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Ryder Cup 2012: Europe win after Martin Kaymer holds his nerve

Miracle men! Kaymer holds his nerve on the 18th as Euro stars retain Ryder Cup

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UPDATED:

22:59 GMT, 30 September 2012

Dressed in the colours of the late Seve Ballesteros, Europe pulled off one of his trademark great escapes in what will go down as the 'Miracle of Medinah'.

What looked mission impossible when Europe trailed 10-4 at one point late on Saturday night suddenly became possible after they dramatically won the first five singles games and then picked up further points from Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia.

That put Jose Maria Olazabal's side, almost unbelievably, 13-12 up and as the holders they needed only a tie to retain the cup. Yet they ended up winning it 14-13.

Magic moment: Kaymer sinks the winning put on the 18th green before running over to celebrate with his team-mates

Magic moment: Kaymer sinks the winning put on the 18th green before running over to celebrate with his team-mates

Magic moment: Kaymer sinks the winning put on the 18th green before running over to celebrate with his team-mates

Magic moment: Kaymer sinks the winning put on the 18th green before running over to celebrate with his team-mates
RYDER CUP ESSENTIALS

Click here to re-live the action as it happened

Click here for all the statistics from Medinah

Three games were still on the course.
Peter Hanson lost the first of them on the final green, but Martin
Kaymer and Francesco Molinari had it in their power to retain the famous
gold trophy.

And Kaymer, left out all day on
Saturday, was the one to deliver the point they required to match the
biggest comeback in the event's history.

He was up against Steve Stricker.
Level with two to go, the American bogeyed the short 17th after hitting
his chip far too strongly.

Kaymer, bunkered off the final tee, found the green and had two putts for it once Stricker missed his long birdie attempt.

Luke who's talking: Donald won the first match of the day

Luke who's talking: Donald won the first match of the day

He gave himself and his team-mates
palpitations when he sent his first one six feet past, but 21 years on
from compatriot Bernhard Langer missing from the same distance to lose
at Kiawah Island Kaymer made the one back and sparked jubilant scenes.

Moments before Molinari had fallen one
down to Tiger Woods by bogeying the 17th himself, but suddenly it did
not matter. The cup was going back across the Atlantic.

They played on, however, and when
Woods bogeyed he conceded Molinari's par putt – a move that gave Europe
their fifth win in the last six games.

They won the 12 singles by a simply stunning 8-3 margin.

Nerves of steel: Poulter continued his fine form to see off Webb Simpson

Nerves of steel: Poulter continued his fine form to see off Webb Simpson

It was no surprise to see Olazabal,
who of course formed with Ballesteros the greatest partnership in the
event's history, crying.

'It means a lot – not just for me,' he
said. 'This is for the whole of Europe, all those 12 wonderful men, my
four vice-captains and that band of caddies.

'Seve will always be present with this
team. He was a big factor for this event and last night when we had
that meeting I think the boys understood that believing was the big
thing.

'It's been a tough week. Until today
nothing went our way – we struggled on the greens, but this morning I
felt we were a little better in that regard.

No 1: McIlroy overcame a strong challenge from Keegan Bradley

No 1: McIlroy overcame a strong challenge from Keegan Bradley

No 1: McIlroy overcame a strong challenge from Keegan Bradley

'I've been under pressure hitting shots, but today tops that.'

Kaymer said: 'It's a feeling I've never had before. Bernhard helped me so much, just to sit me down and talk about it.

'Now I know how it feels to win the Ryder Cup.'

Stunned American captain Davis Love said: 'I would not have done anything differently. They played great.

'When you lose a segment (session) that badly it's going to cost you.'

The four-point overnight deficit
became three when Luke Donald beat Masters champion Bubba Watson 2&1
in the top game. It was a massive relief after he led by four with four
to play.

Coming up Rose's: Justin Rose won the last two holes to win a thriller against Mickelson

Coming up Rose's: Justin Rose won the last two holes to win a thriller against Mickelson

Coming up Rose's: Justin Rose's won the last two holes to beat Mickelson

Coming up Rose's: Justin Rose won the last two holes to win a thriller against Mickelson

Scot Paul Lawrie crushed last Sunday's
7million FedEx Cup winner Brandt Snedeker 5&3 – he was six under
par with an eagle and four birdies – and Rory McIlroy then beat
previously unbeaten Keegan Bradley 2&1.

That was not the world No 1's biggest drama of the day, though.

As the singles began word reached everybody that McIlroy, out in the third game, was nowhere to be seen around the course.

