US bagman for Clarke

By Brian Keogh

Darren Clarke is hoping to end a nightmare run with the help of eccentric American caddie David "Cayce" Kerr.

The Ulsterman has racked up six missed cuts and two withdrawals with injury in his last eight starts and crashed to 110th in the world

But Kerr, who caddies for former US Open champion Fuzzy Zoeller on the Champions Tour, believes he can help turn things around.

As the pair team up for the first of two PGA Tour events at this week's Travelers Championship in Connecticut, Kerr said: "We are looking forward to it. And I can tell you now that Darren will be going at the flag.

"We have had two great days together now and it is looking good. I am going to get this kid moving."

Kerr, 50, has taken over on a temporary basis from Clarke's regular caddie Billy Foster, who has taken time off to celebrate his wife's 40th birthday on Saturday.

A close friend of Ernie Els' Irish caddie JP Fitzgerald, bagman Kerr is known for his eccentric attitude on the course.

At last year's US Open Championship at Winged Foot, he shocked 1996 champion Steve Jones by arranging to play golf on Saturday before Jones surprised everyone by making the cut.

But his greatest claim to fame came in 1993, when he relieved the famously tight-fisted Seve Ballesteros of a $100 bill.

Kerr said: "We were leaving the Honda Classic and I was driving out in my van with Billy Foster, who was Seve's caddie at the time.

"Seve was waiting with his family for a courtesy car to take him the airport. When we got there he took out a big roll of notes and offered to give me something for my trouble.

"So I immediately peeled off a Benjamin ($100) and you could see that it startled Seve.

"He looked shocked for a minute and then smiled and said 'Okay'.

"When he got out Billy turned to me and said, 'I can't believe it. You couldn't do that if you worked for him.'"

Padraig Harrington is also in the field at TPC River Highlands, hoping to continue with his good form in the US northeast.

After back to back failures in the Stanford St Jude Classic and the US Open, the Dubliner is bidding to avoid hit third missed cut on the trot for the first time since 19996.

And he's hoping that Connecticut will prove to be his good luck charm after staying there during his Barclays Classic win in 2005

He said: "I like playing in the Northeast. I won the Barclays at Westchester in New York a few years ago and my family and I have stayed in Connecticut during Westchester.

"They're here this week, too. I love Connecticut. I decided to play here this year because I heard some of things Travelers were doing to the event. And I had heard about the big crowds here in years past."

World No 2 Phil Mickelson has pulled out becuase of the wrist injury that dogged him at Oakmont last week.

But the event still boasts two of the world's top ten in Harrington and Vijay Singh as well as Masters champion Zach Johnson.

And Harrington's caddie Ronan Flood expects his boss to bounce back to form after his US Open disappointment.

Flood said: "Sometimes you get into a bad run and can't get out of it and that's what happened to Padraig.

"His alignment was out early in the week and on a US Open set up like Oakmont it just caught up with him. He'll be fine."

Harrington was in good form in his warm up - but not out of bunkers.

Practising from a bunker on the range, he skulled one effort and yelled "fore!" as it rocketed across the green and crashed off the skybox that surrounds the 18th green.

Embarrassed as everyone looked at him, Harrington smiled and pointed to the golfer next to him.