Some things never change. The Open, thankfully, is one of them. Swinging down off the A76 and into Turnberry the spirit soars along with the mileage. At my age now, few things get me excited but here are a few…
 
1. Really great roast potatoes.
2. Elasticated waist-bands on trousers.
3. The sound of a cork coming out of a bottle.
4. The woman who’s moved in next door washing her car on a hot Sunday morning.
5. Playing proper golf on a Scottish links.
 
While waiting for the roast potato thing to happen, I ticked the links golf box early doors here at this Open. Sunday evening it was when my Guardian colleague Laurence Donegan issued a challenge for a match to be played over Girvan.
 
This delightful muni turned out to be an undiscovered joy. More joy for me than for Laurence I’m happy to report. After almost a year of alarming decline in my game I actually began to almost stripe the ball again. This is mostly thanks to Sussex teaching pro Neil Plimmer.
 
Neil does not so much teach the game as subtly encourage the old player inside many of us to re-emerge. I won’t bore you with the detail here but the idea is to try to play thoughless, thoughtful golf. I know, this is confusing but like the woman washing car scene, it works.
 
Four holes down with six to play I suddenly found the sort of form that Tiger is looking for here this week. Three birdies – I’ll repeat that, THREE BIRDIES – turned everything upside down and, glory be, I won.
 
I can’t tell you how pleased Laurence was for me. And the reason I can’t tell you this is because, frankly, he wasn’t pleased at all. It meant he had to stump up for the fish suppers except that he didn’t, as the chippies ahd closed for the evening by the time we finished and so we settled for a pint and several packets of crisps.
 
Oh, by the way, our round took two hours and 21 minutes. If only all golf was like this how happy I’d be. Especially if the roast tatties were waiting.
 
Maybe they will serve some up tonight at the Golf Writers’ annual dinner which we hold on the course in the R&A Club tent. This is always a splendid occasion with lots of drink, laughs and indiscretions. David Howell is one of the main speakers tonight so I shall keep you posted.
 
Where next?

Padraig and Tiger face the press
Fergus Bisset: The Writer Cup
2009 Open Championship betting guide