Tag Archives: ballesteros

Singapore Open: Rory McIlroy clinches European Tour money list

McIlroy nabs European title as Manassero helps him out by beating Oosthuizen

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UPDATED:

12:58 GMT, 11 November 2012

A 30-foot eagle putt on the final green at the Barclays Singapore Open made Rory McIlroy the European Tour's youngest money list winner since Sandy Lyle in 1980.

But it was only when 19-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero also eagled the same hole more than two hours later that McIlroy could crack open the champagne again.

Already with the PGA Tour title in the bag, the 23-year-old world number one emulated the double achieved by Luke Donald last season when Manassero beat South African Louis Oosthuizen with a 12-foot putt at the third play-off hole.

That's the ticket: Rory McIlroy finished third in Singapore

That's the ticket: Rory McIlroy finished third in Singapore

LEADERBOARD

Click here for the final standings

If Oosthuizen had won he could still
have caught McIlroy, but instead Manassero became the first player to
win three times on the circuit before the age of 20. Not even Seve
Ballesteros managed that.

McIlroy, watched during the week by
girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, stormed through to third place with a
closing six-under-par 65.

'I left myself a little bit too much
to do to win, but it was a great way to finish off the round and the
tournament,' said the Northern Irish star, who still has his defence of
the Hong Kong Open and the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai to come
this next fortnight.

The race would still have been alive
if either Peter Hanson or Oosthuizen had played in Hong Kong or at this
week's South African Open, but they have not entered.

On clinching the money list double McIlroy said: “It really is hugely satisfying to finally become the European number one, especially after finishing second two of the last three years.

Helping hand: Matteo Manassero of Italy with the winners trophy after winning in a three hole playoff with Louis Oosthuizen

Helping hand: Matteo Manassero of Italy with the winners trophy after winning in a three hole playoff with Louis Oosthuizen

Race to Dubai money list standings

1 Rory McIlroy 2,966,985

2 Peter Hanson 2,120,959

3 Justin Rose 2,059,798

4 Louis Oosthuizen 2,044,184

5 Ian Poulter 1,822,644

6 Branden Grace 1,671,036

7 Francesco Molinari 1,630,171

8 Luke Donald 1,475,622

9 Graeme McDowell 1,462,726

10 Paul Lawrie 1,425,216

11 Nicolas Colsaerts 1,363,063,

12 Lee Westwood 1,317,982

13 Matteo Manassero 1,198,873

14 Marcel Siem 1,070,584

15 Thorbjorn Olesen 995,685

16 David Lynn 952,025

17 Rafa Cabrera Bello 939,767

18 Bernd Wiesberger 822,449

19 Jamie Donaldson 815,188

20 Alex Noren 805,292.

'It has always been one of my goals
ever since securing my Tour card five years ago, but then to also end
the year as both European and PGA Tour number one is just amazing.

'I feel so proud and humbled to join so many fabulous names in Europe who have won the Order of Merit.

'To be able to accomplish this goal
with still two events remaining means that I can head to my UBS Hong
Kong Open defence and the DP World Championship Dubai without that added
pressure and just really enjoy my golf.

'Winning a second major championship
(the USPGA in August by eight shots just like his US Open triumph last
season) already made it a fabulous season, but then to follow Luke
Donald in becoming number one in both Europe and the States is the icing
on the cake after a fabulous season.

'I set myself a number of ambitious goals at the start of the year, and to have ticked so many of the boxes feels great.

'A lot of hard work went into this
and I am really proud of what I've achieved in 2012. I would like to
give special thanks to the team around me for all the support they have
given me throughout the year.

'I've still got two events remaining
this year and the goal is still to try and win at least once more before
the end of the year. Beyond that I'm looking forward to a good break
over the winter!

Taking a swing: Oosthuizen of South Africa takes a shot during round three

Taking a swing: Oosthuizen of South Africa takes a shot during round three

'I've got a healthy lead in the world
rankings, but with so many very good players on both sides of the
Atlantic it will not be a time to be resting on my laurels. My goal is
to push on in the new year.

'Monty (Colin Montgomerie) won eight Order of Merits in his prime and I have won one, so there is plenty of ground to make up.

'Also Jack Nicklaus won 18 Majors and
I now have my name on two, so targeting the majors will still be my
main focus next season.'

Manassero, just 17 when he became the
Tour's youngest-ever winner in Spain two years ago, had slipped from
29th in the world to 85th and said: 'This year has been a little tough
for me and I'm glad this came.

'I'm going through a few swing
changes and have picked up length. The driver is the most important
thing – I changed it this week and it gave me a few extra yards.

Strolling: McIlroy walks with Gregory Bourdy of France (right)

Strolling: McIlroy walks with Gregory Bourdy of France (right)

'It's been an extremely long day, but
the adrenalin kept me going and the key, I think, was starting really
well with a few birdies this morning.'

The Verona youngster made four in a
row from the third hole in a third round that resumed at 7.30am and
after posting a 64 for a two-stroke lead he grabbed two more birdies
early in the final round.

They dried up after that, however,
and Oosthuizen caught him with three in a row around the turn, only to
bogey the 12th and 13th.

A chip-in for a two on the 201-yard
next increased the pressure again, however, and Manassero bogeyed the
15th after driving into rough.

When Oosthuizen pitched to a foot on
the last for a 67 he went ahead again, but Manassero's two-putt birdie
gave him a 69 and forced sudden death on 13 under par.

Both birdied the 18th again, then
parred it with Oosthuizen lipping out from under five feet and after
returning to the tee again – they actually played the 542-yard hole five
times during the day – it was Manassero who came up with the decisive
stroke to claim the first prize of over 618,000.

He has earned over 2.5million in his career already – and will not be 20 until next April.