Two minutes late and he would forfeit
the opening hole, five minutes late and he faced disqualification, but
to the relief of every European he was driven into the parking lot with
10 minutes to go, got his shoes on and gave a superb display.

Braveheart: Lawrie (right) easily saw off Snedeker

Braveheart: Lawrie (right) easily saw off Snedeker

Olazabal admitted his heart had been
'racing quicker than expected' until McIlroy teed off and added: 'We did
not have that in mind.

'All of a sudden we realised Rory was not here and started to look for him. Finally we got hold of him and he came in.'

It was reported the Northern Irishmen
had seen a 12.25am tee-off time on television, but it was Eastern Time –
one hour ahead of Chicago.

After his win McIlroy said: 'I was
just casually strolling out of my hotel room when I got a phone call
saying you have 25 minutes.

Johnson and Johnson: American duo Dustin (above) and Zach (below) won the hosts' first points of the day

Johnson and Johnson: American duo Dustin (above) and Zach (below) won the hosts' first points of the day

Johnson and Johnson: American duo Dustin (above) and Zach (below) won the hosts' first points of the day

'I have never been so worried driving
to the course. Luckily there was a State Trooper outside who gave me the
escort – if not I would not have made it on time.'

McIlroy never trailed, but star man Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Garcia all did.

Poulter, whose finish to the second
session of fourballs really inspired the comeback, made it four wins out
of four – and 12 wins in his last 14 cup games – beat US Open champion
Webb Simpson on the last after being two down early on.

They were level with two to go, but
Simpson failed to get up and down from a bunker on the short 17th and
could not grab the birdie he needed on the last.

Making amends: Westwood bounced back from a shaky first two days to beat Kuchar

Making amends: Westwood bounced back from a shaky first two days to beat Kuchar

Rose's second win over Phil Mickelson
in his cup career came in amazing fashion. He trailed by one with two to
play, but holed from 40 feet on 17 and 14 feet at the last.

Mickelson, America's record cap-holder
and winner of his first three games, could only stand and admire – and
graciously applauded everything Rose did at the end.

Mickelson can still consider himself
to have had a good week. In contrast Woods had a shocker – and Love
joins 2002 captain Curtis Strange in putting the 14-major winner out
last and seeing his game become totally irrelevant in the destiny of the
cup.

Down and out: Furyk reacts after his missed putt on the 18th hands victory to Garcia

Down and out: Furyk reacts after his missed putt on the 18th hands victory to Garcia

The only previous side to win from
four down entering the singles was Ben Crenshaw's in Boston in 1999 – a
match that ended so controversially with a premature invasion of the
17th green.

Olazabal was on the receiving end of
that, standing there as he waited for calm to be restored and then
missing the putt which meant the Americans could not lose.

That was just another dimension to how sweet this day must have felt.

Job done: Kaymer pumps his fists to hail the victory

Job done: Kaymer pumps his fists to hail the victory

Rory McIlroy will represent Great Britain not Ireland at 2016 Olympics

EXCLUSIVE: Team GB in Rio Rory McIlroy says he owes a lot to Irish golf but feels more British

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UPDATED:

22:51 GMT, 9 September 2012

Ever since it was announced that golf would be part of the next Olympics in Rio it has been the one question Rory McIlroy has refused to answer: will he represent Britain or Ireland

Now, in a wide-ranging interview with Sportsmail, the 23-year-old, whose Northern Irish roots make him eligible for both, has spoken candidly about his dilemma and perhaps given an indication that, when the sport is re-introduced under the Olympic flame in four years, he will play under the colours of Team GB.

‘What makes it such an awful position to be in is I have grown up my whole life playing for Ireland under the Golfing Union of Ireland umbrella,’ he said. ‘But the fact is, I’ve always felt more British than Irish.

Double trouble: Rory McIlroy with the JK Wadley Trophy and the BMW Championship Trophy

Double trouble: Rory McIlroy with the JK Wadley Trophy and the BMW Championship Trophy

Dilemma: McIlroy says he feels more British than Irish

Dilemma: McIlroy says he feels more British than Irish

‘Maybe it was the way I was brought up, I don’t know, but I have always felt more of a connection with the UK than with Ireland. And so I have to weigh that up against the fact that I’ve always played for Ireland and so it is tough. Whatever I do, I know my decision is going to upset some people but I just hope the vast majority will understand.’

This is the first time McIlroy has unequivocally declared an affinity for the UK over Ireland and it will certainly go down like a lead balloon in some quarters.

