Tag Archives: lytham

Ernie Els removed from European Tour money list

Open champion Els removed from money list due to lack of appearances

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UPDATED:

20:10 GMT, 5 November 2012

Big Easy: Els

Big Easy: Els

Ernie Els had his name removed from the European Tour money list on Monday and the Open champion is no longer eligible for the 5million DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in two weeks or a share of the 2.4million end-of-season bonus pool.

Tour members are required to play 13 counting events in a year and the 43-year-old South African's joint runner-up finish at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China this weekend was only his 10th appearance on the circuit.

To stay on the Order of Merit and play in Dubai Els would have had to compete in this week's Singapore Open and then either the South African Open or Hong Kong Open next week, but his next scheduled tournament is the Asian Tour's Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia on December 13-16.

Winner of his fourth major at Royal Lytham in July, Els was initially listed in sixth place on the 'Race to Dubai' following Ian Poulter's win this weekend, but now it will be the first time since 1997 that he does not appear on the final list.

The top 60 at the end of next week qualify for Dubai and with no Els England's Lee Slattery moves into 60th place. He plays in both Singapore and Hong Kong.

Off the list: Els has not appeared in enough events

Off the list: Els has not appeared in enough events

There is a first prize of nearly 850,000 in Dubai and the bonus pool, even though it has been slashed in half this season, ranges from 642,000 to the leading money-winner – almost certainly Rory McIlroy – to 64,000 for the player finishing 10th.

Scot Martin Laird and American John Daly, currently 64th and 81st respectively, have also only played 10 events, but they stay on the list.

Laird joined as an affiliate member, while in his 'past winner' category Daly was not guaranteed 13 starts.

McIlroy, with the PGA Tour money list title already secured, has a lead of more than 616,000 over Ryder Cup team-mate Peter Hanson, who has decided not to join the world No 1 in the next two tournaments and could therefore be too far back come Dubai.

The same applies to third-placed Justin Rose and fourth-placed Poulter.

Colin Hendry arrested

Ex-Scotland captain Hendry spends night in cells after 'domestic incident'

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UPDATED:

11:11 GMT, 22 October 2012

Arrest: Colin Hendry was held on Saturday night

Arrest: Colin Hendry was held on Saturday night

Former Scotland captain Colin Hendry spent a night in a police cell after he was arrested following an incident at his home.

Hendry was held after officers were called to a 'domestic situation' at his rented house in Lytham, Lancashire on Saturday night.

Blackburn coach Hendry, 46, was released without charge on Sunday.

A police spokesman said: 'Colin Hendry was arrested and held but no charges have been laid against him.'

Hendry, who played for Blackburn and
Rangers, winning league titles with both clubs and representing Scotland
51 times, is in a relationship with 35-year-old nail technician Sarah
Kinder.

The couple met in 2010 after Hendry's wife Denise died the previous year following complications with cosmetic surgery.

The dad of four was declared bankrupt in 2010 with over 1million in debts to the Inland Revenue and betting companies.

Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez head to golf course after Champions League hiccup

Golf-mad City stars Aguero and Tevez really putt it in after Champions League hiccup

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UPDATED:

23:55 GMT, 4 October 2012

When the going gets tough, the tough get going to the golf course.

Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez headed to their local Cheshire club for a thrash after Wednesday's Champions League hiccup.

Line up: Sergio Aguero watches Carlos Tevez take a putt

Line up: Sergio Aguero watches Carlos Tevez take a putt

Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero

Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero

The Blues were far from their best at the Etihad Stadium against Borussia Dortmund and had a fortunate late penalty to thank for securing a 1-1 draw.

It was no surprise to see the golf-mad Argentineans back in the swing on Thursday.

Tevez, a 13-handicapper, has been seen as much on the course as he has on the pitch during the past 12 months.

Life's a pitch: Golf-mad Tevez and Aguero get in the swing

Life's a pitch: Golf-mad Tevez and Aguero get in the swing

Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero

Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero

He even surprised the sporting
world when he emerged on the green at The Open held at Royal Lytham
& St Annes.

