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Blanking Tiger and Cinking some BBQ

Tiger Woods smiling to his fans

It is now just 24 hours until The 148th Open finally gets underway and Tuesday saw the players continuing their preparations on Practice Day 3.

As usual, Royal Portrush was awash with stories and quirky goings-on and The Open Notebook is here to guide you through some of the more left-field happenings.

Brooks blanks Tiger

Every golf fan, and most players, would relish the opportunity to spend some time with Tiger Woods but Brooks Koepka is cut from a different cloth.

Three-time Champion Golfer Woods admitted on Tuesday he would have liked to have a practice round with man-of-the-moment Koepka and his caddie Ricky Elliott, who is a Portrush native.

But – probably correctly surmising that a rival was eager to utilise Elliott’s local knowledge – Koepka ghosted the 43-year-old, leaving his texts unanswered.

"I'll tell you a funny story. I texted Brooksie, congratulations on another great finish," explained Woods. "What he's done in the last four major championships has been just unbelievable.

"To be so consistent, so solid. He's been in contention to win each and every major championship. And I said, 'Hey, dude, do you mind if I tag along and play a practice round?' I've heard nothing."

Even one of the all-time greats can get blanked apparently.

Tiger sipping that sweet Guinness

Woods was in good form during his Tuesday press conference and even revealed a penchant for the classic Irish nectar.

When asked by a journalist if he’d had a sip of the local Guinness in Portrush, the American’s answer was part-professional, part-nostalgic…

“This week? No, not this week. In the past...mhmmm.”

Stewart Cinks some BBQ

The Claret Jug has seen some sights over the years and a decade on from becoming Champion Golfer of the Year, Stewart Cink has revealed what went on while he was in possession of the trophy in a video for Open TV.

Let’s just say it involves some BBQ sauce and a miscommunication over who was supposed to be on cleaning duty…

Veteran autograph hunters

The Open attracts plenty of superfans every year – drawn to the unique atmosphere golf’s original championship provides.

On that note, meet Randall from Kentucky, USA. He has been coming to The Open for years and collects autographs... like these from a whole heap of Champion Golfers, including Stewart Cink added this year. Good going Randall.

Randall from Kentucky holding a signed Open flag

It’s just not cricket for Rosey

England’s dramatic Cricket World Cup success over New Zealand on Sunday gripped the sporting world and enraptured plenty of children all over the UK – including Justin Rose’s 10-year-old son Leo.

“I have my family here this week,” explained Rose. “My little boy has suddenly gone cricket mad, after the World Cup.

“He's in the garden until the sun goes down. He says, ‘Dad, can you bowl a few at me?’ That kind of thing.”

Leo’s sudden affinity to another sport must sting slightly for Rose, who was then asked whether his ambition is to play well enough at Portrush to encourage his son to pick up a golf club rather than a cricket bat.

“That would be nice for sure,” smiled the 2013 US Open champion. “Although it's proved quite difficult, to be honest.”

Perhaps all dads – even major-winning golfers – are uncool to their kids…

Woodland’s potential mad dash

US Open champion Gary Woodland may have something other than golf on his mind this week, with wife Gabby back home in Florida awaiting the birth of twin girls, who are due in a fortnight.

The newest major winner contemplated not competing at The Open this week but after opting in, he’s hoping to avoid a mad dash across the Atlantic midway through the Championship…

“I’m pretty confident they're not going to come this week,” said Woodland, before starting to sound less sure. “But you never know. I'm hoping that's the case…

“It would be a little tough if they came right now, I'm not going to be able to get home. But she's hanging in there!”

DJ and Lefty bag some early silverware

The Open hasn’t even started yet but Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson have their first trophies of the week in the bag already.

In a pair of press conferences on Tuesday, 49-year-old Mickelson – who lost more than a stone in weight recently after undergoing a ‘six-day fast’ – was given an award for spending 25 consecutive years in the top 50 of the official world golf rankings.

Johnson was then presented with the 2018 McCormack Award for the most weeks spent at world No.1, following a 35-week spell atop the rankings.

Now to add the Claret Jug.

Koepka overshadowed

Having won four of the last nine majors he’s competed in, and finished in the top six at three others, Brooks Koepka is one of the most famous golfers in the world.

But at The 148th Open, he’s not even the most well-known man in his playing group – thanks to Portrush native caddie Ricky Elliott…

“He should be more famous than me in this neck of the woods, having lived here for all these years,” conceded Koepka. “He’s a bit of a Portrush legend.”

Tyrrell’s feeling aces

It may have only have been a practice round but Tyrrell Hatton has his radar locked in already.

Playing the 194-yard 13th hole on Tuesday morning, the Englishman took an iron and delivered a perfect strike into the heart of the green that rolled exquisitely into the cup for a hole in one, to the delight of the cheering crowd.

Now to replicate that come Thursday!

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