Cink vows to maintain his Irish links

Open champion Stewart Cink toasted his Irish links by filling the Claret Jug with .... Guinness.

The American, 36, reckons he found something in his swing during a five-day golfing trip to Ireland the week before he conquered Tom Watson to take the Claret Jug.

Writing on Twitter, Cink asked: "Any guesses as to which beverage will be first to be consumed from the Jug? There really was no question

And he's promised to come back next year before he heads across the Irish Sea to defend the title at St Andrews.

Cink said: "We played at Lahinch, Ballybunion, and we stayed at Doonbeg, all of which were fantastic. The only other time I've ever come over early and played links golf for preparation was in 2007, where I finished sixth at Carnoustie.

"So I think there is a correlation. And I think next year I will be going to play links golf before The Open Championship again, and hopefully if my kids and my wife will accompany me like they did this year, I'll invite them along, too, and we'll have another good time."

Cink has good memories of Ireland - when he is not competing.

In 2006, he was part of the US Ryder Cup side that was thrashed at the K Club but headed out on Sunday night for a drinks at La Cave on South Anne Street.

Two years ago he played several Irish courses, including the European Club and County Louth.

Next year, dozens of players will take time out to practice on Irish links with the JP McManus Invitational taking place at Adare in Limerick just a week before The Open from July 5-6.