The
28-year-old was for once not taking part as a sportsman but, was in
fact a caddie for his good friend and countryman Andres Romero, 31.

City midfielder Yaya Toure (below) gave golf a miss and headed to the training ground for treatment on a thigh injury he suffered against Dortmund.

Yaya Toure after Dortmund goal

Yaya Toure leaves the training ground with an ice pack

Ryder Cup 2012: Europe must prove they can overcome USA home crowd

The time for trash talk is over… Europe's finest must prove they can be pitch perfect

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UPDATED:

21:37 GMT, 27 September 2012

At the end of this sporting summer, where one moment of a lifetime has followed another, is it too much to ask for a glorious encore that stands comparison

Fortunately, we might just have one with the 39th Ryder Cup, a contest that promises three days of mesmerising drama and unspeakable tension.

Keepy-uppy: Europe star and world No 1 Rory McIlroy shows off his football skills on the 17th tee

Keepy-uppy: Europe star and world No 1 Rory McIlroy shows off his football skills on the 17th tee

Keepy-uppy: Europe star and world No 1 Rory McIlroy shows off his football skills on the 17th tee

Keepy-uppy: Europe star and world No 1 Rory McIlroy shows off his football skills on the 17th tee

It's tee time!

At 7.20am in Medinah (1.20pm UK time),
a very nervous European will tee off to kick-start the 39th Ryder Cup.
So how does it feel to stand on that first tee with the eyes of the world on you It’s a jelly-legs moment, as these players recount.

Colin Montgomerie
(Oak Hill, 1995)

‘The pressure facing the first shot
is as intense as it gets. It became an achievement just to stand up. I
was just gulping air like mad. The electricity was fantastic. Nick
Faldo, my playing partner, said it was a three-wood, so I teed the ball
down, took a practice swing and, thankfully, managed to make contact,
which is all you can really ask for in those situations.’

Corey Pavin
(The Belfry, 1993)

‘I can’t even describe how nervous I
was. I put the tee in the ground and I went to put the ball on and
realised my hand was shaking so much. I decided to just drop the ball,
hoping it would stay on the tee. Thank goodness it did. I was able to
compose myself and hit a drive down the middle.’

Nick Faldo
(Lytham St Annes, 1977)

‘Peter Oosterhuis told me I’d be
first. I was a bag of nerves and decided to go off and calm down by
hitting 20 extra five and six irons. Of course, when I stepped on the
tee I saw instantly it was a four-iron shot. I missed the green.
Thereafter, it was the first time I’d ever experienced my stomach
churning for a whole round.’

The game and its supporters stand ready
to make their own, unique contribution. Nowhere else would you find
50,000 people prepared to gather at a shade after 7am to make an unholy
racket. Nowhere else are sportsmen asked to strain every sinew for the
best part of 12 hours and then come back the next day and do it all over
again, with no monetary reward but the chance of something far more
precious: points for their team.

Here we have a course set up to demonstrate just how good the best players from the United States and Europe have become. With no rough, the bombers on either team are going to have no qualms in firing off howitzers. Around the greens, the great short-game merchants are going to relish the tight lies that offer the chance to show off and chip in. The putting surfaces are so pure, the wizards with the short stick cannot wait to weave their spell.

There is a lot of nonsense spoken about setting up a course to favour one side over the other but what America’s captain Davis Love has done is create the conditions for an extravaganza of attacking play in the knowledge that this offers him his best chance of fully involving the crowd, the so-called ‘13th man’.

Boy, is it likely to be loud. At the gala dinner on Wednesday, brilliant compere Justin Timberlake (best line: ‘I’m so into golf that the first time I heard them talk about a pop superstar obsessed with wearing a white glove, I assumed they meant me.’) was extolling the virtues of Europe’s captain, Jose Maria Olazabal. Suddenly, a lone voice yelled: ‘Goin’ down, baby!’ It prompted an extended chorus of ‘USA! USA!’ that almost took the roof off.

That will be sweet music to the likes of Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy, of course. The noisier the better as far as they are concerned. They are accustomed to playing in front of large, excitable crowds, and never happier than when someone lays down a challenge.

