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Day 1July 18, New York City, 7:30 a.m.
I am awakened by the same track of the same CD that has been in my alarm stereo for more than a year. It is like "Groundhog Day." Ah, yes, hark the taxis, the air conditioner set on deafeningly whirry, unstick the sweat stained, grubby sheets from my back, retrieve the battered pillows from the floor.
I have been dreaming, intermittently, fitfully, of Scotland -- of Edinburgh and Leith and the coastline beyond, of the land of my forefathers and my college years. Of frigid days, on frigid beaches with frigid girlfriends -- of abysmal rounds of golf in torrential rain and gale force winds on the local links.I have arisen to return again ... via ESPN and Time Warner Cable of Manhattan. It is the first day of the Open at the finest links of them all, Muirfield. And for some reason, my editors at ESPN.com want me to write about it. And for some reason, I agreed. This requires caffeine. 7:45 a.m., Buffa's Coffee Shop, Prince and Lafayette
The truth is, ever since I got back from covering the World Cup in Japan, I haven't been able to bring myself to visit a Starbucks. I just know I won't be greeted with a chorus of "Konishiwas," served with a flourish of "Arigatos" and generally treated like the most important Gaejin on the planet. So I've been a regular at my local coffeehouse, Buffa's. There is something just so damn refreshing about the place. It has been there more than 70 years, since Nolita was actually just north of Little Italy rather than part of East Soho. It is still operated by the family, generations of them. They still threaten, good humoredly, to "break your face" if you give them a $20 bill for a 75-cent cup of coffee -- and that's just Mrs. Buffa! But their food is solid, the coffee is strong to the point of illegality, and it's the most unpretentious place in Manhattan. I ride the elevator back to my apartment in love with Italy again. I have forgiven them their World Cup whining. I am resolved to cheer for Constantino Rocca. 7:58 a.m., my apartment
But it might have to be Chris DiMarco. Because according to my newspaper, Rocca is not playing -- which is a shame, because he definitely would be on my list of favorites for The Open, the Other Open, The World Jug. As it is, here is a list of my favorites in no particular order:
- Norman: Niver underistimate the paaagh of the shaark!
Lefty: There is no one loopier in the entire world of sports, I love that look he gets in his eyes in post-round interviews as he makes less and less sense. I love how large he wears his pants, nine or 10 pleats each leg, a good 10 inches too long.Jesper: I'm often accused of dressing a little like him on the golf course, but I think it's more that most of my golf pants were bought when I was less fat. By the way, I lost 15 pounds in Japan and have gained back 17 in less than two weeks. Mmm. Barbecue. Daly: Tragically flawed, one of the best and most honest interviews in sports, ridiculously talented, takes enormous risks, really overweight this year. Van de Velde: Might surprise those of you who read my World Cup coverage to see me so high on a Frenchman, but how can you not love this guy? Also not actually playing this week, but his spirit lives on. Could Remesy be the new Van De Velde? Sandy Lyle: I was once partnered with him in a pro-am in Florida, and I think he shot an 87, including a three putt from 18 inches and two eights on par threes. The other two guys in my group couldn't look him in the eye. I loved every second of it.
