Afternoon Tea at the Open Championship: Rounds 1 and 2
By Stephanie Wei under British Open

First things first, a huge thanks to Merf for being on top of posting stuff on WUP all week. Not only has he taken a huge load of weight off my shoulders, his posts have been fantastic. I’ve had a couple of marathon days over at the WSJ.com, so I didn’t need something else to worry about (which I know makes no sense, but it does to me; I’m a little nuts). I’ve been meaning to do a better job of linking to the work over there, but I’ve failed because, well, I’ve been too busy writing and live-blogging. If you didn’t notice, today was quite the marathon. In fact, I’m almost as annoyed as the players that play was suspended — it forced me to live-blog from 3:58 to 10:42.

And I couldn’t go drinking tonight because I was in the media center until midnight. I know, poor me! Boo-effing-hoo! (More like I’m just pathetic and I love that blackhole of a tent.) Perhaps I should propose drunk live-blogging in the R&A to the WSJ.

I’m sure that would be a huge hit. James, my new Scottish BFF, actually suggested it because he keeps inviting me to the R&A (which doesn’t allow women members), but I’ve had to put it off due to prior obligations (and his spur of the moment invites have been in the middle of the live-blog). I get a more flexible time table around lunch tomorrow depending on when my friend can take me there. It should be interesting. I’ve heard I have to go in a separate entrance. And the blue blazers will love me. Fingers crossed…

Alright, here are links you may have missed (from oldest to newest):

*I already linked to my first and second stories. But in case you missed them. See here and here (“Why weather matters more at St. Andrews”).

*Is this the week for a Daly comeback? (Obviously, I’m not the one writing these headlines, but of course, no one actually thought it would happen.)

*Three Pros Give a Primer on Links Golf. This was cool because James the Scot is friends with Tim Clark, so I got to be part of the entourage on Tuesday. You can see and learn SO much more from walking down the fairways with the guys. It’s tough to see much even from “inside the ropes” along the side because the way it’s set up. Here’s an excerpt:

Preparation for links courses usually manifests in some form of experience. But some players just have a natural eye for the bounces and the roll on the ground. The importance of local knowledge has been emphasized repeatedly. Many guys hired local caddies to guide them around the course and show them the lines in their practice rounds. So, how long does it take to adjust to links-style golf?

“Another four years,” Tim Clark, the 2010 Players champion, said sardonically. “You never can really get used to it.”

Forget getting the ball to hold or spin back. Anticipate the quirky bounce and the roll. Leave your flop shot back in the States. Pray for Mother Nature to behave gently and kindly. And remember to adjust to the conditions, create the necessary shots, and let your imagination run (within reason). Most importantly, stay out of those pesky pot bunkers in the fairway because that is basically an automatic one-stroke penalty.

Walking from tee to green alongside Clark, Michael Sim and Jason Day during the front nine of their Tuesday practice round, I was presented with the rare opportunity for a closer look at their preparation. It was also interesting given their distinctive playing styles. There’s not a right or wrong way to play the course, but obviously there are advantages to controlling the trajectory and excellent lag putting on the ginormous greens.

*Top Five British Open Storylines.

*British Open First Round Diary.

*What to Expect From Round 2.

*British Open Second Round Diary.

Finally, the Open at St. Andrews is the most incredible experience and place ever. It’s the best Open in the world. It’s hard to describe why it’s so great because it doesn’t look like it on TV. At first glance, the course looks pretty dull, but then you see what happened in the second round — and that’s why it’s fascinating. Mostly, it’s the atmosphere. I am more than willing to get all Jim Nantz over this week. I’m sure I’ll continue to wax poetic about it. Strangely, it doesn’t make me want to punch myself either because it truly does trigger enthusiasm and passion (even more if you can believe it). Speaking of which, the other night some of my journo friends were teasing me for being so enthusiastic, while also poking fun at themselves for their lack of it. What can I say, I’m just bright-eyed and…well, honestly, right now, exhausted. But…still effing chipper!