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STEWART WHO? Stewart Cink had a memorable British Open three years ago, when he beat Tom Watson in a playoff to win his first major championship.

Apparently it was not that memorable to a guard Tuesday manning one of the gates near the player’s parking lot.

The guard stopped Cink from entering, asking him for his badge. Cink told him he left it in the locker room, but that didn’t work, either. Finally, after several minutes of explaining just who he is, the guard finally let Cink and his caddie through.

It could have been worse.

The great Bobby Jones was making his second appearance in the Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 1926, and was two shots off the lead going to the final day. It was the first year the Open charged admission, and when Jones left his player’s badge in his hotel room, the man at the gate refused to let him in.

Jones ended up digging in his pocket for seven shillings to get on the course. He went on to stage a late rally and win the tournament by two shots.


WEATHERWISE: The talk around most of England in recent months has been about the weather and the rain that never seems to stop.

It’s been no different at the British Open on the northwest coast of England, where conditions have been miserable the last few days. There’s been so much rain that some puddles have formed on the course and have had to be roped off, and rain was heavy again on Tuesday.

The good news _ echoed by worried organizers at the Olympics in London _ is that things are supposed to get better. Weather forecasters, in fact, call for the rain to go away by the first round on Thursday and for the Open to be mostly dry, if not sunny.

For those who like their Open to be contested in some inclement conditions, don’t fret too much. The forecast is still for the wind to blow 20 to 30 mph for most of the tournament.


PHIL’S PADRES: Phil Mickelson has his mind on two sports as he attempts to win his first British Open.

Mickelson is part of a group that includes former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley that is negotiating to buy the San Diego Padres. Mickelson would be a minority owner in the company, should the deal go forward.

Mickelson, who attempted in 2003 to earn a one-day contract with the Detroit Tigers by pitching batting practice to the minor league Toledo Mud Hens, said he would not be involved in day-to-day operations should the deal go through.

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