But tell me you wouldn't want to see Jean Van de Velde, paired with Daly on Sunday, the final match on the course, standing on the tee protecting a one-shot lead. With the wind behind, Van de Velde takes a pitching wedge off the tee, Daly tries to drive the green. The Frenchman, three pot bunkers later, cards a snowman. Daly, after going OB and playing out of the stands scrambles for a nine. Which leaves 11 players at 4-under, including Woods and my favorite name in this year's field, Scott Laycock, forced into a sudden-death playoff in 50 mph winds for the Claret Jug.So Tiger will probably win, but I have just had a psychic moment -- or maybe it's the coffee -- but mark my words, the color yellow will play a major role before the 72nd hole. And that rhymes. 8:05 a.m., entrenched on the sofa
I know it's early, but I'm a little unhappy with what I'm seeing. Firstly, I seem to have missed half an hour of "bonus coverage" which was not listed anywhere and came before the "actual coverage." This is very confusing -- how can a bonus come before? Oh, when Tiger has an early tee time. Secondly, the skies are blue, and a couple of players are not even wearing sweaters! Thirdly, I recognize almost every name on the leaderboard, and the scores are way too good. The early highlight is definitely Roger Twibell's interview with Jean-Francois Remesy -- "It's a virry tiff gilf curse" and Twibell's wonderful question "Did the performance of Jean Van de Velde encourage French golfers? The lowlight is definitely Peter Alliss doing a baseball promo for the Diamondbacks against the Rockies. It just doesn't seem right when he talks about the Big Unit. Some other early notes:
I want to check the final Open leaderboard, but I have to finish grading my World Cup Quiz responses of which there are, amazingly, almost 2,000. 9:21 p.m., same place
Jesus, what have I wrought?
Drum roll. The winner of the Davies' Diary World Cup Quiz, but who will absolutely not be winning the Japan shirt at right because the ESPN.com lawyers would go ape, is ...
- ** Steve McFarland from Campbell, Calif. **
Must go home, so I can get up early, come back here, check on the web for the early scores and file this crap. But I'm telling you, after checking the leaderboard, I might be onto something with this yellow thing. Petterson, co-leader at 4-under, Swedish, yellow flag. Waldorf, co-leader at 4-under, weird loud shirts, very likely to wear yellow. Soren Hansen, 3-under, Thomas Bjorn, 3-under, Danish, practically Swedish. Remesy, Rose, 3-under, yellow hats&& I will keep track of this. Day 2 8:33 a.m., my office
"Groundhog Day" again. Slept fitfully. Awoken by same song. Coffee at Buffa's. Drove to work -- I am almost certainly the only New Yorker who drives to work from Downtown to Midtown. Turn on the TV and log onto ESPN.com to check the scores, and my yellow theory is holding up well, Petterson, Sweden and Leaney, Australia are leading at 5-under, but most of the field is still to tee off. Will the conditions hold up? It's cloudy and cooler, but still very little wind. Monty's actually playing like he wants to win this thing. He just birdied 18 for a 64, his best round ever in the Open. Lefty has self-destructed, 3-over right now and in danger of not making the cut. "Unfortunately, this game is played in the six inches between the ears," says Monty in his post-match interview with Roger Twibell. Unfortunately, that's probably not Mickelson's strongest six inches. We're all waiting for Tiger. And to see if Rio leaves Leeds for Manchester United. Michael Davies, a native of London, is executive producer of ABC's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire."
Complete 2002 World Cup coverage
Davies Day 29, 30, 31: The End of Days
Davies Day 27: Who wants to be a diary expert?
Davies Day 26: Styling underarms and Brazilian bikinis
Davies Day 25: Managing to Wade through
Davies Day 24: Where God shines his light
Davies Day 23: One more time on instant replay
Davies Day 22: Football greats stole my cell phone
Davies Day 21: Unanswered prayers
Davies Day 20: Heaven, hell and a guy named Hector
Davies Day 19: South Korea alters power structure
Davies Day 18: Left at the altar
Davies Day 17: Dawn of a new day for U.S. soccer
Davies Day 16: The dreaded Niigata sickness
Davies Day 15: Kids, don't do mingers
Davies Day 14: A World Cup twisted from its roots
Davies Day 13: Ending on a low note
Davies Day 12: Fast train to nowhere
Davies Day 11: It just keeps getting better
Davies Day 10: Seeing red, white, blue ... and green
Davies Day 9: Cheering for jolly old Nippon
Davies Day 8: Nobody knows anything
Davies Day 7: Soccer is the curse of the drinking class
Davies Day 6: I've got your U.S. boys' backs
Davies Day 5: Turning Japanese
Davies Day 4: Satellite Stadium, take a bow
Davies Day 3: Where's the passion?
Davies Day 2: Ga-ga over the boys in green
Davies Day 0 and Day 1: The 'other' football