Ryder Cup 2012: Sergio Garcia says Seve Ballesteros inspired Europe to victory

Seve took us to glory: Garcia believes legendary Spaniard guided Europe to unlikely victory

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UPDATED:

00:32 GMT, 1 October 2012

Europe's triumphant players had Seve Ballesteros on their minds after their remarkable Ryder Cup victory in Medinah.

The team wore the colours so associated with Ballesteros – a navy jumper, trousers and white shirt – in Sunday's singles, with an iconic silhouette of the five-time major winner on their shirt sleeves.

The image recreates Ballesteros' most famous pose, a clenched-fist salute to the crowd after holing the winning putt in the 1984 Open Championship at St Andrews, an image the Spaniard used for his own company and had tattooed on his left arm.

Champagne moment: Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia celebrate after winning the Ryder Cup

Champagne moment: Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia celebrate after winning the Ryder Cup

Ballesteros, who captained Europe to victory in his native Spain in 1997 after playing in the biennial contest eight times, died in May last year after a long illness, but was always going to be a key figure during the captaincy of his cup partner Jose Maria Olazabal.

'I have no doubt in my mind that he was with me today all day, because there's no chance I would have won my match if he wasn't there,' said Sergio Garcia, who won the last two holes to claim a crucial win over Jim Furyk.

'It was amazing and it feels so good to be able to win it for him and for our captain, Jose; it's been amazing.'

Viva Espana: Garcia celebrates with the fans

Viva Espana: Garcia celebrates with the fans

Justin Rose had spoken fondly about Ballesteros earlier in the week, remembering how the five-time major winner had consoled him during the run of 21 consecutive missed cuts at the start of his professional career.

And after also winning the last two holes – both with birdies – to beat Phil Mickelson, the Englishman added: 'In the moment you've got to do what you've got to do, but as soon as I holed that putt (on the 18th), as soon as I came off the green, my first thought has been to Seve, absolutely.

Severiano Ballesteros

Ian Poulter

Inspired by Seve: Europe wore all blue clothes like those made famous by the Spaniard during his playing days

'I had a glance down and looked at my left sleeve and that's the kind of stuff he would have done today.'

Speaking before the remarkable comeback had been completed, Rose added: 'He's been an inspiration for this team all week long and who knows, if something crazy happens today, I know that we are going to be looking upwards.'

Ian Poulter was another European player to win the last two holes of his match, making it four wins out of four and an amazing 12 wins in his 15 Ryder Cup matches.

Sealed with a kiss: Captain Jose Maria Olazabal is presented with the Ryder Cup

Sealed with a kiss: Captain Jose Maria Olazabal is presented with the Ryder Cup

'This was a team performance and the team have done an unbelievable job,' said Poulter, one of Olazabal's two wild cards. 'There was a buzz in the team room last night that didn't feel like we had a four-point deficit.

'For some reason, everyone was calm. Everyone was cracking jokes. We just felt we had that tiny little chance and the boys have proved it today and made history. It has been unbelievable.

'My captain picked me to come and play and I owe it to him, and Seve, to be here today. It's pretty special.'

Ryder Cup 2012: Martin Samuel – Superhero Rory McIlroy falls to earth

Superhero McIlroy falls to earth as Americans shatter his aura

By
Martin Samuel

PUBLISHED:

00:13 GMT, 29 September 2012

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UPDATED:

00:13 GMT, 29 September 2012

Take me on, he challenged. And they did. They took him all the way to the last at Medinah Country Club on Friday morning. Then they took him and his mate to the cleaners in the afternoon. They massed the forces of American golf, and then some, to take out the world No 1.

The United States threw everything they had at Rory McIlroy on the first day of the Ryder Cup.

They threw the inspirational presence of Michael Jordan in the gallery, they threw the boisterous barracking of those famed Chicago sports fans, they threw the player American captain Davis Love regards as the greatest putter in the world right now: Brandt Snedeker. All to no avail. And then they threw Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, the hot streak pairing in the morning foursomes. And, finally, they found a way through.

Rory McIlroy

Under pressure: Rory McIlroy feels the heat

Captain Love caught a break when his form partnership ran into McIlroy and Graeme McDowell as the second match out in the afternoon fourball competition and made them look ordinary. It is a different ball game from here.

Former Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger compared McIlroy's current status to that of Seve Ballesteros, and perhaps in McIlroy and McDowell, European captain Jose Maria Olazabal felt he had an echo of his old alliance with Ballesteros, too. By close of play on day one, however, Mickelson and Bradley had gone some way to dispelling that idea.

They paraded round the amphitheatre that is the 17th like conquering heroes after Mickelson had put his tee shot to within three feet. The Northern Irish pair, two down with two to play, conceded immediately. The Americans had put Rory in his place. Today is now a big one for him.

Chip off the block: McIlroy finds the hole from the edge of the green and celebrates with partner McDowell (below)

Chip off the block: McIlroy finds the hole from the edge of the green and celebrates with partner McDowell (below)

Perhaps weakened by a game won on the last hole that morning, McIlroy and McDowell struggled from the first. They were three down after three and fell to four adrift after eight, the final score of 2&1 barely doing America's domination justice. Once behind on the first, at no time did the scoreboard for the match show any colour bar red.

It could not have been more different from the morning session when McIlroy and McDowell took a confident three-hole lead, handed it back, and then rallied to win defiantly on the last. At the end of those 18 holes, McIlroy was upright, the bull's-eye on his back unmarked, his first point of the Ryder Cup on the board. From there, however, it became very clear how tough it will be to operate as the main man at a tournament that inflames such nationalistic passion.

'Get in the hole' became 'get in the water' when McIlroy was over the ball. It did not help that his partner McDowell seemed to be obeying those instructions at key moments. The Ryder Cup is golf's great team contest but, even so, being Rory must have felt very lonely at times.

