Devlin wants a howler

Ulsterman Chris Devlin is praying he has a howler on his Major championship debut.

But don’t worry, he’s only talking about the wind that could rip across Torrey Pines.

The Ballymena battler, 33, reckons his only hope of making the cut is a steady gale off the Pacific.

He said: “I hope the wind blow like hell. I want it to play as hard as it can possibly play. It’s the only chance I’ve got.”

A regular on the third tier Hooters Tour, shock qualifier Devlin has been taking advantage of the equipment trailers on site to get as much new kit as he can.

The former Ulster interprovincial, now based in Alabama, had to get a new three-wood when he broke his trusty model with his first swing on the practice range last Saturday.

He’s also acquired a new set of Cleveland irons for the week, several new pairs of shoes and even ordered tailor-made slacks from Nike that will be waiting for him in his locker this morning.

Feeling right at home with the gloomy, overcast conditions, big-hitter Devlin is enjoying the 7,600 yard monster.

He said: “The course has a really length feel, especially on the front nine up around the coast.”

Hopefully, he’ll avoid the pond fronting the par-five18th known as Devlin’s Billabong.

The hazard is named after another Devlin, 1970s tour regular Bruce Devlin, who had the original “Tin Cup” moment there in the 1975 Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational.

The nine-time PGA Tour winner racked up a quintuple bogey 10 after making several visits to the pond.

No smoking for Angel

Defending champion Angel Cabrera has kicked his smoking habit in the nick of time.

Torrey Pines is municipally owned and operated, which means that all the local anti-smoking laws apply.

The Argentinian used to smoke eight to 10 cigarettes a round, but he's feeling no ill effects since he gave up earlier this year.

He said: “I'm feeling much better now that I don't smoke. But my life goes on whether I smoke or not, so I don't really care much about it."

All he wants to smoke now is his driver.

Golfer with a heart

American qualifier Brian Kortan is the US Open’s equivalent of the bionic man.

The South Dakotan, 37, plays with a defibrillator implanted in his chest after suffering a heart attack two years ago.

Kortan lost up to 50 percent of function in his heart but the little machine is supposed to provide an electrical charge should his heart be in distress.

Kortan said: “I call it my radio, my iPod.”

Married with two kids, he resisted the temptation to quit golf, adding: “It came down to one thing: I'm a golfer by nature and a golfer by heart. That's what I do.”

Unlucky 13th

Phil Mickelson has slammed the new 13th tee at Torrey Pines as "the biggest waste of money I've ever seen."

The par-five normally plays at around 540 yards during January;s Buick Invitational, bringing bunkers right and a canyon on the left into play.

But the new tee has made the hole 614 yards long, leaving an impossible second to an elevated green.

Mickelson said: "Everybody's going to be laying up to the same spot. So there's no opportunity for a longer player to take advantage of his length.

“There's no opportunity for a guy who strikes it straighter to take advantage of his skill. And there's no opportunity for a guy who wants to take a little bit of risk and try to get it by the green and be rewarded.”

Even Tiger Woods sniped: “We're almost on Black's Beach. Maybe we can hit up and over the cliff to get to the fairway. It's unbelievable how far back that is. That usually is where they start their hang gliding over there. It's hard to believe it's that far back.”