But all reasonable people will surely recognise the loyalty he has shown to Irish golf over the years and that he has been placed in the invidious position of having to choose through no fault of his own.

McIlroy watched the London Olympics from his rented home at Kiawah Island in South Carolina and, suitably inspired, went out and pummelled the best players in his sport to win the US PGA Championship by a record eight strokes and make his own contribution to this summer to remember.

Since then he has won again in Boston to strengthen his position as world No 1 and it seems safe to pronounce that a period in the game that will become known as the Rory era is now excitingly under way.

This time of year has not always been good to McIlroy. Last year he was wrestling with the dilemma of whether to switch management companies. Two years ago he felt homesick and ended up taking a one-year leave of absence as a member of the US Tour.

Grown: McIlroy says he is more sensible with his winnings now

Grown: McIlroy says he is more sensible with his winnings now

Now his assurance at where he stands and comfort at what he has achieved is obvious and reflected in his decision to declare publicly his allegiance to Britain. His game and his personality have matured to the point where he is at peace with himself and his place in his sport.

Ask him whether he has treated himself to anything now he’s picking up million dollar cheques seemingly every other week and he comes out with the revelation that he doesn’t even own a car, much less a luxury motor.

‘A couple of years ago I would definitely have gone out on a spree after two great wins but you see something and then two months later you see something else, and the appeal of that quickly fades,’ he said.

McIlroy was relaxed as he walked the fairways in practice for the BMW Championship last week. His caddie, JP Fitzgerald, dug into his golf bag at the fourth and fished out a new ball. ‘There you go,’ said McIlroy, quick as a flash. ‘A new ball. That’s my treat to myself.’

The easy manner which earned him so many admirers when he started out on tour has survived the forensic examination of his activities over a difficult May and June. One of his golf partners in Wednesday’s pro-am asked him about his travels and came out with an eye-opening line: ‘Ever played at Kiawah’

Imagine one or two of the prima donnas on tour being asked that after creating history at the place so recently Rory just had a broad smile on his face as he replied: ‘Yeah. Funnily enough, I played it a couple of weeks ago.’

Other half: McIlroy with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki

Other half: McIlroy with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki

Wise beyond his years in so many ways, it’s refreshing to find that, when it comes to matters of the heart, he acts his age. After his win in Boston, watched by his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, he tweeted that she was his ‘lucky charm’ and that he wished she could be at tournaments more often.

There are no wedding plans — ‘Give us a while yet on that one,’ he replied, smiling — but, 15 months on from when they met, it is obvious this is much more than a celebrity infatuation.

Wozniacki’s dedication to tennis has done much to strengthen McIIroy’s own diligence. Now he is hoping to inspire her following a poor year that has seen the Dane plummet from the world No 1 spot.

‘I’ve seen it myself, it’s a very hard thing to stay at No 1 and Caroline was No 1 for two years, with all the expectations that raises,’ said McIlroy. ‘But she has got a lot of good people working around her and she’s the hardest working person I know, so I don’t think there’s any question that she will be back.’

Wozniacki will be in Tokyo during the Ryder Cup and so will miss the biennial parade of the spouses and girlfriends that has bizarrely become part of the occasion. ‘You never know, she might be lucky enough to experience it all at wild and wet Gleneagles in 2014,’ he said, mischievously.

Cheered up: McIlroy is thrilled with how things are going

Cheered up: McIlroy is thrilled with how things are going

Even on a practice day, young and old are lining the route from each green to the following tee, clutching replica flags and memorabilia for him to autograph. McIlroy stops and signs as many as he can before running to each tee to catch up with his playing partners.

He wasn’t quite this cheerful two years ago. ‘Back then I lay 35th or something in the FedEx Cup and, quite frankly, I didn’t care whether I made it through to the Tour Championship or not, which wasn’t the best attitude to have,’ he said.

‘I just wanted to get home, but life’s changed a lot since then. In a way this is my home now. This is my sixth week in a row here, I’ll spend next week in New York, chilling, and then I’ve got two more weeks finishing up with the Ryder Cup. I couldn’t be happier with the way things are going.’

McIlroy got into a spot of bother a few years ago after referring to the Ryder Cup as an exhibition but, when you have grown up with Tiger Woods’s major achievements as your focus, it was, in many respects, an understandable comment. Now he has adopted surely the right stance for someone in his position.

‘Obviously the majors are the ultimate thing for me, it is how you measure yourself against the greats of the past, but the Ryder Cup two years ago certainly opened my eyes,’ he said.

