Whatever you do today do not accept an invitation to the Calcavecchia household for dinner, its unlikely to be an evening full of roaring laughter and happy banter.
You may or may not have heard (I would guess the former) that the weather was the south side of unpleasant this morning at Royal Birkdale and as you might well expect with the wind howling and the rain lashing, Mrs Calcavecchia took one look out of her net curtains, shook her head and turned over. Fair enough, surely, its a womans prerogative I can hear you and Germaine Greer shouting. Well, yes but the only slight snag here was that the woman in question had agreed to carry her husbands bag.
The eruption that ensued when the former Open champion found out that his better half actually didnt fancy pulling on the waterproofs and hoisting his bag on her shoulder for 5 hours of misery, could be heard in Southend, let alone the rest of Southport. For better or for worse, Mark.
Unfortunately though things got worse for the big man on the 1st tee when, having found a local laddie who was prepared to brave the weather, Calcavecchia proceeded to batter his tee-shot way right and turned to his new found partner expecting him to know exactly where his ball was only to find the poor man busy cleaning the sand iron. Not a happy American bunny. In the circumstances a 76 was not a bad result but not good enough to save Mrs Calcavecchia I fear.
As many have pointed out already, its not been a day to be a caddie and as such I have been keeping a firm eye on the men and occasional women in white. An early spot found that Greg Normans bagman, Linn Strickler, is surely past the age of retirement. Norman himself is no spring chicken but so worried was I about Mr Stricklers chances of lugging the tour bag round 18 without suffering a heart attack that I was tempted to alert Norman to the fact that as it had stopped raining Mrs Calcavecchia might be prepared to step into the void.
Fellow Aussie and my secret (well not anymore I suppose) top tip for this week, Rodney Pampling, was suffering no such trouble as he and his fit, young and keen caddie strolled purposefully through the car park towards the 1st tee with no thoughts of bed or cardiac arrests. However, even this personable young man didnt escape unharmed from what is clearly a caddie curse. No sooner had he steered his man towards a group of patiently waiting kids, seemingly desperate to have some contact with their heroes, than the brashest of the little brats hollered at some decibels: Who the hell are you?
Not the sort of confidence boost you want before hitting your first shot in the Open I imagine and Rod seemed to agree, giving his caddie the venomous stare that he no doubt wanted to direct at the little cherub. The caddie looked sheepishly to the sky and perhaps thought enviously of Mrs Calcavecchia still tucked up in bed.
Who would be a caddie hey?