Fans watch the play of Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell on the 17th green

McIlroy is plainly relaxed in McDowell's company and tried his best to smile through the tension, but he will not have had many harder days than this. The first game, against Snedeker and Jim Furyk, was hardly easy, but the hush as McDowell sank the decisive putt on the 18th green told the story of a psychological point won. America had taken their best shot at McIlroy and friends and missed. They then found their range in the afternoon, it must be said.

Talk had been of the blow that could be struck by defeating McIlroy in his first game, but it was America's form guy who blinked under pressure. Snedeker is in superb nick, but his wayward tee shot on the last allowed Europe's victory.

Snedeker retired hurt from the afternoon action, while McIlroy and McDowell were rushed into battle once more. By then, however, the complexion of the scoreboard was changing. Peter Hanson and Paul Lawrie were losing hugely to Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, and when the second American pair streaked ahead it put Europe into a tight spot. 'We're coming for you, Rory,' they shouted from the bleachers, and suddenly it did not sound like an empty threat.

Controversy: Graeme McDowell (C) remonstrates with Jim Furyk over a ruling at the second

Controversy: Graeme McDowell (C) remonstrates with Jim Furyk over a ruling at the second

How different from earlier, when McIlroy's strength of character dominated. The first shot of the 39th Ryder Cup revealed the exquisite torture of team golf, a mighty hook from McDowell that took leaves and twigs from a tree and nestled just north of Captain's Club II, but short of hospitality tent 36, belonging to the Aeroterm Vanquish Group.

It could have been golf's equivalent of Steve Harmison's first ball of the 2006-07 Ashes. Instead, McIlroy strode deep into corporate land and left his recovery shot just short of the green. Europe halved the hole. It set the standard for McIlroy's morning turn, his determination further cemented by a little episode on the second.

McIlroy's tee shot came to rest near a sprinkler. McDowell immediately claimed relief, America – Jim Furyk in particular – objected. The chief referee was summoned. He sided with America. Furyk looked McIlroy straight in the eye. 'You do understand, don't you' he said. He might as well have added 'sonny'. Furyk has close to 20 years on McIlroy.

Sandman: McIlroy plays from a bunker during Friday morning's Ryder Cup foursomes

Sandman: McIlroy plays from a bunker during Friday morning's Ryder Cup foursomes

So fractious was the mood that the
pairs could then not agree on whose turn it was to putt, and the pin was
used to measure distance from the hole.

'It's not going to be a nice match
now,' said Darren Clarke's mum, part of a large European entourage
following the game. 'I've never seen anything like that at the Ryder
Cup.'

McIlroy, though, grew from the incident. Faced with a difficult chip from the back of the fourth green, he sank it with a master craftsman's precision. His celebration – fist clenched, face unsmiling and defiant, eyes coldly furious – would not have been out of place on the football pitch. That sprinkler nonsense had made him angry and, like The Hulk, America wasn't going to like him when he's angry.

Yet even before the afternoon session there were signs of mental fatigue. Three up standing on the 13th tee, Team Northern Ireland were comfortable. Even when Furyk sank a par putt to claw a hole back, Europe's win seemed assured. But 15 is the ultimate risk-reward hole, a short par four with a green that can be taken on from the tee, but is guarded by serious water.

Stars and stripes: Phil Mickelson celebrates with wife Amy (R) after defeating McIlroy and McDowell

Stars and stripes: Phil Mickelson celebrates with wife Amy (R) after defeating McIlroy and McDowell

Furyk went bold, almost drove the green. McDowell tried to follow him, found the lake. It seemed a poor call. He could just as easily have laid up and trusted McIlroy to target the pin. Now the crowd were raucous and the lead cut to one. At the next, Snedeker put his second shot to three feet. All square.

And that was how it remained until the last, when Snedeker cracked, sending his tee shot wildly right. McDowell found sand with his second. Now it was McIlroy's moment. He stepped into the bunker and lofted the ball close.

McDowell did the rest. It was gladiatorial golf at its finest. They started an argument: he finished it.

By the afternoon, though, the scoreboard had been painted red. McIlroy looked exhausted. McDowell had struck his last shot of the day in the drink. 'Oh baby, I wish I could go 36 more,' said Bradley. Then again, he doesn't have a dirty great bull's-eye on his back.

Ryder Cup 2012: Opening ceremony at Medinah Country Club

Seve's memory brings tears to Olazabal's eyes as Timberlake opens the 39th Ryder Cup

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UPDATED:

00:20 GMT, 28 September 2012

The 39th Ryder Cup exploded into life with a star-studded opening ceremony in Chicago, at which Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal wept over the memory of his late, great friend, Seve Ballesteros.

American pop star Justin Timberlake hosted the bash at Medinah Country Club and there was also a guest appearance from 18-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps.

Olazabal and his American counterpart, David Love III, rounded off the night by announcing the pairings for Friday's foursomes, which will get the real action underway at 1.20pm UK time.

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell are in Europe's first group, meaning one of the Northern Irishmen will tee off the competition as Europe have the honour as the visiting team. The Ulstermen will take on Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker.

Great friends: Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal wipes away a tear at the mention of Seve Ballesteros

Great friends: Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal wipes away a tear at the mention of Seve Ballesteros

All the players on both teams were
introduced by their captains, and were accompanied by their wives and
girlfriends – with the notable absence of tennis star Caroline
Wozniacki, McIlroy's partner, who is busy at a tournament in Tokyo.

Olazabal also delivered a moving
speech that made reference to Ballesteros, his fellow Spaniard, former
Ryder Cup partner and close friend, who passed away last May after
battling with a brain tumour.

Europe's captain had to take a moment to compose himself while speaking before wiping tears away from his eyes.

In the second game Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia, both unbeaten in foursomes in the match, take on Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, like Snedeker a cup rookie.

Lee Westwood has been given Italian Francesco Molinari as his partner – they face Zach Johnson and another debutant in Jason Dufner – while Tiger Woods is kept until last by home captain Davis Love.