Responsibility: McIlroy will speak up during the Ryder Cup if he has any thoughts

Responsibility: McIlroy will speak up during the Ryder Cup if he has any thoughts

‘What makes it such an amazing week is that everyone from the players to the spectators are all part of it, they all have a role to play in whether you win or lose.

‘This will be my first one in the States, so it is going to be unusual having the majority of the crowd rooting against me. That will be different. How do I see my role in the team room It’s a little tricky. Two years ago, of course, I was just a rookie and listened to everybody. In a way I am still a rookie. I’m only 23 and I’ll be surrounded by great players who have played in a lot more Ryder Cups than myself.

‘But the rankings say I am the best player at the moment and so that brings a responsibility. I still don’t see myself as a leader but I will definitely speak up a lot more if I feel there’s something I can offer.’

Come the Friday morning foursomes, McIlroy will surely resume his partnership with his great friend Graeme McDowell.

‘We’re lucky in that we’ve got some obvious partnerships in the team and G-Mac and myself is certainly one of those,’ he said. ‘We’ve got a particularly good foursomes record but we will see what the captain wants to do. I’m more than happy to play with anyone he tells me. I just want to play.’

Imagine: Watching McIlroy go up against Tiger Woods would be interesting

Imagine: Watching McIlroy go up against Tiger Woods would be interesting

McIlroy did throw up one intriguing potential fourball partner in Sergio Garcia. That would be quite something, wouldn’t it The singles match everyone would like to see, of course, is Rory versus Tiger, although the way the pair are going these days they might talk each other to death.

You can see the delight in McIlroy’s face that the man he looked up to growing up has become a friend. You can also see why Woods has put aside his previous animosity to anyone perceived as a rival to accommodate McIlroy. It is all about Rory’s respectfulness, not only towards Tiger but the game itself.

‘He’s got everything a golfer could want but on top of that he is just a really nice kid,’ said Woods. ‘He’s not going away, that is for sure, and that’s great for the game. It has a great future in his hands.’

What does McIlroy think about Woods reaching $100million in earnings ‘That’s something, isn’t it’ he said. ‘I think I’ve just gone through $20m and I thought that was an incredible sum. But he’s largely responsible for prize funds reaching this amazing level, and nobody’s given it to him in the form of a lucrative contract. He’s earned every penny of it through what he has achieved on the course.’

Big future: We are entering McIlroy's time

Big future: We are entering McIlroy's time

And so the year is reaching the evening shadows with the No 1 target of a second major win safely tucked away and the No 2 of reaching the game’s summit also ticked. Now he has the chance to emulate Luke Donald’s achievement last year and finish as the top money earner on both sides of the Atlantic.

‘I certainly won’t be playing in any Fall Series events in America, so it can’t be that big a priority for me, I guess,’ he said, smiling. ‘But winning the FedEx Cup and the Race to Dubai That’s certainly a double that has got my interest.’

This summer we have learned, like Woods before him, McIlroy has the strength of mind to cope with outside distractions and the inevitable lows in confidence. When you add that to the unrivalled gifts with which he was bequeathed, it leaves us in a very exciting place indeed.

Welcome to Rory’s era, then. What a time it promises to be.

Rory McIlroy wins Deutsche Bank Championship

McIlroy pips Oosthuizen to Deutsche Bank Championship with final round of 67

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UPDATED:

22:47 GMT, 3 September 2012

Rory McIlroy put himself in pole position to take a 10 million dollar morale boost into the Ryder Cup with a sensational win in the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston on Monday night.

The victory took the world No 1 to the top of the FedEx Cup rankings with just two tournaments to go and the mind boggling first prize within his reach when it is settled at the Tour Championship in Atlanta the weekend before Europe and the US do battle at Kiawah Island.

Champion: McIlroy lifts the trophy after shaking hands with Oosthuizen

Champion: McIlroy lifts the trophy after shaking hands with Oosthuizen

Champion: McIlroy lifts the trophy after shaking hands with Oosthuizen

Not that he needs the money too badly – Monday night’s victory was his second 1m payday in a matter of weeks after winning the USPGA Championship.

But his performance underlined the
sensational form the 23-year-old from Holywood has found in the second
half of his first full season on the US Tour.

Top form: McIlroy shot a 67 in the final round to win by one shot

Top form: McIlroy shot a 67 in the final round to win by one shot

Starting the day three shots behind former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, he launched his charge with three birdies in the first four holes.

