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Archives for October 2010

Westwood passes test of endurance

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Iain Carter | 14:04 UK time, Sunday, 31 October 2010

Lee Westwood was down. Really down, as disappointed as he had ever been in a career that had already witnessed severe lows as well as massive highs.

It was time for a gentle pep talk because at this moment of huge despondency the path of his golfing life could quite easily have taken vastly contrasting directions.

Westwood had just blown the 2009 Open Championship. He'd three-putted from the front of Turnberry's final green to miss a play-off by a single shot. Not only that, he'd earlier squandered a decent chance of putting himself well clear of Stewart Cink and Tom Watson, the men who contested that shoot-out in his absence.

People remember that Open for the then 59-year-old Watson almost creating golf's greatest-ever story, but that championship should have been won by Lee Westwood and he knew it.

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How Westwood can become world number one

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Iain Carter | 15:04 UK time, Thursday, 21 October 2010

Higher mathematics has never been a strong point of mine, so I've been struggling to get to grips with this equation: one victory + one full tournament appearance in 14 weeks = world number one.

That is the scenario for Lee Westwood at the end of the month, provided Martin Kaymer finishes outside the top two at next week's Andalucia Masters.

Given that the German is on a three-tournament winning streak that began with it is not completely certain the Englishman will succeed Tiger Woods as officially the best golfer on the planet, but the odds still point to Westwood rising to the top of the rankings.

Never mind that a calf injury has severely curtailed his tournament appearances since mid-June, or the fact that he has won only one event all year and has never won a major, the carefully compiled statistics of the golfing world are likely to result in him becoming the new number one when we head into November.

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Kaymer sets the standard for golden generation

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Iain Carter | 09:53 UK time, Monday, 11 October 2010

We have a very special talent in our midst. Martin Kaymer is achieving feats that mark him out to be a genuine superstar for years to come.

The 25-year-old German's victory at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews was his third in a row. A sequence that began with his maiden major title, the US PGA at Whistling Straits in August.

It was his fourth win in a year that has also seen him make a winning debut in Europe's Ryder Cup team. Very few players manage to claim as many as four wins in one European Tour season.

Look at the names of the players who have managed this feat: Seve Ballesteros, Sir Nick Faldo, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Lee Westwood, Tiger Woods and Ian Woosnam.

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American passion shines through

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Iain Carter | 13:03 UK time, Tuesday, 5 October 2010

It takes two fully committed teams to make a full-blooded contest - and that is exactly what we had over the unprecedented four-day Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.

Let no one be in any doubt over America's passion for this biennial contest. Of all the extraordinary images generated by this compelling match, none resonated more than that of Corey Pavin's vanquished team facing questions at the closing news conference.

The ferocity with which Jim Furyk slammed down the microphone after being asked about his country's commitment to the Ryder Cup being called into question shook the desk and made it abundantly clear how he felt.

Then there were the tears of poor Hunter Mahan following his defeat to Graeme McDowell in the deciding singles match. When asked to recall his thoughts on the tumultuous climax, Mahan was so choked he found it hard to speak.

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Politics to blame, not Wales

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Iain Carter | 09:49 UK time, Sunday, 3 October 2010

Remember this weekend a year ago? Glorious in the valleys, it was. How many times have we heard that said over the past week here at Celtic Manor?

Yes, it is perfectly possible to have wonderful weather in early October, as was proved here this time last year. But the truth is, when the days shorten the odds lengthen on that being the case.

And so it has come to pass that they played the Ryder Cup here a year too late. Conditions were perfect 12 months ago when they launched the "Year to Go" celebrations at this south Wales course.

Now, though, we're looking at a Ryder Cup spilling over into a fourth day for the first time and despite the fine weather of October 2009, it is no surprise at all that the Celtic Manor edition of match should be the first not to finish on time.

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