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Archives for June 2011

Can Rory steal Tiger's roar?

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Iain Carter | 09:03 UK time, Monday, 20 June 2011

By the end, we had run out of superlatives. It turned out to be a four-day hyperbole fest as we sought words to describe Rory McIlroy's record-breaking achievements at Congressional Country Club.

With every "sensational", "extraordinary" and "astonishing" that passed our lips, we witnessed a young golfer taking massive strides to fill the void that has existed at the top of the game of golf.

No-one had come close to occupying such elevated territory, for a long period the domain of Tiger Woods, until McIlroy's amazing US Open victory on Sunday.

But, while the Northern Irishman's golf was of the calibre of Woods in his prime, it would be wholly wrong to think of McIlroy as the next "Tiger".

The new champion is nothing of the sort.

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McDowell looks to build on major magic

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Iain Carter | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 11 June 2011

Mysteries abound in the golfing world. Why, for example, are the two best players on the planet still waiting to claim a major title? And why is the UK's most recent winner of one of the big four titles so perplexed by the most prized trophy of his career to date?

While Luke Donald and Lee Westwood brace themselves for inevitable questions over the paradox of their lofty positions in the rankings and no majors to their name, Graeme McDowell sits back in the knowledge that he has already dodged having to endure such a quizzing.

Donald and Westwood's astonishing levels of consistency on Tour offer plentiful justification for their status as world number one and two. This, though, won't stop the "major" issue being thrown at them in the days that precede the US Open at Congressional. That, in turn, may make the task of breaking their duck more difficult to achieve.

This particular pressure is no longer there for McDowell, who defends the crown he won at Pebble Beach last year when he tees off in Maryland on Thursday.

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Woods out on an ailing limb

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Iain Carter | 09:48 UK time, Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Three years ago, the left leg of Tiger Woods was a mess and the then world number one was told he was not fit enough to play in the US Open. Invincible in those days, the American ignored the advice of the doctors and played at Torrey Pines.

As it turned out, Woods not only had to go the regulation four rounds, he also needed to win an 18 hole play-off that extended into sudden death. In all, he played 91 holes as he sealed victory in America's national championship on effectively one leg.

Even by his standards, this was a superhuman effort that further enhanced his growing status as a legend of modern sport. Not only was he playing with torn ligaments in his knee, he was also suffering from a double stress fracture elsewhere in his left leg.

Still, his victory did not come as that much of a surprise.

Thirty-six months on, we are equally unsurprised that he has decided to heed the advice of the medics and steer clear of this year's US Open, which takes place next week at the Congressional Country Club in Maryland.

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Time for Tour to cash in on British success

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Iain Carter | 10:49 UK time, Monday, 6 June 2011

Scheduling is uppermost in the mind of professional golf at all levels. For players, it is about making sure you are in the right place to peak at the right times. For administrators, it is about staging tournaments that fit those demands.

For the European Tour in general and UK golf in particular, the imperative has never been greater to come up with a calendar that makes the most of the extraordinary era of success being enjoyed by our players at the moment.

A total of about 130,000 fans were at Wentworth for the PGA Championship and at Celtic Manor for the launch of Powerplay and the Wales Open, confirming that the appetite for the game in the UK remains strong

As for the hordes that bestrode the West Course fairways to watch Luke Donald snatch the world number one spot from fellow Englishman Lee Westwood at the climax of the PGA, they were scenes reminiscent of the European game's heyday.

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