And after building a two shot lead by half way he clung on to finish 20 under par for the tournament, a shot ahead of the South African.

And even when he wobbled slightly on the 17th hole, chipping from the rough behind a bunker on one side of the green straight into the long grass on the other, he was let off when Oosthuizen missed a ten foot putt to also bogey the hole.

Edged out: Oosthuizen (below left) had started the day three shots clear

Edged out: Oosthuizen (below left) had started the day three shots clear

Edged out: Oosthuizen (below left) had started the day three shots clear

The South African then put his second shot at the 18th into deep rough, and although he produced a brilliant chip to get out of trouble he just missed the putt which would have taken the match to a play off.

The victory was all the more crucial as a morale boost because it means McIlroy will keep the upper hand of any Ryder Cup duel with Tiger Woods, who gave more evidence of his return to top form with a final day 66 to finish in third place on 18 under.

Morale boost: McIlroy finished two shots clear of Ryder Cup rival Woods

Morale boost: McIlroy finished two shots clear of Ryder Cup rival Woods

Ian Poulter disappointed not to break major duck

Poulter disappointed not to break major duck after finishing third in USPGA

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UPDATED:

14:06 GMT, 13 August 2012

Hats off: Poulter finished joint third at the USPGA

Hats off: Poulter finished joint third at the USPGA

Ian Poulter need have no worries about his Ryder Cup place – even if he is bumped back out of an automatic spot on the team this week.

Poulter replaced Sergio Garcia in the 10th and last automatic position with his joint third place finish at the USPGA Championship.

Garcia and Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts have the chance to relegate Poulter at this week's Wyndham Championship in North Carolina, but given his last day performance and the inspirational displays the Englishman has given in the last two Ryder Cups he looks nailed on for a wild card from captain Jose Maria Olazabal if need be.

Poulter birdied the first five holes – and six of the first seven – in a charge that brought him only one behind leader Rory McIlroy.

The Northern Irish star then showed everybody a clean pair of heels to win by a staggering eight and as he ran out of steam over the closing stretch Poulter was pipped for second by compatriot David Lynn.

With four points out of five in Louisville in 2008 – he was a controversial wild card then – and three out of four at Celtic Manor two years ago Poulter has been a key member of the European side.

'It's just a shame I couldn't quite finish it off,' he said of his closing 69 at Kiawah Island.

Nailed-on: Poulter looks certain to play in this year's Ryder Cup

Nailed-on: Poulter looks certain to play in this year's Ryder Cup

'I guess it was a dream start and it was a great day.

'This is the last tournament I was going to play for Ryder Cup qualification and I had to play well.

'I was just outside the points, now I'm just inside the points. I don't know how that's going to play out obviously with Gleneagles (next week's Johnnie Walker Championship is the last counting event), but hopefully that's good enough to get me an automatic spot.

'I didn't want to rely on the phone call. I've been there, albeit it was a nice phone call to receive (from Nick Faldo) because I was on the right side of it.'

Eyes on the prize: Poulter is determined to win a major

Eyes on the prize: Poulter is determined to win a major

Padraig Harrington received the same call from Colin Montgomerie last time, but is in a more shaky position now.

He had to win the final major of the year to force his way into the side, but although next week's Barclays tournament on New York's Long Island – first of the FedEx Cup play-offs – does not count for points, Olazabal is going to watch it before deciding his two wild cards.

He spoke far more enthusiastically last week about Garcia than he did about Harrington and there is also the possibility now that the out-of-form former world number one Martin Kaymer could need a pick, especially as he has not entered the Gleneagles event.

The following, though, are now safe – McIlroy, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Paul Lawrie, Peter Hanson and Francesco Molinari.

USPGA Championship 2012: Rory McIlroy wins

McIlroy romps to victory by eight shots in USPGA Championship at Kiawah Island

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UPDATED:

23:07 GMT, 12 August 2012

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy has won the USPGA Championship at Kiawah Island.

The 23-year-old finished like a true champion when he birdied on the 18th hole – despite being seven shots clear of David Lynn as he walked to the final green.

McIlroy managed to take the Championship in style with a score of 13 under par, a whopping eight shots from his closest rival Lynn.

More to follow.

Rory McIlroy was in scintillating form on the final day

Rory McIlroy was in scintillating form on the final day

No pressure: Crowds turned out in full force at Kiawah Island

No pressure: Crowds turned out in full force at Kiawah Island

USPGA Championship 2012: Rory McIlroy ready to turn the screw

Confident McIlroy ready to turn the screw after solid start in the USPGA Championship

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UPDATED:

07:17 GMT, 10 August 2012

Rory McIlroy made golf look ridiculously easy again on Thursday, but he was expecting to have to work a lot harder on his return to Kiawah Island on Friday.