Line up: USA (left) and Europe (right) players stand on the stage during the opening ceremony

Line up: USA (left) and Europe (right) players stand on the stage during the opening ceremony

Woods and Steve Stricker will take on Justin Rose and Ian Poulter, who has spoken of wanting to 'kill' his opponents in the biennial competition.

Poulter has faced Woods twice before and lost both times, but has won eight of his other nine games.

The action starts at 7.20am local time and the foursomes will be followed by afternoon fourballs.

Woods and Stricker boast a 6-2 winning record together, but their last two games were the 6&5 drubbing by Westwood and Donald in Wales two years ago and then a 7&6 hammering by Adam Scott and KJ Choi at the start of last November's Presidents Cup. They did not play together again that week after that.

Cool customers: Europe's Graeme McDowell and USA's Phil Mickelson (right) are introduced to the crowd

Cool customers: Europe's Graeme McDowell and USA's Phil Mickelson (right) are introduced to the crowd

It means the four left out by Olazabal, who cried during the opening ceremony at the first mention of the late Seve Ballesteros, were Scot Paul Lawrie, Germany's former world No 1 Martin Kaymer, Swede Peter Hanson and Belgian newcomer Nicolas Colsaerts.

The quartet kept waiting to play by Love were his two major winners this year – Masters champion Bubba Watson and US Open champion Webb Simpson – plus Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.

It would have been a huge shock if McIlroy and McDowell were not together again.

The captains: Jose Maria Olazabal (left) and Davis Love III lead their teams out at the opening ceremony

The captains: Jose Maria Olazabal (left) and Davis Love III lead their teams out at the opening ceremony

Close friends and compatriots, they had a modest one win, one half and one loss at Celtic Manor two years ago, but won three out of four in the 2009 Seve Trophy in Paris and have twice been World Cup partners as well.

In Donald, Garcia and Westwood Europe can call on three players with outstanding foursomes records in the event.

Donald will be looking to make it a perfect seven out of seven. His first four wins in 2004 and 2006 came with Garcia as his partner and two years ago he won with Poulter and then with Westwood.

Ready to go: USA's Bubba Watson, and Tiger Woods are introduced during the opening ceremony

Ready to go: USA's Bubba Watson, and Tiger Woods are introduced during the opening ceremony

Opening pair: Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy will elad off the European team

Opening pair: Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy will elad off the European team

Garcia is unbeaten in nine foursomes, eight of them victories, while Westwood has not lost any of his last 10 games in the format going back to 1999.

His partners in that time have been Darren Clarke, Garcia, Colin Montgomerie, Kaymer and Donald – and now he links up with the Italian whose debut two years ago came alongside his brother Edoardo.

A month after that Molinari pipped Westwood to his first world championship title in Shanghai – with the best of the rest nine shots further back.

Meet the team: The European players and support staff at Medinah Country Club

Meet the team: The European players and support staff at Medinah Country Club

Garcia remains the only teenager ever to appear in the match, his debut in 1999 coming a month after he and Woods battled for the USPGA Championship at Medinah. Jesper Parnevik was his first partner and they won their opening three games and got a half in the other, while in subsequent foursomes the Spaniard has won with Westwood, Donald and Olazabal.

Rose and Poulter won two of their three games together four years ago, Rose not making the 2010 match despite winning twice in America that summer.

Mickelson has won only two of his last 14 pairs games in the event, but was always expected to start with Bradley in his ninth appearance, an American record.

Centre stage: Justin Timberlake was the compere for the opening ceremony in Chicago

Centre stage: Justin Timberlake was the compere for the opening ceremony in Chicago

Inspiration: America's 18-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps speaks during the opening ceremony

Inspiration: America's 18-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps speaks during the opening ceremony

Olazabal told the crowd in his speech his side 'have every intention of taking it (the cup) back home' with them and also managed to pay his latest tribute to his former partner Ballesteros, who died in May last year following a long battle with a brain tumour.

'Of course I can't forget a great friend in the name of Seve Ballesteros,' he said. 'He was a special man. I believe Seve reflected the core of Ryder Cup values – no quitting and be prepared to chase any adversity.

'From him I learnt what true passion is all about. Seve, we miss you.'

Support: The European team's wives and girfriends were in attendance at the big event

Support: The European team's wives and girfriends were in attendance at the big event

Catwalk: Diane Donald (left), wife of Europe star Luke, leads out the players' wives and girlfriends

Catwalk: Diane Donald (left), wife of Europe star Luke, leads out the players' wives and girlfriends

Olazabal was also asked what advice Ballesteros would give him.

'Just play hard, play with passion and win the damn points,' added Olazabal.

Told that Molinari's inclusion as an eighth different partner for Westwood in his eighth appearance was somewhat surprising, Olazabal added: 'Well it might surprise you, but when you look at Francesco's game, he's a steady player. He very rarely misses a shot. He's straight off the tee. He hits good iron shots.

Choking back the tears: Jose Maria Olazabal took a moment to compose himself when talking about Seve

Choking back the tears: Jose Maria Olazabal took a moment to compose himself when talking about Seve

'And that's pretty much what you look for when you are playing foursomes. So you have to have the guys that are consistent and I felt that Francesco is one of those guys.'

All eight omitted from the opening session will be hoping to enter the fray in the afternoon fourballs.

Speaking about his pair, Woods said: 'Strick and I are very comfortable together. We've had some pretty good success over the years and we both have been playing well.

Shady: Justin Rose and Bubba Watson (right) and Lee Westwood (left) and Tiger Woods

Shady: Justin Rose and Bubba Watson (right) and Lee Westwood (left) and Tiger Woods

'Our captain said that would be a good fit and he wanted us out there to anchor.

'We know each other's game and we practise a lot together at tournaments. We know what to expect from each other.'