Passion: Fans cheer at the start of the opening ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club

Passion: Fans cheer at the start of the opening ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club

Mo problem: American fans show off their patriotic moustaches on Thursday at Medinah

Mo problem: American fans show off their patriotic moustaches on Thursday at Medinah

Ryder Cup bingo!

Seven items to mark off on your card on day one…

6.01am
With the gates open, the first sighting of someone dressed head to toe in Stars and Stripes.

6.45am
The first chant of the ever-imaginative ‘USA, USA!’ Europe fans respond with football-style ditties.

7.20am
Players
arrive on the first tee, with the colour drained from their faces as
they are about to play golf’s most nerve-racking opening shot.

7.31am
The first annoying shout of ‘Get in the Hole!’ is heard on the first green.

8.30am
Initial sighting of Ian Poulter’s eyes bulging out on their stalks as he starts to get his putter going.

11.20am

Davis Love and Jose Maria Olazabal submit their afternoon pairings. Tactical geniuses or Captain Calamities

2.00pm

With the fourballs having gone off, the first reports come in of
European players being abused by the odd home supporter fresh from a
bibulous lunch.

But what about the unsung men on the
team, the honest souls who largely ply their trade in quiet corners of
the European Tour, where the galleries restrict themselves to a
smattering of applause and the odd moment of vocal encouragement

Look
back through the annals and the difference between winning and losing
often comes down to how these players rise to the challenge on Sunday.
They are usually ‘hidden’ somewhere in the middle of the order but there
is no hiding place when the fate of the Ryder Cup comes down to your
match.

Think back to how Eamonn Darcy met the challenge in 1987, Christy O’Connor Jnr in 1989, Philip Walton in 1995 and Paul McGinley in 2002. Europe’s destiny this weekend might well lie in how the unheralded continental members of this team handle the atmosphere.

Thank goodness the action is about to start, because frankly some of the players have not covered themselves in glory in the build-up. Yes, we know where Poulter and Brandt Snedeker are coming from. But do we really need to hear inflammatory rhetoric like ‘killing the opposition’ from Poulter, or ‘beating their brains in’ from Snedeker No prizes for phraseology, chaps.

Let us hope the partisanship does not
overstep the mark. Offering encouragement is the fact that Chicago is
undoubtedly one of the friendliest big cities in America. At the gala
dinner, Luke Donald got a wonderful hometown reception while the roar
that greeted McIlroy’s entrance was only a shade behind that afforded US
superstars Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

United under one flag: European fans are heavily outnumbered but can match their hosts for excitment

United under one flag: European fans are heavily outnumbered but can match their hosts for excitment

Hair-raising: Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal signs autographs for a group of fans on the 18th hole

Hair-raising: Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal signs autographs for a group of fans on the 18th hole

The basics

The winner of each match
earns a point. There is half a point each if a match is halved. There
are 28 points on offer, so 14 points wins the cup. At 14-14, the
defending team (Europe) retain the cup.

Schedule

Friday – 4 x foursomes in the morning and 4 x fourballs in the afternoon.

Saturday – 4 x foursomes in the morning and 4 x fourballs in the afternoon.

Sunday — 12 singles matches.

Format

Fourballs
Two players on either side, four balls in play. The player with the lowest score wins the hole for his team.

Foursomes
Two
players on either side but only one ball is used by each pair as
players hit alternate shots. The team with the lowest score wins the
hole.

Singles
Captains list their players from 1 to 12. They then play against their opposite numbers.

But you can guarantee the likes of
Mickelson and Bubba Watson will be doing plenty of arm-waving, intent on
whipping up the atmosphere. They will want it every bit as
uncomfortable for the Europeans as it was for the Americans at Celtic
Manor.

Shadowing the proceedings, of course, will be the spectral presence of Seve Ballesteros in this, the first Ryder Cup since his death. It is a great sadness to those of us lucky enough to have witnessed Seve and Ollie’s great moments on the course that the pair are not walking in tandem off it here. But on this, the 25th anniversary of the first time they played together in the Ryder Cup, you can be sure the memory of Seve will be instilled in Olazabal’s every thought and deed.