One behind US-based Swede Carl Pettersson after starting the USPGA Championship – golf's final major of the year – with a five-under-par 67, McIlroy was in no mood to make any bold predictions.

'We know that there's going to be a bit of wind coming in and maybe a bit of bad weather,' the 23-year-old Northern Irishman said.

Stay cool: Rory McIlroy is well in the hunt after the first round of the USPGA

Stay cool: Rory McIlroy is well in the hunt after the first round of the USPGA

'It's just something that you're going to have to deal with and I'm just happy that I got off to a great start – I have a great platform to go from.

'Hitting balls on the range there was completely no wind. It was flat calm and I really thought that I had to take advantage of the conditions.

'I'm pretty comfortable on the golf course. I played nine holes on Monday, nine holes on Tuesday and that was it.

Driving on: McIlroy is one off the lead

Driving on: McIlroy is one off the lead

'I didn't feel like I needed to play any more. I've got my lines off the tees and I know what it's like around the greens.

'I think that was any first bogey-free round in a while, and it's always nice to shoot a round with no bogeys.

'I've had my fair share of weeks where I've started well and had a couple of bad rounds. I think that's just golf.

'You get weeks where you're feeling good and you're playing well and you're just able to keep rolling and continue the momentum from one day to the next. Hopefully this is one of these weeks.'

McIlroy worked with putting coach Dave Stockton in Akron last week, but it was more than just technical stuff.

'He sort of said to me, 'Just go out there and have fun and enjoy it and smile'. That's something that I've really tried to do and it's definitely helped.'

Alongside McIlroy are another Swede, Alex Noren, Spanish Ryder Cup hopeful Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and big-hitting American Gary Woodland.

Graeme McDowell was handily placed on four under – part of a group which also included Adam Scott, the Australian who blew the Open last month with four closing bogeys.

Catch him if you can: Carl Pettersson is out in front in Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Catch him if you can: Carl Pettersson is out in front in Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Wales' Irish Open champion Jamie Donaldson shot 69s, while Ian Poulter and 2008 champion Padraig Harrington – both looking to move into a Ryder Cup qualifying place – had 70s.

Two late birdies helped Martin Laird to a one under 71, but Luke Donald was in the water on the 17th as he shot 74 and Lee Westwood also finished poorly and signed for a 75.

Former Open champions Darren Clarke and Paul Lawrie both had 73s like Simon Dyson and David Lynn, while Robert Rock took 76 and Paul Casey, with only one cut made since dislocating his shoulder snowboarding last Christmas, struggled again and handed in a 79

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US PGA Championship: Live leaderboard

US PGA Championship leaderboard: Keep up to date with the latest scores

It's the year's final major this week with the world's best players battling it out for the US PGA Championship.

The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is the venue and Keegan Bradley is the defending champion.

You can keep track of all the latest scores right here.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIVE LEADERBOARD

Size matters: Keegan Bradley lifted the massive Wanamaker Trophy in 2011

Size matters: Keegan Bradley lifted the massive Wanamaker Trophy in 2011

USPGA Championship 2012: Rory McIlroy eyes victory at Kiawah Island

Rory's ready to shine in stormy Kiawah Island for last shot at major this year

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UPDATED:

17:52 GMT, 8 August 2012

Rory McIlroy is looking to looking to end the major season on a high by capturing the USPGA title in South Carolina this weekend.

The final major of the season is called 'Glory's Last Shot' and it is also, of course, McIlroy's last shot at putting a gloss on his year by adding the title to his runaway US Open victory 14 months ago.

The world number three, for whom a top two finish could see him dethrone Luke Donald at the top of the rankings again, started 2012 in brilliant form.

Storm brewing: Rory McIlroy hits a shot under cloudy skies during a practice round of the 94th PGA Championship at the Ocean Course in Kiawah Island

Storm brewing: Rory McIlroy hits a shot under cloudy skies during a practice round of the 94th PGA Championship at the Ocean Course in Kiawah Island

But come The Masters he was only 40th, he made an early exit from the US Open during a miserable run of four missed cuts in five starts and after a promising first day he fell away to 60th in The Open at Royal Lytham.