And Mickelson said: 'I'm really excited to play with Keegan – we have been wanting it for a while.

'We have a very difficult match. Luke I don't think has ever lost in foursomes and we are hopefully going to change that.'

Snedeker stated: '[I'm] really excited. Jim is playing great and a great guy to lean on. He's got so much experience.'

Ryder Cup 2012: Davis Love wants to beat Jose Maria Olazabal

We want to pummel them: Love desperate to snatch Ryder Cup win over Europe

PUBLISHED:

08:42 GMT, 27 September 2012

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UPDATED:

08:42 GMT, 27 September 2012

The overwhelming theme of this week's Ryder Cup has seemed to be fun and mutual respect, but the USA team captain Davis Love says he wants to pummel Jose Maria Olazabal's Europe.

After Ian Poulter questioned: 'How can you can be great mates with somebody, but, boy, do you want to kill them in Ryder Cup', United States captain Davis Love admitted it is inevitable that he and opposite number Olazabal will clash at some point.

With more and more European players basing themselves in America – only three team members were with Olazabal on the 'team' flight from London to Chicago on Monday – Lee Westwood concedes there is 'definitely less of a them-and-us type thing' now between the players.

Respect: Davis Love (left) wants to beat his friend Jose Maria Olazabal at the Ryder Cup

Respect: Davis Love (left) wants to beat his friend Jose Maria Olazabal at the Ryder Cup

Previous contests have already seen both teams socialising together once the match is concluded, a trend Love stressed would continue on Sunday evening at Medinah, regardless of the outcome.

However, anyone fearing the biennial contest was in danger of losing its famous edge should not be too concerned ahead of Friday's opening foursomes and fourball matches.

'It's intense,' Love said. 'Do we want to pummel them Yes we do. We want to win.

'You know what, Olly and I will go toe-to-toe at some point because it's intense.

'It'll be about carts going over a bridge or he has more carts than me or something.

'I remember Tom (Kite) with Seve (Ballesteros) once when Tom's ball was clearly on the green, but Seve asked about it (whether it could be marked) and I went in and said “OK boys, back off”.

'It was the way it was handled.

'Olly and I will get testy, but it will be respectful and for the crowd to be fair is ultimately the goal.'

Whether the crowd is fair remains to be seen, with all 24 players expecting a sport-mad city like Chicago to provide raucous galleries eager for the home side to regain the trophy and claim only a second US win in six attempts.

Something else: Ian Poulter is getting in the spirit of competition ahead of Friday's start

Something else: Ian Poulter is getting in the spirit of competition ahead of Friday's start

Local boy: Man of the Europe team now live stateside, including Luke Donald (centre)

Local boy: Man of the Europe team now live stateside, including Luke Donald (centre)

Martin Kaymer felt Tuesday's first practice round had been quieter than expected, but Olazabal could feel the atmosphere building on Wednesday as he looked ahead to Thursday's opening ceremony.

'It's great to be at this position and getting closer to Friday's matches,' said Olazabal, who experienced the 'War on the Shore' at Kiawah Island in 1991 and the 'Battle of Brookline' in 1999 as a player.

'There is not much more room to manoeuvre at the moment, so everything is set. Players are ready. We are all eager to see the first match on that first tee.

'The sooner we get to that point, obviously the more excitement you feel, the more pressure, the more tension. You can see that in the crowds today.

'They were already dropping a few “USAs” in there and stuff like that.

Unfazed: Jose Maria Olazabal is readying himself for a clash with Love's team

Unfazed: Jose Maria Olazabal is readying himself for a clash with Love's team

'I think Friday morning is going to be amazing. It's going to be loud. That's the beauty of this event.'

Europe have won four of the last five contests, but six of the last seven have also been won by the home side, with bookmakers making the United States favourites to regain the trophy last won under Paul Azinger at Valhalla in 2008.

A high-quality, low-scoring contest seems certain, with Europe boasting four of the world's top five – all 24 players are within the top 35 – and Love opting for very light rough off the fairways and around the greens to promote birdies and eagles.

It should be a match of which the late Ballesteros, who is being honoured by both teams this week, would be proud.

Ryder Cup 2012: Tiger Woods says USA are targeting Rory McIlroy

USA targeting McIlroy at Ryder Cup as Woods warns world No 1 to expect rough ride at Medinah

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UPDATED:

22:15 GMT, 25 September 2012

Tiger Woods has warned Rory McIlroy ahead of the Ryder Cup that he will have to accept being targeted by the opposition now that he is acknowledged as the world's best golfer.

'You're always going to want to try and take out their best player, that's just part of the deal,' said Woods, who despite his burgeoning friendship with the Northern Irishman has not given him the benefit of his experience in that position.

'I'm not going to say anything, obviously he's playing for the other team, but we can talk about it afterwards.

No 1: Rory McIlroy (left) will be targeted according to Tiger Woods

No 1: Rory McIlroy (left) will be targeted according to Tiger Woods

'It's part of being consistent, part of being ranked No1 and winning major championships. I certainly have relished it over the years.'

Former US Captain Paul Azinger claimed this week that McIlroy 'can slump his shoulders', and the Americans will hope that the US PGA champion does not improve on his only previous Ryder Cup experience, when he only managed a win, a loss and two halves at Celtic Manor.

McIlroy was immediately supported by captain Jose Maria Olazabal, who said: 'At this moment he's very close to how good Tiger was at that stretch of time between '99 and '02.

He's full of confidence, and it's great to have players like him on your team.'

Europe's team lined up on Tuesday, showing off golf bags that will honour the memory of Severiano Ballesteros with silhouettes of him on the front and back.

The image is also on yardage books and they plan to wear his trademark navy trousers, navy sweater and white shirt when the singles are played on Sunday.