‘What did I learn from Seve You
always try your hardest and you never, ever give in.’ You could see
Olazabal repeating that message in his final words to his team, couldn’t
you

And so the sporting
year that none of us really want to end has reached its final, great
occasion — and it is that time of a preview when a correspondent is
required to make a prediction. This one really is so close to call.
Europe have most of the best partnerships and America have the
formidable advantage of home soil.

Only
once in the last seven Ryder Cups has the home team not won, so that is
the scale of the task facing the away side. But, in the spirit of
Seve, let’s go with the heart.

Let’s go with Europe.

Home advantage: America's (left-right) Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson

Home advantage: America's (left-right) Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson

Sergio Aguero plays golf without Carlos Tevez

Aguero plays golf on his own… (but where was team-mate Tevez to caddie for him)

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UPDATED:

15:56 GMT, 1 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Sergio Aguero looks as though he could have done with the help of Manchester City and Argentina team-mate Carlos Tevez as he played his way around a golf course in Cheshire.

Aguero was all alone as he played a round just a week after Tevez was seen carrying the clubs of Argentinian compatriot Andres Romero round Royal Lytham & St Annes during The Open.

Sergio no mates: Man City's Aguero plays 18 holes on a Cheshire golf course all on his own on Wednesday morning

Sergio no mates: Man City's Aguero plays 18 holes on a Cheshire golf course all on his own on Wednesday morning

Aguero was playing a relaxing round of golf in between the strenuous pre-season training programme as Manchester City prepare to defend their Premier League crown.

Doing it himself: Aguero removes the pin as he plays a putt during a round of golf on his own

Doing it himself: Aguero removes the pin as he plays a putt during a round of golf on his own

The Argentinian star scored for City in their last game of their Asia tour as Roberto Mancini's side ran out 3-1 winners against Malaysia.

City kick off their title defence at home to Premier League new boys Southampton on August 19.

Sergio Aguero plays golf on his own

Aguero plays golf on his own… and he couldn't even convince Tevez to caddy for him

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UPDATED:

14:20 GMT, 1 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Sergio Aguero looks as though he could have done with the help of Manchester City and Argentina team-mate Carlos Tevez as he played his way around a golf course in Cheshire.

Aguero was all alone as he played a round just a week after Tevez was seen carrying the clubs of Argentinian compatriot Andres Romero round Royal Lytham & St Annes during The Open.

Sergio no mates: Man City's Aguero plays 18 holes on a Cheshire golf course all on his own on Wednesday morning

Sergio no mates: Man City's Aguero plays 18 holes on a Cheshire golf course all on his own on Wednesday morning

Aguero was playing a relaxing round of golf in between the strenuous pre-season training programme as Manchester City prepare to defend their Premier League crown.

Doing it himself: Aguero removes the pin as he plays a putt during a round of golf on his own

Doing it himself: Aguero removes the pin as he plays a putt during a round of golf on his own

The Argentinian star scored for City in their last game of their Asia tour as Roberto Mancini's side ran out 3-1 winners against Malaysia.

City kick off their title defence at home to Premier League new boys Southampton on August 19.

Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson play golf on the Thames

Water way to play golf! Garcia and Johnson tee off on the Thames

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UPDATED:

10:28 GMT, 24 July 2012

Olympics 2012

Trying to find the green can be difficult enough without hitting the ball from a floating platform onto a floating target, but that's what Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson attempted on the Thames.

Golf is set to be included at the Olympics for the first time in more than 100 years at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and the pair took advantage of the rising excitement in London to highlight this fact.

Just days after the pair finished competing at The Open, the pair were testing out their sea legs on the famous river running through the capital.

Towering effort: Johnson (left) and Garcia (right) teed off on the Thames

Towering effort: Johnson (left) and Garcia (right) teed off on the Thames

Garcia failed to make the cut at Royal Lytham, but Johnson finished tied for ninth at the penultimate major of the year, but both were happy to be trying their luck in front of Tower Bridge.

'Courses usually don't move this much, but it's definitely going to be fun,' Garcia said of the stunt.

Johnson didn't find it fun though, as he watched a number of shots bounce of the platform and into the river.

