Continued from page 2

At least for the first few holes. Before long, spectators ignored the signs that no pictures were allowed. There were dozens of them, including one fan using it to capture video. Even so, it wasn’t near the distraction it was at Hoylake in 2006 when players were backing off shots.

There was one problem with Garcia. He was trying to hit a shot out of deep rough on the 15th hole when a young man with a bulging waist line and a pint of beer in his hand took a picture. Because it wasn’t on silent, the sound caused Garcia to back off his shot.

Marshals barked a reminder that no cameras were allowed. The man secretly slid the phone in his front pocket _ just as the ringer went off when he received a call.


CLARKE’S DEFENSE: Darren Clarke had no excuses for not making much of a defense.

The winner last year at Royal St. George’s, he began this Open with a beautiful tee shot to 8 feet, and the birdie putt never had a chance. He bogeyed the next two holes, and Clarke was on his way to a 76.

“I’m basically disgusted with myself,” Clarke said.

In 12 tournaments this year, Clarke has made only five cuts _ and three of those events didn’t have a cut. The year has not been a total loss: Clarke’s biggest win was getting married in the spring.

Even so, he wants to perform his best, especially at his favorite major. So he had only one thought walking up the 18th to another ovation.

“How the bleep did I manage to win this last year?” he said.


DIVOTS: Tom Watson continues to defy his age. The 62-year-old Watson, who lost in a playoff at Turnberry three years ago, was 1 under until two bogeys on the last three holes for a 71. … Only three players who led after the first round in the Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes have gone on to win: Seve Ballesteros in 1988, Gary Player in 1974 and Peter Thomson in 1958. … Tiger Woods made a birdie on the par-3 opening hole. The last time he began a British Open with a birdie also was in 2001 at Royal Lytham. … Zach Johnson, one shot out of the lead after a 65, can join Lee Trevino as the only players to win the British Open the week after a PGA Tour victory. Trevino won the Canadian Open in 1971 and the Open the following week at Royal Birkdale.