Part of the deal: Woods says that McIlroy should expect the US players to raise their game for him

Part of the deal: Woods says that McIlroy should expect the US players to raise their game for him

Part of the deal: Woods says that McIlroy should expect the US players to raise their game for him

'It's tough for me, the first time that Seve is not going to be with us during the Ryder Cup, I miss the phone call that he did to the team at Celtic Manor,' said Olazabal.

'I wanted to have something that was present to each and every player.

We came up with the idea of the silhouette so every time a player grabs a club or something from the bag they can see the silhouette.'

Of the iconic shape he added: 'Seve always said that was the sweetest moment of his career, winning at St Andrews, making that putt to beat Tom Watson.'

Graeme McDowell, hero of Celtic Manor, warned his team-mates about the boisterous soundtrack they are likely to experience as they plot their way around the Medinah course.

'It's something you've got to accept this week,' he said. 'Putts that drop in front of your home fans are like a bomb going off.'

Warning shot: Woods is hoping the USA team can wrestle the trophy from the Europeans

Warning shot: Woods is hoping the USA team can wrestle the trophy from the Europeans

Ryder Cup 2012: Lee Westwood eyes Nick Faldo"s record

Englishman Westwood eyes Faldo's Ryder Cup points record

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 21 September 2012

When it comes to the Ryder Cup, Lee Westwood is keeping the most rarified company. The only European players who have amassed more points than him are Sir Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomere, Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal.

It's quite possible, when he makes his eighth appearance at Medinah next week, he could go past both Spanish maestros. No wonder he values his Ryder Cup record so highly.

'I've got 19 points and I hope to play in several more Ryder Cups and win many more points,' said the 39 year old. 'Faldo holds the record with 25 points and it's certainly a goal of mine to become the top scorer. You've always got to have ambitions in this game, and that one is right up there.'

All smiles: Westwood will compete at next week's Ryder Cup

All smiles: Westwood will compete for Europe at next week's Ryder Cup

Adding further motivation is the fact he blames Faldo for the one really sour moment he has experienced.

It came in 2008 at Valhalla when Faldo was the captain. Westwood, playing a fourballs match in the company of Soren Hansen and on the cusp of equalling Arnold Palmer's record of 12 matches unbeaten, was told he was going to be dropped from a series of matches the following morning for the first time in his career.

Record: The Englishman has Faldo's points haul in his sights

Record: The Englishman has Faldo's points haul in his sights

'It was easily the worst moment, it just seemed such a strange time to drop somebody,' said Westwood, who was clearly flat when he did get out on the course the following afternoon, partnering Hansen again and losing his unbeaten record.

'I don't think captains can help significantly in winning a match but if they get the little things wrong they can have a significant effect on you losing it,' he added.

Ouch.

It's an illustration of the fire that's in his belly when it comes to these biennial matches. Ironically enough, it all began for him with a successful partnership with Faldo at Valderrama in 1997. Since then he has been the unheralded rock of so many stirring victories, forging partnerships with the likes of Darren Clarke and relishing putting America's leading lights to the sword.

'You'd think having played in seven the excitement might have lessened but that's certainly not the case. I might know what to expect but I'm still really excited. I think this will be a great Ryder Cup, with two even teams and all 24 players ranked among the top 36 players in the world, which I believe is the first time that has ever happened.'

Way back when: Westwood's Ryder Cup debut came alongside Faldo in 1997

Way back when: Westwood's Ryder Cup debut came alongside Faldo in 1997

One of the things Westwood loves is the banter. Told that American captain Davis Love has been trying to 'European proof' the course by making it a birdie-fest, he smiles and says: 'Well, that will make it an even bigger achievement if we somehow manage to win, won't it They've got home advantage and a course only they can play. What a triumph it would be to beat them!'

Westwood confirmed that he would love to be captain one day, and will take a step in that direction by becoming the on-course leader this time. 'I feel I am getting to that stage now,' he acknowledged.

Champagne moment: Westwood celebrates Europe's win in 2010

Champagne moment: Westwood celebrates Europe's win in 2010

'I have played in as many or more Ryder Cups than most of the captains I have played under, so I do have a lot of experience and can take on a more responsible role. I have witnessed what captains do right and what they do wrong, and if I am asked I will certainly give my opinion.'

What's the hardest thing about playing a Ryder Cup away from home

'I suppose it is the fact you're not getting the same level of feedback to which you are accustomed,' he said.

'When you hole a putt you're used to everybody clapping. In the Ryder Cup in America, only a few people do and so you have to go into your own bubble and remember they can't influence you unless you let them. They can't pick the ball up and throw it in the water, can they So you just have to make sure you don't let the atmosphere get to you.'

Westwood is pleased with the events of the last six weeks, which has seen the European team running nicely into form.

'I'd say for most of the year the USA have been favourites but maybe the momentum has shifted a little,' he said.

'I'd still make them favourites, if only for the fact they are playing at home, but it's more evenly matched now. I look at our team and I think we have got a lot of experience, a lot of good match players in there. The only guy playing it for the first time is Nicolas (Colsaerts) and he is world matchplay champion this year. The golf course is long and he is the longest hitter on either side. So I'm very happy and impressed with how our team has turned out.'

He is looking forward to playing under Jose Maria Olazabal.

'The Seve effect has obviously rubbed off on him when it comes to the Ryder Cup,' said Westwood.

'He will bring a great attitude and lots of emotion. He will inspire people. When he gives a speech to the team, he is as good as anyone I have ever seen.'

And the one man in the team whom Olazabal has kept more fully informed is Westwood.

The role of the top player might be Rory McIlroy's these days but Rory is the first to acknowledge that he, like everyone else in the European team room, will be looking up to Westy when it comes to Medinah.

Javier Ballesteros wins amateur Madrid Open

Ballesteros Jnr clinches amateur title and dedicates win to late father Seve

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UPDATED:

12:39 GMT, 17 September 2012

No sooner had Seve Ballesteros's son Javier won the amateur Madrid Open title than he dedicated the victory to his late father.