'I thought you were going to make it soft,' he said.

No decision has been made over the format of the event in 2016, but Johnson certainly sees its inclusion as a positive step.

Swing the zone: Garcia tees off (above) and the pair pose for pictures (below)

Swing the zone: Garcia tees off (above) and the pair pose for pictures (below)

Swing the zone: Garcia tees off (above) and the pair pose for pictures (below)

'I think it's going to be very special
if I can represent my country,' said Johnson. 'Being an Olympian is more
about being an athlete and being part of something more than just you.'

The pair both have cherished memories of watching the Games and have stand-out moments that

Spaniard Garcia remembers his countrymen lifting gold at Barcelona in 1992, while Johnson's fabvourite memory is of the USA 'Dream Team' taking home the basketball title the same year.

'Those moments stick,' Garcia said. 'After these Olympics go by it will be the one we're in and everyone will be talking about it.'

Moving target: The pair had to hit a green which was floating on the Thames

Moving target: The pair had to hit a green which was floating on the Thames

Moving target: The pair had to hit a green which was floating on the Thames

Ernie Els: They said the South African had lost it – Derek Lawrenson

They said Els had lost it… they're not saying that any more after his triumph at Lytham

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UPDATED:

23:14 GMT, 23 July 2012

The sweetest moment of Ernie Els's career There's nothing to compare to holing that 12-foot birdie putt on Royal Lytham's final green on Sunday when nothing else would do.

Not for the man who missed six putts in a row from less than that distance on the final six holes of the 2004 Open to lose out to Todd Hamilton.

Not for someone who was a standing joke in the eyes of former Ryder Cup player David Feherty as recently as March.

Open winner: Els celebrates his last-gasp success at Royal Lytham on Sunday

Open winner: Els celebrates his last-gasp success at Royal Lytham on Sunday

Cast your mind back to the Transitions Championship in Florida, won by Luke Donald but thrown away by Els as he missed three short putts on the final three greens.

'Did you have the confidence standing over those putts' asked television commentator Steve Sands, a question loaded with a sub-plot if ever there was. Did you choke The next day, in an exhibition event called the Tavistock Cup, Feherty ramped up the cruelty.

More from Derek Lawrenson…

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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

'Here's Ernie, who has just had a frontal lobotomy and will be putting today with a live rattlesnake,' he told the crowd.

Believe it or not, some people found that funny. Watching anyone struggle on the greens is no joke, but watching someone with Els's gifts was excruciating. How could a sport give so much to someone from tee to green and then take it away once he got there

Missing those putts in Florida cost Els his spot at the Masters, the event he always seemed destined to win. That's it, we thought, the tipping point. Aged 42, next stop – oblivion. Time to blend into the background and admire fellow South Africans who grew up wanting to swing the club and win majors like he did and pulled it off. Men like Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen.

Yet Ernie did not accept the rationale. He did not do like Feherty did when the going got tough. He did not quit. The following week he finished fourth at the Arnold Palmer

Invitational. A month later, a runner's-up spot in New Orleans got him into the US Open where he finished tied ninth.

'It is a crazy game,' he said recently in an interview with The Scotsman. 'When you are a kid you grow up wanting to be, say, Ernie Els. Then, when you're Ernie you try to play like you did when you were a kid.'

Pain to gain: Els suffers with his putter in Florida earlier this year

Pain to gain: Els suffers with his putter in Florida earlier this year

On one of the hardest back nines in golf on Sunday, Ernie, after all those lost years of toil, finally found his inner kid. Suddenly the putts started to drop.

Providence, having taken so many majors from him – he has been runner-up six times – handed one back at last. It still came down to a 12-foot putt, though.

Watching anyone struggle on the greens is no joke

Ultimately, Adam Scott's collapse would have meant nothing if Els had not helped himself. From a perfect camera angle, you could see him swing the putter straight and true and the ball never looked like going anywhere else but the bottom of the hole. Take that, Feherty.

Asked to assess his career before the momentous events of last week, Els said he thought he should have won five or six majors to rank alongside Seve Ballesteros or Sir Nick Faldo.

