The Open 2019 diary: Phil Mickelson and a prosthetic leg

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Phil Mickelson was surprised by an unusual request for signatures

While Open Fever consumes Northern Ireland, BBC News NI brings you the latest news and views from Royal Portrush.

Pen to Prosthesis

Phil Mickelson is almost as well-known for the he spends signing autographs for fans as for his five major wins.

But even the man known as Lefty was surprised by what was offered to him when he held his pen at the last hole on Tuesday

Faced with a false leg, complete with golf shoe, he asked the owner if he had been in the army.

After clarifying that this unusual collector's item would not have been worn by an injured soldier, the great Californian placed a pen as a prosthesis, much to the delight of the owner.

"That's the first time I've ever drawn a false leg," said Mickelson, a man who regularly spends hours writing Autographs for fans after the round.

A Ricky situation for Koepka

There are not many four champions playing here this week who are overshadowed by their caddies when it comes to encouragement.

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Ricky Elliott (right) appears to be more popular with Royal Portrush than his employer Brooks Koepka

But that is perhaps the case for the number one Brooks Koepka.

Asked how his practice round with Portrush man Ricky Elliot went on the bag, the USPGA champion said: "I probably hear more & # 39; Ricky, hey Ricky, what's going on? & # 39; more than anything else. "

If fate had taken a different turn, Elliot could have played this week instead of trying to set a path to glory like a bagman.

As a top youth player at Royal Portrush, he won the Ulster Boys & Championship and Ulster Youth Championship.

But after a golf fair in Ohio and a few seasons on the mini-tours, the 41-year-old who grew up playing with Graeme McDowell, knew that he didn't quite have what was needed, even if his own assessment was a little more cruel is.

"I sucked like a pro and it was best to do caddying – these guys are so good, I'm glad I gave up."

Ricky & # 39; s parents Pat and Martha still live in Portrush, while brother Peter has a golf shop in nearby Coleraine.

And it seems that Brooks will become part of the family, at least for this week.

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Ricky Elliott & # 39; s expert knowledge of his local course may come in handy for Brooks Koepka

The 28-year-old star revealed: "We went to visit his parents, saw where he grew up.

" We went to the Harbor Bar. It was nice to see what he had been talking about for so long. "

In the absence of an Irishman who picks up the Claret Jug, Sunday, as Ricky sending the winner home maybe as good as possible.

As he says," I love of golf competition and if you can't do it yourself, this is the best thing. "

Let's talk about the text

Ricky Elliot may be giving his husband a week this week few secrets, but it seems that his boss does not want him to share the mysteries of the Dunluce links of Royal Portrush.

None other than Tiger Woods contacted to congratulate his fellow countryman Koepka on his stellar show on this year's majors and was greeted with radio silence.

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Was Tiger Woods ghosted by his countryman Brooks Koepka?

"I text & congratulate the Brooksie on another great finish and I said: & # 39; Hey man, do you mind if I got along and play a practice round?

" I have nothing heard. "

Ghosting Tiger Woods … now that is a daring move.

Crash course in hospitality

Coming halfway the world to volunteer at the Open and ending with Brand new motorcycle en route to the course is the stuff of nightmares.

But for two American golf enthusiasts, the experience only served to confirm what they had already discovered about Northern Ireland this week.

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Although the roads in Northern Ireland have not been friendly to David and Jim, the people have been

David Belping from Columbia, South Carolina, and Jim Dupree from Atlanta, Georgia, picked up a shiny hybrid car when they landed at Dublin Airport, but they will not return it in the same flawless condition.

A wrong turn on the road from Coleraine to Portrush ended in a fight with a fence that their Toyota would never win.

Badly shaken, the couple knocked on doors looking for help and was lucky to find an IT employee John Nesbitt behind one of them.

After checking that the American visitors were not injured, he drove them both back to their hotel to resolve all the headaches of a written-off car.

As the men themselves said: "The Irish people have been exceptional, but what happened today will stay with us forever."

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