completes 'Legends Slam'
had already won Arnold and Jack's tournaments on the PGA Tour this
year and now he has added his own event to the list. In winning the
AT&T at Congressional, scene of Rory McIlroy's US Open victory,
Tiger Woods became the first man to collect three titles in a PGA
Tour season since Jim Furyk in 2010.
bad for a man written off on an almost weekly basis, and most
recently after he slipped down the field at Olympic in the US Open,
where he led at the halfway point but didn't even finish inside the
away the hype and it is clear Tiger is improving as the year goes on.
He is also sure to be gaining belief as each title arrives.
his mental state was during the weekend at Olympic only he knows but
on the face of it he has set himself up perfectly for the final two
Majors of the season – starting at Lytham in little over a
fit for an Open
the R&A are open to hints then Royal Portrush will host the Open
again in the next 10 years. The Irish Open was a brilliant event, as
crowds of 30,000 poured over the Dunluce Links on each of the
championship days. Even without a home winner, they were the most
enthusiastic fans you could wish for. There will surely remain some
logistical issues that the R&A will need to satisfy themselves
about but the Northern Irish public have spoken loud and clear.
for the course itself, the players loved it. Unusually green for the
time of year, the only shame was that it did not play faster running.
But that's in Mother Nature's hands and will not have concerned the
R&A's championship committee unduly.
to a generous par of 72, the winning score was 18 under par, with
Jamie Donaldson winning by four shots.
if the 9th and 10th, both under 500 yards, had
been played as par 4s rather than 5s, then that would reduce par to
70 – and on such criteria Donaldson would have been the only player
better than -6 for the week.
the R&A would doubtless work with the club and add several new
tees and look carefully at the bunkering – at least that has
happened with every single course on the existing Open rota over the
past couple of decades.
the home of champions
terms of 'notable achievements' no club in the world can equal the
recent efforts of Royal Portrush. Alan Dunbar won the British Amateur
at Troon last weekend, now Stephanie Meadow has landed the women's
equivalent at Carnoustie.
20-year-old holed the winning putt at the Curtis Cup in early June,
she will now play in the US Women's Open and British Open in
September after beating Spain's Rocio Sanchez Lobato 4&3 in the
Jordanstown youngster has lived in the States since 2006 to help
encourage her golf and she has two years left of an accountancy
degree left at university.
route to the final she beat her Curtis Cup team-mate Amy Boulden in
the last eight before rattling up five birdies in the final. The last
Northern Irish player to win the title was the TV commentator Maureen
Madill, at Nairn in 1979.
breaks his duck
the 255th attempt, popular Welshman Jamie Donaldson
finally landed his maiden European Tour title. It is a mystery that
someone as good and consistent as he has been should go so long
without success but that was well and truly put right at Royal
bogeyed the short 11th, it seemed the old doubts might be
resurfacing but five birdies in the last seven holes completed a
no expected charge from the home contingent, England's Anthony Wall
was his nearest challenger – despite a triple bogey eight at the
2nd – but eventually Donaldson emerged with a richly
ready to win again
didn't quite happen for him at Portrush but the signs are that
Padraig Harrington is back to somewhere pretty close to his best. The
Irishman remains without a win on the European or PGA Tours since his
most recent Major – the 2008 PGA at Oakland Hills. That is a
slightly misleading statistic as a) he only tends to play against the
strongest fields and b) he did win the 2010 Johor Open in Singapore.
it is something he would love to put to bed, and that might happen
top 10s in both the Masters and the US Open, the two-time winner of
the Claret Jug will be well fancied at Lytham.
the only thing stopping him at the moment is the need for some
slightly improved form on the greens. Then again, there would be a
few other big names who could say exactly the same about their games
at any given time.