'There were a few goals I set myself at the start of the year, which I achieved – getting to number one in the world and winning a tournament early,' the 23-year-old Northern Irishman said today at stormy Kiawah Island.

'The second-half has still been pretty good, but a little bit more of a struggle.

'If I had to give my season a grade to this point I'd probably give it a B, but there's still a lot of golf left to play.'

After this week he goes into the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup play-offs, then comes the Ryder Cup in Chicago – a match now very much in his focus after European captain Jose Maria Olazabal brought the 10 players currently in position to qualify together for a meeting.

In the swing: The USPGA Championship represents McIlroy's last shot at major glory this year

In the swing: The USPGA Championship represents McIlroy's last shot at major glory this year

McIlroy's approach to tournaments is changing somewhat. He no longer considers hour after hour on the driving range good for him.

'I need to get out there and play, see shots on the course,' he said.

'I think certain players feel like they need to be on the range for two or three hours a day and really work on drills.

'I feel I practise much better on the course when I can see different shots and work off different targets – and just play.

Like father, like son: McIlroy shares a joke with his father Gerry during his practice round in South Carolina

Like father, like son: McIlroy shares a joke with his father Gerry during his practice round in South Carolina

Golf blog

'I'll still go and practise on the range and work on things that I have to, but once I feel comfortable that I've done that I want to go on the course and make sure it's good out there.'

A fifth place finish at last week's world championship was clearly a massive improvement on The Open and he likes what he sees at Pete Dye's Ocean Course, scene not only of two World Cups, but also the 1991 'War on the Shore' Ryder Cup.

The last 16 majors have had 16 different winners, but McIlroy looks as likely as anyone to stop that sequence continuing.

Talking a good game: McIlroy is looking to add to last year's US Open success

Talking a good game: McIlroy is looking to add to last year's US Open success

Justin Rose, joint fifth with McIlroy on Sunday, would love to see it go to 17 with him winning his first major, of course, and it is more familiar surroundings for him than most of the field – he finished second with Paul Casey behind South Africans Trevor Immelman and Rory Sabbatini in the 2003 World Cup.

Casey is also in this week's field, but now down at 93rd in the world after making just one halfway cut since he dislocated his shoulder snowboarding last Christmas.

I"m desperate to finally end Major drought, insists Woods

I'm desperate to finally end Major drought, insists Woods

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UPDATED:

09:17 GMT, 8 August 2012

Tiger Woods has come a long way since this time last year – but not far enough, as far as he is concerned.

When the former world No 1 missed the cut by six shots at the US PGA Championship last August he looked a million miles away from the player who had won 14 majors.

He remains four behind Jack Nicklaus' record, but after finishes of 40th in the Masters, 21st in the US Open and third in the Open – plus three other tournament wins – things are certainly looking up again.

Getting ready: Tiger Woods hits a bunker shot during a practice round at Kiawah Island on Tuesday

Getting ready: Tiger Woods hits a bunker shot during a practice round at Kiawah Island on Tuesday

'I'm pleased at the way I was able to play at certain times and obviously disappointed that I did not win,' Woods said at Kiawah Island, where the 94th US PGA starts on Thursday.

'I've played in three major championships this year and I didn't win any of them. That's the goal.

'I was there at the US Open after two days [he was joint leader] and I was right there with a chance at the British Open.

'Things have progressed, but not winning a major championship doesn't feel very good.'

Not that the 36-year-old is fretting over a pursuit of Nicklaus that has stalled for four turbulent years in his life.

'I figure it's going to take a career – a long time,' he said. 'Jack didn't finish his until he was 46, so if you go by that timetable I've got 10 more years.
“Four more majors is a lot, but I've got plenty of time.'

Luke who's in contention: Donald in practice on Tuesday

Luke who's in contention: Donald in practice on Tuesday

Tom Watson nearly won the 2009 Open just short of his 60th birthday and the year before that Greg Norman was third at Birkdale aged 53.

'We can play late in our careers just because of our training and also just getting the right golf course,' he added.

Woods now finds himself on the longest course in major history – 7,676 yards if played from every back tee – and one made famous by its staging of the 'War on the Shore' Ryder Cup in 1991.

He also finds himself in the strongest field ever assembled for any event.
Barring any late withdrawals, it will be the first time since the rankings were launched in 1986 that the world's top 100 are all in the same place.

The last 16 majors have had 16 different winners. This season has seen Bubba Watson capture the Masters, Webb Simpson the US Open and then last month Ernie Els his second Open.