That sounds about right to me and, by ending the long drought and winning his fourth, there is every hope he might now get there, following a victory on Sunday that was celebrated everywhere outside Australia.

When it was over, Els jumped on a plane to Canada and a corporate bash. The Claret Jug has just completed an exhaustive journey around the world in the hands of a popular protagonist and you can be sure Els will enjoy it every bit as much as Darren Clarke. And where will it all end in 2013 Muirfield, the scene of his previous Open triumph in 2002. Sweet, indeed.

It's only a game

Someone clearly forgot to tell Adam Scott that these days every tear in defeat adds up to a waterfall of popular acclaim. Thank goodness for that. The 18th green at Royal Lytham made for a wonderful scene on Sunday. After a gripping finale, the victor shook hands with the loser, one man made a speech fit for a statesman while the other held his head high. Let's be grateful to Scott for the reminder that sport still works best when people remember it is only a game.

Second best: Scott missed out on Open glory after blowing a healthy lead

Second best: Scott missed out on Open glory after blowing a healthy lead in the closing stages

Royal Lytham is No 1

They say you can tell the quality of a course by the calibre of its champions and Ernie Els's victory means the only people who have won The Open at Lytham in the modern era remain golfers who have spent time during their careers as world No 1.

That is a heck of a testament to this fabled links given the efforts Mother Nature made to disguise its natural character on this occasion. Els's final-round 68 was his 39th in the sixties during his Open career. That's two more than Sir Nick Faldo managed, followed by Jack Nicklaus (33), Tom Watson (29) and Greg Norman (26). That's not a bad list to lead, is it

The streak goes on: Els became the 16th different winner from as many majors

The streak goes on: Els became the 16th different winner from as many majors

Sweet Sixteen

And so the streak goes on. That makes it 16 winners of the last 16 major championships. We have had six Americans, three South Africans, three Northern Irishmen, and one representative each from Argentina, Korea, Germany and Ireland. Still no Englishman, though.

When you think the list does not include Tiger Woods and five other Americans ranked in the world's top 14, Adam Scott plus a certain three Englishmen ranked in the world's top 10, we might be here a while yet. Incidentally, Woods's top-five finish means he has broken the UK's stranglehold of the top three ranking positions, with only Luke Donald now ahead of him.

Quote of the Week

'I can't deny the belly putter has been great for me, but I certainly won't be complaining if the authorities ban it. It isn't the way golf is supposed to be played and if they ban it that will be fine with me.'

Could the case for getting rid of these wretched things be expressed more eloquently considering these comments were made by Ernie Els, the man who just ended the week as the new Open champion

Perhaps someone could put them in front of the rules committee of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, who are reviewing their controversial use, with a statement expected by the autumn.

Ian Ladyman"s Open all hours: Els understates remarkable Championship victory

Ian Ladyman's Open all hours: Els understates remarkable Championship victory

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 22 July 2012

Good riddance

Not all Lytham members have been so happy to lose their course to the build-up and staging of The Open over the last few weeks.

Indeed, one stick-in-the-mud complained at a recent committee meeting that Tiger, Rory and their pals would take too many divots out of the precious fairways.

I would imagine the income generated here this week would pay for a few bags of grass seed.

Humble: Ernie Els said he was feeling 'pretty groovy' after he won the Open at Royal Lytham

Humble: Ernie Els said he was feeling 'pretty groovy' after he won the Open at Royal Lytham

Gary's bacon-free

Open legend Gary Player charmed his guests at an HSBC-sponsored breakfast at Lytham but surprised everybody by bringing his own food along.

Now 76, the South African (right) is notoriously obsessed with exercise and diet and arrived at the event on Saturday morning with his own serving of Kiwi fruit.

'My message is “beware the bacon”,' he said with an impish smile.

Back to work

The return of 1994 Silver Medal winner Warren Bennett has provided one of the more romantic stories of the week and he finished tied with the great Tom Watson.

Bennett will be back on the anonymous Jamega Tour from next Monday and will use 230 of his 10,000 Open prize-money to enter a two-day 'pay and play' event in Chipping Norton.

