Rory stretching out
Blue's silver lining
JASON BLUE, the teenager struck on the head by Rory McIlroy's golf ball at the British Open on Thursday, turned up at Lytham yesterday for a newspaper photo shoot with Ulster's world No 2.
McIlroy booked Blue (16) and his pal into a hotel room on Thursday, ensuring they didn't have to spend a rain-lashed night in their tent.
The big-hearted Irishman also gave him "a hundred-andsomething quid" to go for a bit of food, then agreed a request from a British tabloid to do a shoot with Blue after his second round yesterday.
"I didn't want Jason sleeping the night in a tent when he'd a massive gash on the side of his head," said McIlroy. "I thought it was the least I could do to put him and his mate up for the night.
"I actually tried to get them into the hotel for a couple more nights, but they were fully booked."
has special delivery
LUKE DONALD made a caddie change for the second round of the Open.
His regular bagman, John McLaren, was given the day off as his wife was due to give birth to their first child... she was due on Wednesday, Donald revealed.
The world No 1 tweeted before his second round: "New caddie (Gareth Lord) on the bag today as I've given Johnny the day off to welcome his first child into the world!! Good luck Mr & Mrs McLaren."
Lord, the usual caddie for Robert Karlsson, filled in for McLaren at last year's Children's Network Miracle Classic, which Donald won, ensuring himself of the PGA Tour money title. An omen, perhaps!
shows deadly range
GUYS who work on golf ranges are well used to coming under fire when they venture out in their little caged tractors to collect balls. It's no different at the Open, where they're kept busy recycling and sorting 20,000 golf balls from six different manufacturers.
One of the crew says he and his colleagues have noticed an intriguing pattern -- more balls crash off the cage when Vijay Singh is practicing, he said. Maybe years of beating balls has made the Fijian more adept at hitting a moving target.
his No 1 secret
IVOR ROBSON is famous for his lilting Scottish voice, but perhaps we should marvel more at his bladder than his blather. On the tee for 38 years as the Open's official announcer, Robson prides himself for never leaving his post by the first tee from half an hour before play commences to the departure of the final group.
Never! So once again at Lytham yesterday, Ivor spent more than 10 hours, from shortly after 6.0 am to 4.30, without a break, natural or otherwise. His secret? "Very little fluid the night before."
HAVE we seen the last of the rain at this Open? The forecasters believe so, with today at Lytham expected to be dry with sunny spells and a gentle westerly zephyr.
It's unlikely to feel like a real British Open until tomorrow, however, when the wind switches to the southwest and increases to 15-20 mph, with possible gusts of up to 30. Bring it on!
Owen goes distance
to extend weekend
GREG OWEN copper-fastened his place at the Open this weekend with the shot of the day at 18. Four-over after a bogey at 17, Owen holed a 60-yard lob wedge for a wonderful two at the closing hole. "I had an albatross at 11 here in 2001 and they've lengthened that hole so you can't reach," said the Mansfield man (40). "They'll probably lengthen 18 now."