Lee Westwood

Rory McIlroy

Brit of all right: Lee Westwood (left) and Rory McIlroy (right) at Kiawah Island

It could easily become 17 – Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Woods are not on the list and nor, of course, is Adam Scott after he threw things away with four closing bogeys at Royal Lytham.

Watson is also celebrating something off the course this week – his adoption of a baby boy was finalised.

The American's victory at Augusta came just after he and wife Angie had welcomed month-old Caleb into their home, so perhaps the latest news will spur him onto more major glory.

'Monday was a great day for us, so that's the most important thing – and now we're on to trying to win this tournament,' he said.

Simpson, meanwhile, has become a father again since he triumphed in San Francisco, missing the Open while he waited for his wife Dowd to give birth.

US PGA Championship: Kiawah Island hole-by-hole guide

US PGA Championship: Kiawah Island hole-by-hole guide

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UPDATED:

10:01 GMT, 8 August 2012

Kiawah Island hosts the US PGA Championship this week and the monster South Course is set up to provide one of the hardest challenges the pros will face.

Barring any late withdrawals, the top 100 players in the world will tee it up in South Carolina.

Here's a look at the track that will make or break them between now and Sunday night.

Tough test: The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island

1st, 396 yards, par four:
One of the narrowest fairways on the course, with a sandy waste on
the right and thick dune grass down the left. The gently undulating
green is tucked into a natural dune area.

2nd, 557 yards, par five:
Ancient live oaks line both sides of the fairway and players have to
decide how much of the salt marsh to bite off. Depending on the wind
there could be the chance to go for the elevated green, set between
sand ridges, in two.

3rd, 390 yards, par four: Shortest
par four. The tee shot is fired across the marsh, with the best
drives finding the plateau on the left. The green is framed by an old
live oak and slopes off to all sides, with the marsh long and left.

4th, 458 yards, par four: Perhaps
the toughest par four on the front nine. Playing against the wind,
players may opt to bail out to the left of this green and try to save
par with a chip.

5th, 188 yards, par three:
The course turns back from east to west for its first par three. An
hourglass-shaped green runs away diagonally from the right. A large
waste area runs from tee to green.

6th, 480 yards, par four: Three
wind-pruned live oaks frame the far side of the fairway. There is
also a waste area and small pond to the left and the green is protected
left and right by more sand.

7th, 579 yards, par five:
Wind conditions will determine the strategy, players having to decide
whether to carry a natural dune area. The second shot can be fired at a
slightly elevated green open in the front.

8th, 198 yards, par three: Becomes
narrower the further the pin is cut into an elevated green framed by
tall live oaks. Any shot missing long or right will find sand.

9th, 494 yards, par four: A
wide fairway sloping down from the right. The putting surface is open
in the front, but there are an assortment of grassy swale and deep
waste areas both left and right.

10th, 447 yards, par four:
A drive down the left-centre to the crest of the fairway will set up a
second shot to a green set down into the dunes. There is a large waste
area to the left front of the green and a deeper, steep-faced waste
area to the back.

11th, 593 yards, par five: Unreachable
in two shots for most of the field. Players must avoid several deep
waste areas right of the fairway. A good lay-up will leave a pitch to a
relatively flat, but exposed and elevated green.

12th, 412 yards, par four: The
widest fairway gives way to one of the narrowest approaches. The
green is guarded closely on the right by a canal, with dunes and thick
native grasses framing the left and rear.

13th, 497 yards, par four: Maybe
the most difficult hole on the inward nine. The players must decide
just how far down they will try to carry the canal. It continues down
the entire right side of the hole.

14th, 238 yards, par three: The
course turns back to the east and plays directly along the beach. A
tee shot missing this severely exposed and elevated green will leave a
severe uphill chip. An extremely deep and dangerous waste area is on
the left.

15th, 444 yards, par four: The
tee shot must find the fairway to set up a mid-iron to a small green
running diagonally away from the player to the right. Waste areas lie
left and back right.

16th, 581 yards, par five: The
tee shot is over a pond to reach a terraced fairway that is higher to
the right side. A long, shallow waste bunker guards the second shot to
the right, with another deeper one guarding the left side.

17th, 223 yards, par three:
The most famous hole on the course. The target over the lake appears
narrow with two deep waste areas to the left. Colin Montgomerie won it
with a double bogey in the 1991 Ryder Cup.

18th, 501 yards, par four: Still
with the ocean as a backdrop, the fairway falls to the right.
Longer players may have a huge advantage if they challenge the
right side. Elevated green is open from the right and runs to
the back left.