BBC BLOGS - Iain Carter

Archives for June 2012

Portrush is a rare chance to see our champions

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Iain Carter | 22:36 UK time, Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Unprecedented emails have been dropping into the inbox as the European Tour has been announcing sell out crowds for this week's Irish Open.

This is far from the norm in tour golf. Outside the Ryder Cup there is little need to pre-book your attendance at tournaments other than to secure a discount on your ticket.

But the astonishing success of Irish golfers in recent years has prompted extraordinary interest in a tournament that was close to being non-existent until new funding was found to help stage the event at the magnificent links of Royal Portrush.

And quite right too. The major wins of Rory McIlroy (2011 US Open), Graeme McDowell (2010 US Open) and Darren Clarke (last year's Open) have provided a glorious return for Northern Ireland from golf's biggest stages.

Those successes have followed hard on the heels of Padraig Harrington's domination of the Open in 2008 and a year later when he went on to claim a third major with victory in the US PGA.

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The lottery of winning a major

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Iain Carter | 15:44 UK time, Monday, 18 June 2012

Webb Simpson became a thoroughly deserving winner of the US Open and the 15th different major champion in a row.

It is impossible to argue against the validity of the 26-year-old American's victory after consecutive closing rounds of 68 at the Olympic Club. It was a performance worthy of major success.

America's national championship was won by one of the country's finest players, one who came close to landing last year's PGA Tour money list. Make no mistake, he is a proper player.

But how fondly will we remember the 2012 US Open? It was a typically attritional test designed to wear down the world's best players rather than to inspire spectacular golf. They were lucky to land a winner of such pedigree.

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Hard work pays off for revitalised McIlroy

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Iain Carter | 15:21 UK time, Monday, 11 June 2012

Rory McIlroy's three wood dropped to the floor in frustration as his ball flew into the watery grave that signalled an end to his victory chance in Memphis last Sunday (link).

The resulting double bogey opened the door for Dustin Johnson and left McIlroy in a share of seventh place.

Although that errant tee shot ruined the Northern Ireland youngster's opportunity to win, he could still reflect on having had the week he needed ahead of his US Open defence. He is competitive once again.

Recently McIlroy has been cramming like an underprepared student at exam time.

But now, after adding Memphis to his schedule, flying in coach Michael Bannon to be with him in the US and taking an extra three and half days to practice at the US Open venue, he looks ready to sit this week's major paper.

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Woods shines as Mickelson shows disrespect

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Iain Carter | 13:56 UK time, Monday, 4 June 2012

Another extraordinary week of golf has passed and the major fire has been stoked beautifully ahead of the US Open by Tiger Woods's vintage victory at the Memorial.

Is Woods finished? Does he need to change his coach? It doesn't look that way now. At the very least Woods is back to where he was in 2009 when he won in his last tournament before all four majors.

With his wins at Bay Hill and now in Ohio he is two out of two in that respect again this year.

The question now is whether he can do something that was beyond him three years ago and turn warm-up success into a major triumph. It was well beyond the 14-time major champion at Augusta this year but I suspect he will make a more robust challenge at Olympic Club next week.

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