Romance isn't dead: Warren Bennett scored equal to the great Tom Watson

Romance isn't dead: Warren Bennett scored equal to the great Tom Watson

Thumbs up for…

The world's best golfers for showing us all on Sunday just how difficult this game really is.

They spend most of the season making golf look incredibly easy but there was some error-ridden, twitchy stuff on display.

Seeing them struggle means that the next time I stand over a three-foot putt and push it wide of the hole (this will be today) I for one know that I will feel a whole let better.

Fluffing your lines: Adam Scott was amongst the many golfers who struggled at Lytham

Fluffing your lines: Adam Scott was amongst the many golfers who struggled at Lytham

Thumbs down for…

The ticket touts who were busy desperately trying to flog entry tickets at below face-value prices outside the entrances to the course yesterday morning.

It was hardly the brightest move to buy up tickets in advance for an event that – due to the vast expanses of the course – is never likely to sell out.

Stick to fleecing people at football matches and pop concerts, lads.

Quote of the day

'At the moment, everything feels pretty groovy.' Ernie Els gives us his thoughts after winning his second Open Championship.

Something of an understatement, you might say.

Not the brightest idea: Ticket touts attempted to sell cut-price tickets for the event, which was never likely to be a sell-out

Not the brightest idea: Ticket touts attempted to sell cut-price tickets for the event, which was never likely to be a sell-out

Open Championship 2012: Rory McIlroy hopes to return to No 1

McIlroy confident of return to form after dire Open performance at Royal Lytham

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UPDATED:

17:25 GMT, 22 July 2012

Rory McIlroy is refusing to press any panic buttons after the worst Open Championship finish of his young career.

A week that he hoped would bring him his second major title and take him back to world No 1 ended with him down on eight over par and outside the top 50 after a closing 73.

Tough luck: Rory McIlroy had his worst ever Open in his young career

Tough luck: Rory McIlroy had his worst ever Open in his young career

The 23-year-old had been in joint fifth spot when he opened with a 67, but he then had a 41-hole stretch containing only one birdie.

'I think the thing for me is to stay patient,” said the Northern Irishman, whose previous lowest finish in the event was 47th.

'If it doesn't happen over the next couple of weeks no big deal. It's a 20-year career, so I'm not going to get too wound up just over a few weeks.'

McIlroy, who arrived at Lytham on the back of four missed cuts in his previous six starts, is next in action at the Bridgestone World Championship in Akron on Thursday week and then moves on to Kiawah Island in South Carolina for the USPGA Championship.

Rough ride: McIlroy shot a poor eight over par for the tournament

Rough ride: McIlroy shot a poor eight over par for the tournament

Struggle: McIlroy hopes to return to the top of the tour, but must improve his game

Struggle: McIlroy hopes to return to the top of the tour, but must improve his game

'I've got to keep working away, plugging away, working on the right things and eventually it will come around,' he said.

Better days ahead: McIlroy is confident he will return to his dazzling best

Better days ahead: McIlroy is confident he will return to his dazzling best

Asked about the Ryder Cup in September, he added: 'The thing about the Ryder Cup, I'm going to be left out if I'm not playing too good.'

He knows that is not going to happen. He leads the points race with only five weeks to go.

'No, it's fine,' McIlroy said. 'Everyone goes through little struggles.

'What I'm experiencing at the minute is frustrating at times, but it's not anything that I can't deal with.

'I'm obviously very disappointed because I felt like I was coming in here playing pretty well.

'I had a really nice first round, set myself up well for the week and then just started to struggle after that.

'It's hard when you're trying to just get that little bit of momentum. You try to force it and you're maybe trying too hard and things don't go your way. That sort of happened this week.

'I don't know, maybe major championships on the toughest courses expose a few weaknesses that you have there.

'When you see heavy rough on the left and bunkers on the right, you start thinking about that a little bit if you're not 100 per cent confident in what you're doing.'

Looking to move through the field as much as he could, McIlroy instead dropped four shots in the first four holes, but did at least birdie the 13th and 15th coming home.

He holed a bunker shot for the second of those, but followed it with another bogey.