McGinley lashes Open "zoo"

From Brian Keogh in Tulsa

Paul McGinley believes Sergio Garcia was right to feel aggrieved for the 72nd hole “zoo” that could have cost him the Open at Carnoustie.

Speaking ahead of today’s US PGA at Southern Hills in Tulsa, the Dubliner revealed that he has had a long chat with Garcia over the mid-fairway delay that led to his costly closing bogey.

The fiery Spaniard was furious that he had to wait "15 minutes" for bunkers to be raked as McGinley and Chris DiMarco finished ahead of him, adding that he was "playing against a lot of guys out there, more than the field.”

McGinley said: "I had a long chat with Sergio in Akron last week and he bears no grudge. Absolutely not. But I can understand his frustration and I do understand where he was coming from.

"I backed off my shot four times there in the 18th fairway. And we waited on every shot. I was standing on the fairway watching Padraig putt out, so we weren't out of position.

"Sergio was giving out and he was probably right. They were told not to rake the bunkers until we finished play, if the tour caddies were doing it, they know when to get into the bunkers, when to rake, when to stop, and that’s what speeds up play.

"I played with DiMarco and his caddie counted 52 people inside the ropes on one hole. It’s a zoo. There was a BBC buggy going straight up the middle of the fairway as I was standing over my tee shot.

"We were caught in the middle, so there were TV crews, radio crews, officials. It was just unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like it. The Ryder Cup was a pussy cat compared to that. It is something the R&A needs to address.”

McGinley was disappointed to crash from third to 19th in the Open but hopes to make amends in Tulsa on a course that favours strategy over power.

He said: "It is obviously a super golf course, short by modern standards with a lot of two-irons off the tee. I can’t remember doing that ever in America on any kind of a golf course. I’d like to think it suits me.

“I've played well the last two weeks without having a big result and that is what is hurting me at the moment. I have only missed three cuts but I am lacking a big finish.”

Ulsterman Darren Clarke is also hoping for a turnaround in his fortunes as the first anniversary of his wife’s death approaches on Monday.

The 100 degree heat (38C) predicted for the week could take its toll on Clarke but he believes he is close to rediscovering his best form.

Clarke said: "I’ve got a difficult date coming up again next Monday but you know it’s almost a milestone in one respect – I’ve done every birthday, every anniversary, all that sort of thing in a year’s period.

"I’ll just keep battling on and one of these days I’ll just play alright again. I’m close. I genuinely feel I am close to doing it again, I really do.

"One of these weeks I’m going to start playing properly again and it might as well be this week.”