Former world No 1 and five-time major winner Seve lost his battle with cancer in May of last year, aged 54.

Like father, like son: Javier Ballesteros (right)

Like father, like son: Javier Ballesteros (right)

But his 22-year-old son – who has delayed turning professional until he completes his law studies at the city’s Complutense University – looks to be a chip off the old block.

'My father always told me that you have to play with what you’ve got, and that’s what I did,' Javier said after finishing six under par and winning by four shots.

Legend: Seve won five major titles

Legend: Seve won five major titles

Legend: Seve won five major titles

'I thought about him a lot during the 18 holes and I dedicate this victory to him and my mother.'

The victory is the biggest of Javier's career to date, though he did finish a creditable 12th in his first professional event at the Peugeot Alps de Barcelona tournament in April.

Rory McIlroy ready for FedEx Cup finale

In-from McIlroy won't rest on his laurels ahead of FedEx Cup finale

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UPDATED:

14:28 GMT, 10 September 2012

After three wins in his last four starts in America Rory McIlroy is entitled to his little chill out time in New York this week.

But then it will be back to business next week in Atlanta, where the 23-year-old Northern Irishman has a golden opportunity to land a jackpot worth over 7.15million.

Golf's undisputed world No 1 has already banked more than 2.7m in the past month – it works out at over 2,500 for each shot he has hit – but in money terms the big prize still lies ahead.

Winning feeling: Rory McIlroy has triumphed in his last two events in America

Winning feeling: Rory McIlroy has triumphed in his last two events in America

Having captured the second and third legs of the FedEx Cup play-offs McIlroy will head into the 30-man Tour Championship as firm favourite for the 6.25m bonus that goes to the winner of the four-tournament series.

And adding the event itself would earn him an additional 900,000 on the eve of the Ryder Cup in Chicago.

McIlroy now has six victories in the United States to his name – the same number that Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros managed in their entire careers.

Four have come this season, the latest a two-stroke triumph over cup team-mate Lee Westwood and Phil Mickelson at the BMW Championship in Indiana on Sunday night.

This week will mostly be about recharging his batteries, but he also has planned a training session with the New York Knicks basketball team.

'I'm making the right decisions out there and everything is really just going to plan at the minute,' McIlroy said.

No 1: McIlroy extended his lead at the top of the world rankings

No 1: McIlroy extended his lead at the top of the world rankings

Those decisions included simply playing at Crooked Stick.

'Some suggested that I could have taken a week off and still could have been in the top five in the FedEx Cup standings going into Atlanta.

'But I felt like I was playing really well and didn't want to stop. I sort of picked up where I left off in Boston.

'It's a nice run to be on and I want to try and keep it going for as long as possible.

'I'm confident in my ability and confident with the shots that I'm hitting and confident on the greens.'

Tiger Woods, third and fourth the past fortnight and up to second in the world as a result, commented: 'He's doing the things he needs to do.

'Right now he's just really playing well and he's making a ton of putts. That's a great combo.

Ultimate: McIlroy celebrates with his caddie after winning the BMW Championship

Ultimate: McIlroy celebrates with his caddie after winning the BMW Championship

'He's a great player, he's playing great and he's going to be tough at East Lake. But we'll see – we've got 11 days or so to prepare.'

The FedEx Cup system means that the top five in the points standings – McIlroy, Woods, Nick Watney, Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker – still go into the final play-off event knowing that a victory will make them the overall champion.

That seems slightly unfair on McIlroy, who actually built a lead of 3,232 points this weekend, but has it slashed to 250 points to make the series climax more exciting.

All 30 qualifiers still have a chance and last year saw Bill Haas come from 25th to take both the tournament and the FedEx Cup.

McIlroy is one of six Europeans left in. The others are Westwood, Luke Donald, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Carl Pettersson.

Failing to make it into the 30, however, means two weeks off for Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter before the Ryder Cup, whereas American captain Davis Love will see all 12 of his side in action in Atlanta.

The Open 2012: Live coverage of day three

THE OPEN LIVE: All the action as it happens from the third round at Royal Lytham

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UPDATED:

13:09 GMT, 21 July 2012

THE OPEN ESSENTIALS

Click here for Saturday's tee times

Click here for a hole-by-hole guide

Click here for the live leaderboard

Welcome to Sportsmail's live coverage of The Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

Seve Ballesteros won the Claret Jug twice here and David Duval triumphed the last time the oldest major was played on this stretch of the Fylde coast (2001).

Tiger Woods is the bookies' favourite this week, and has put himself in contention after the opening two rounds of the tournament.

Brandt Snedeker and Adam Scott were leading the play ahead of what should be a thrilling weekend at Lytham.

Stick with us and we'll bring you the latest news, live scores and all the best pictures. And if you want to get in touch, leave a comment on the section at the bottom of the page or email [email protected]

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

2.07 Ah, a corker from Padraig Harrington on the last. A soaring, fading mid-iron taking on the dangerous pin location at the back of the green, spinning back towards the cup and leaving him eight feet or so for a closing birdie.

2.05 Louis lets a shot go at the fifth after sliding his par putt from 15 feet past the cup.

2.02 Now I could watch this all day: Ernie Els hitting balls on the practice range. How does he hit the ball so far with such little effort Magic. The three-time major champion and 2002 Open winner tees off at 2.40.

2.00 Poulter completes a fine front nine by rattling in his first birdie putt of the day from 15 feet. Eight consecutive pars followed by a bird. The Englishman is into the red numbers and is not yet out of the running.

1.59 Oosthuizen continues to creep into contention, his second birdie in the opening four holes drags him to two under par and up the leaderboard again.

