfield and a lavish dinner to toast Tony Jacklin and, more importantly, raise money for the Golf Foundation. I had the pleasure of sitting next to legendary Southport man Ginger McCain, owner and trainer of Red Rum, the greatest Grand National nag of all time. McCain, it turns out, is a bit of a character, rather like his horse was.
As with most of these evenings everything ended in a grand raffle. One of the prizes was a print of a painting of Red Rum that had been signed by Ginger. Having got the price up to £350 the auctioneer appealed to McCain to help him raise it further. Hang on, said the trainer. I only paid 400 for the real thing.
It was after this dinner that I fell ill. The two events may or may not be connected. Anyway, Im back in the saddle again now or at least got a one foot in a stirrup. Either way it is not the way to arrive at Birkdale. There is every sign now that this Open is going to be a real, endurance test. All the main players have been in to the Media Centre to talk to us and, naturally, they are all talking themselves up a storm.
I love this early part of Open week when no serious golf is being played and hundreds of grown up men and women listen intently to scores of others talking about how good they are at this game. It is, of course, all complete nonsense but it is entertaining enough and we need something to tell you lot what is going on.
Truth is nothing is going on. Tomorrow, however, it will be. The empty vessels can stop making so much noise, the reporters can relax and watch the action and, somewhere in Florida, T. Woods can watch the expected carnage and congratulate himself on sidestepping this Open.