Irish golf is riding the crest of a wave with four wins from the last 12 majors. And with seven men in the field at St Andrews, the green army has a great chance of making it five out of 13. He’s your quick guide to Ireland’s magnificent seven at the Home of Golf.
Best finish T42
World ranking 9
Record: 2009 47th, 2008 Did Not play, 2007 T42nd as amateur.
Tee-times 8.20am/1.31pm with Lucas Glover, Tim Clark
Inspired by Graeme McDowell’s win at Pebble Beach, the Holywood hotshot believes he’s ready to win a major. He’s never shot higher than 69 in eight rounds on the Old Course and believes he’s hitting form in the nick of time.
Quick quote: “I’m not putting myself under pressure to perform. I’m just quite confident. I’ve played well on this golf course before and feel as if I’m hitting it well coming in. Seeing G-Mac win, as well, it just feels like it’s the right time to go out and play well and win one of these big events.”
Best finish: 1st (2007 & 2008)
World ranking: 15
Record: 2009 65th, 2008 1st, 2007 1st, 2006 CUT, 2005 Did not play, 2004 CUT, 2003 T-22, 2002 T-5, 2001 T-37, 2000 T-20, 1999 29th, 1998 CUT, 1997 T-5, 1996 T-18
Tee times: 9.20am/2.31pm with Tom Watson, Ryo Ishikawa
After 23 months without a win, Harrington is due to break his duck sooner rather than later. He’s won two Dunhill Links titles at St Andrews and his coach Bob Torrance reckons he’s swinging the club even better than he was when he captured his second Open title at Royal Birkdale in 2008.
Quick quote: “I’ve won three majors and it’s all about just one more. That’s human nature.”
Best finish T11th at St Andrews in 2005
World ranking 11
Record: 2009 34th, 2008 19th, 2007 CUT, 2006 T-61, 2005 T-11, 2004 CUT
Tee-times 1.53pm/8.42am with Jim Furyk, Geoff Ogilvy
Ireland’s latest major winner is at the peak of his powers. He plays well at the Home of Golf, shooting a 62 in the 2004 Dunhill Links and finishing tied 11th in the 2005 Open despite taking an eight on the 17th in the third round.
Quick quote: “Coming here as the U.S. Open champion is a special feeling. It’s a venue that I love, a venue that all the players love, a golf course which we love.”
Best finish T 2nd 1997
World ranking 104
Record: 2009 52nd, 2008 Did Not Play, 2007 CUT, 2006 CUT, 2005 T-15, 2004 T-11, 2003 T-59, 2002 T-37, 2001 T-3, 2000 T-7, 1999 T-30, 1998 CUT, 1997 T-2, 1996 T-11, 1995 T-31, 1994 T-38, 1993 T-39, 1992 CUT, 1991 T-64
Tee-times 9.53am/3.04pm with Mike Weir, Davis Love III
After grabbing a last gasp place at St Andrews thanks to his runner up finish at Loch Lomond, the big man from Dungannon is “floating on air” according to a member of his back room team. He loves links golf and badly wants to join Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell as a major winner. He’s also a form player who’s riding the crest of a wave.
Quick quote: “I’m excited, looking forward to it. I love the golf course, it is proper golf. I’m back on the best links courses in the world and I’m looking forward to playing.”
World ranking 88
Tee times 12.03pm/6.52am with Ignacio Garrido, Hirofumi Miyase
The Clara talent won his European Tour debut as an amateur when he captured the 2009 Irish Open at links gem Baltray. Expecting him to win The Open on his major debut is asking too much but a top 10 in Loch Lomond last week could signal another memorable week for the Offaly star.
Quick quote: “It’s going to be tough out there if the weather stays the same as today. It’s all about having your scoring boots on. With wind and rain you are going to have a lot of 10 footers for par so I’m ready for the worst.”
World ranking 121
Tee times 3.37pm/10.26am with Brian Gay, Paul Streeter
The Ulsterman has been a revelation since he joined the tour last year and made the cut on his major debut in last month’s US Open. The last time he played the Old Course - in the 2004 St Andrews Links Trophy - he was hit on the head by a stray ball hit from the nearby Eden Course and knocked out cold. He’s unhappy with his form coming in but should be straight enough to avoid the bunkers and make the cut.
Quick quote: “It was great to make the cut at Pebble Beach but it’s even more special to play in the Open at St Andrews. I’ve been looking forward to it since the qualifying at Sunningdale. It’s going to be a great week no matter what.”
After seven years in the pro ranks the Glasson golfer believes it’s time to “move up a gear.” The top qualifier in Local Final Qualifying at Kingsbarns last month, the 31 year old has transformed his game since he started working with Padraig Harrington’s coach Bob Torrance last winter. While a top finish on his major debut would see him earn his European Tour card, he’s simply looking to boost his confidence so he can graduate from the Challenge Tour.
Quick quote: “It’s quite a feeling to stand on the 18th tee there and actually feel you are part of something every one of us has been so used to seeing in photographs and on TV.”