1.55 A few more birdies keep things bubbling nicely just under the first page of the leaderboard. Kyle Stanley is one under through two holes, while Calcavecchia takes advantage of a superb tee shot by holing out from five feet on the first. Both Americans are two under for the tournament.

1.51 Watson putting down the hill on the eighth green from 20 feet… and he makes it! Good ol' Bubba from Bagdad is enjoying a fine afternoon, his third birdie of the day taking him to two under for the round and the tournament. A few fireworks on the back nine and he's right in this.

1.45 Right, things are about to get serious. The boys under par are now starting their rounds, beginning with 1989 winner Mark Calcavecchia and Argentina's Andres Romero. Argentine golfers are rare beasts, and it's a stinker of a first shot for this one as he stuffs his tee shot into a deep greenside bunker.

1.39 The pin position on the 357-yard 13th is rather inviting today for the longest hitters, and one man not afraid to have a dash with the big stick is McIlroy. He may be a wee lad but the Ulsterman gives his ball an almighty crack – this one's off line though and he finds the rough to the right of the green.

1.30 Vijay Singh, the former Masters and US PGA champion, is another who has reason to be cheerful about his day's work. The big Fijian comes home in 68 blows to sit level par overall. But that's only good enough for a tie for 28th right now.

1.17 Marvellous blue skies and beaming sunshine at Lytham this afternoon, a fine day for the Blackpool beach I dare say. The British seaside in the sun – is there any better place to be Playing links golf by the British seaside in the sun, perhaps.

Big-hitter: Bubba Watson in action during day three at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club

Big hitter: Bubba Watson in action during day three at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club

1.10 King Louis Oosthuizen is reckoned by many to be the king of the swingers, but he proves his putting stroke is just as silky smooth as his long game by holing a beautiful 30-footer to kick-start his third round with a birdie on the first. The 2010 champion is one under overall.

1.08 Birdie for Bubba! Well that's a real bonus for Watson, holing from off the green on the short fifth after coming up short with his eight-iron approach. More steady stuff from Poulter, a fifth consecutive par.

1.04 A sprinkling of Spanish magic from Miguel Angel Jimenez in the best spirit of Seve, twice champion at Lytham. The wily old so-and-so somehow sticks his ball six feet from the pin despite hacking out of some seriously thick rough way back on the fourth hole.

12.59 Ach, Bubba drops back to level for the day after missing his par putt from five feet. Poulter's birdie putt whistles past the cup.

12.55 They may just be a little too far back to seriously contend this weekend – and note that I said 'may' there – but you could do worse than following Poulter and Watson round today. Poulter has already made one miraculous par scramble from a fairway bunker on the third and is now pin high, 20 feet from the pin with his approach to the fourth. Bubba, meanwhile, finds sand with his short iron.

12.45 Rory McIlroy's woes are showing no signs of easing – the Northern Irishman has covered the front nine in 37 strokes – three over par – after bogeys at the fourth, fifth and eighth. Rory is five over par for the championship. Not what he had in mind after a fine opening 67.

Another who has flattered to deceive with a barn-storming opening round is big-hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, who also sits at five over par having shot a brilliant five-under 65 to start. Funny old game, isn't it

Keep out of that thick stuff: Englishman Greg Owen in action amid the fearsome rough

Keep out of that thick stuff: Englishman Greg Owen in action amid the fearsome rough

12.40 A fine third round comes to an end for another reigning major champion – US PGA winner Keegan Bradley firing a 68 to sit at one over par.

12.35 Big Bubba Watson, the reigning Masters champion, is making an early move. A towering, 190-yard seven-iron off the first tee sets up a simple birdie and the American bomber leaps into red numbers for both his round and the championship. His playing partner today is Ian Poulter, and the pair exchange pleasantries on the way to the green, Bubba asking Poulter where he lives. How quaint.

12.25 Here's a run-down of the day's most significant tee times as we get down to the meat of the third day at Royal Lytham. You can full list of tee times at the top of this article.

13:05 Louis Oosthuizen (SA), Martin Laird (Sco)
13:35 Simon Khan (Eng)
14:10 Simon Dyson (Eng)
14:30 Luke Donald (Eng)
14:40 Ernie Els (SA)
14:50 Graeme McDowell (NIre)
15:00 Paul Lawrie (Sco)
15:10 Tiger Woods (US),
15:20 Adam Scott (Aus), Brandt Snedeker (US)

12.15 The action has been underway since eight this morning, albeit featuring players who have left themselves with far too much to do to catch the leaders. Still, some of the game's big guns already have their feet up in the clubhouse having completed their third rounds.

Lee Westwood, much fancied this week yet again but sadly well off his usual best, shot a one-over-par 71 and lies four over for the championship. His playing partner, five-time champion Tom Watson, could only manage a 76 and is close to propping up the field on nine over. John Daly, the 1995 champion, is doing precisely that on 10 over after a 77.

Great American hope Rickie Fowler is level par after a 70, while Dutchman Joost Luiten broke par with a 69 and is the current clubhouse leader on two under. Expect that to change very soon.

Old master: Tom Watson tees off on the 14th during his third round at Lytham on Saturday

Old master: Tom Watson tees off on the 14th during his third round at Lytham on Saturday

12.00 Afternoon all… and what an afternoon. The sun is shining at long last, just in time for moving day at the 141st Open Championship.

American Brandt Snedeker leads Aussie Adam Scott by one at 10 under par – he hasn't carded a five in two rounds, for goodness' sake – but there's a Tiger on the prowl. Woods' quest for a 15th major title is gathering pace and he lies just four strokes adrift.

There's also plenty to keep the home fans interested too, with Scot Paul Lawrie, the 1999 champion, level with Tiger and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell also in the hunt. The Ulsterman is six adrift on four under par.


Leading the way: Brandt Snedeker went into the weekend leading The Open at Lytham

Leading the way: Brandt Snedeker went into the weekend leading The Open at Lytham