Preview Golf: The Open


Preview

A look ahead to the 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's, a venue that will be hosting the event for the 14th time.


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Through the gates, and just in on the right, with all England were a

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golf course, this would be the golf course, this would be the

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first tee. And, the 18th green. 13 times the great and the good have

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strode out from this quirky corner, It can show its fear at the very

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ferst or the very last. I reminder of the enduring truth of sport.

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It's not how you start, but how you Endings, and beginnings. This

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golfing year, the Open returns to Hello, we are all set for more

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tales of the unexpected here at a breezy Royal St George Georges and

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the 14th Open Championship. This orn corner of Kent has produced

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cracking stories each time it has hosted the world's best golfers.

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They don't come much better than the most talked about man in the

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game, Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy. He hasn't yet laid hands

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on the famous Claret Jug, he is the clear favourite after his runnaway

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victory at the US Open last month. The creation of Rory McIlroy, Major

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champion, is a story often told. The youngster with magic in his

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hands. His life, it seemed, was all preparation for the victory. How do

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you prepare for all that comes with I didn't expect it to be as hectic

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as it was, but you know, I think always, when you do something you

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sort of feel like, it's not as big a deal as everyone is making out.

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It's nice. It's great to have that support. Have you had to become

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harder - You have to. My life has definitely changed in the last

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three weeks. And, I, yeah, I just have to... I just have to deal with

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everything that goes on, you know, outside the ropes. When I'm inside

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the ropes and on the golf course, I try and play the best golf that I

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can. The demands on my time now, outside the golf course, are - it

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will become much harder to still, you know, do or be the same person

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that I was, you know, before I won the US Open. It's just - it's just

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something I'm going to have deal with. I wanted to be a Major

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champion. To gain a Major championship if you have to live

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your life out in the public eye, you know, it's not a bad tradoff to

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have. How did it come to this? Has there been a greater turnaround in

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sport from collapse in a springtime. I don't think anyone...

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dominating the world at the US Open? Mentally, I changed a lot on

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the golf course. I learnt a lot from that final day at Augustine.

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COMMENTATOR: My goodness me. combination of the Masters and the

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Open last year at St Andrews and getting into contention at the PGA.

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Learning something different each time from those events, it took me

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a little bit of time to put all the pieces together. You know, when I

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was able to do that, you know, I won the US Open. I don't feel as if

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I've changed that month. -- much, mentally on the golf course I feel

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I'm better. Winning one Major was never enough, you I wanted more. I

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have one my first Major, let's win my second, let's win a career Grand

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Slam. When I do that, let's do it again. Do you find the hype

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strange? I have won three times in my career. I want to win more than

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that. The way I con at -- won at Congressional, that is why the hype

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has been so much. But, you know, I don't know, I don't know what way -

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I think golf golf, you know, the golfing public in general are

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looking for that next player to come up and, sort of, dominate.

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Whether that is me, you know, we don't know yet. Hopefully, it is.

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If it's someone else, you know, that's great. And, this is our home

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for the next four days with a spot over looking the practice putt

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green and the 1st tee. How comfortable do you think Rory is?

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What expectation is he strongholding this week, Ken?

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think he will be, obviously, nervous. He will be very confident.

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He couldn't be more confident coming to this championship.

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Winning the US Open. Played marvellous golf there. He has had a

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practice rounds. Winning Majors, if you have done it you know you can

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do it again. With Tiger out golf seems to need a new hero to focus

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on. He has been menged mentioned in the same bracket as Tiger, that is

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an awful lot to have on young shoulders, isn't it? When you talk

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about jack Nicholson and Tiger Woods you are talking of the

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Premier League, he is not there yet. He is a naturally gifted player. He

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reminds me of Sandy Lyle. It comes to him easily. Pressure doesn't

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seem to get to him. He has that ability. Not Tiger Woods yet. He

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has the ability to be a great player, no doubt about it. What did

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you make of the way he responded to Augustine at Congressional? Thats

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with a terrific effort. Augustine could have really knocked the

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wheels off his motorbike, as it were, he came fighting back. It was

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exceptional, I thought. To win by eight shots. Beautiful golf. It

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didn't seem to affect him. To be a great golfer you have to go with

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the rough and smooth. That proved a lot to him, that is for certain

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that he can do that. No first time Major winner has come back and won

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the next one on the calendar since the Second World War. It is a tough

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ask for Rory McIlroy. Northern Ireland has two Major winners in

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the last 12 months. It is an extraordinary feat. What about

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England, no Major winners for the host nation since Nick Faldo in

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1996, surely, with five Englishman in the higher levels of the table

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there has got to be a better chance. This to be champion. There you go.

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England expects every man to do his duty. Thus spoke Lord Nelson at

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Trafalgar. Nick Faldo was the last to claim the claret in 1992. With

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the top two players in the world and four in the top 16 should

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England expect a victory in the battle to slay St Georges?

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there been such a good a feeling about English golf? Certainly not.

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We have a number of people, myself, Lee, Ian and Paul Casey and Justin.

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The list goes on and on. So, you know, hopefully we can breakthrough.

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How fedup are you with the questions about when, with regards

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to Majors and when with regards to English winners of this great

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tournament? Well, you know, not really fedup. You can soon stop

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them by winning this week, can't you. A number of players can

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capable of pulling of a victory. I don't need to Biophilia the names.

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You know who they are. It's a wide open tournament this week. No

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particular favourite, I would say. It's going to be the usual suspects

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of which England has quite a number in there who can win the claret and

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lift the Claret Jug. Golf is an individual game. You see guys Luke

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who I have grown up playing amateur golf with. I can see what he has

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done to get where he has got. That is through hard work, determination,

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there is no reason why other players can't follow that same line.

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So many guys at the top of the world rankings which have done an

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incredible job over the last 18 months. It would be fitting for one

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of the guys to come through this week. It would be great to have an

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English winner. Ins you have been playing golf there can't be so many

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weeks going into an Open where there are so many contenders from a

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home-grown perspective? Why not. I have finished top three in in five

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of the last seven. That ought to win you a Major sooner or later.

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Luke is coming in off the win. Westy playing well. This could be a

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year. I like the English chances, for sure. It wasn't that long ago

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there were one or two guys in the top 100 representing England in the

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world rankings. And, you know, now it's getting frustrating if it's

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two or three in the top ten. I don't even know how many we have in

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the top 100. It's a lot. That's brilliant. It really. Has been a

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Former Ryder Cup captain Mark James is with me. Do we make enough of

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the world ranking of Donald and Westwood. Is there too much

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emphasis these days on Majors? times, yes. When a guy gets to

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world number one you shouldn't ask questions questions of whether he

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is worth it. The fact that Donald and Westwood are one and two they

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have played a huge amount of high quality golf. If you look back over

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13 years, only a handful of people have been world No 16789 there have

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been 30 or 40 Major winners. there anything missing from his

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game, is there a case of luck? about luck. The right starting time.

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A few putts go in. No-one else gets hot. You can get lucky in Majors

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and very unlucky. He has been so unlucky. Luck Donald, the most

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dominant player across the year. How is his game cute suited to this

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course in particular? I don't know if it gets windy, I don't know how

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low he can hit or whether he shapes it that well. Earlier in the year

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he was down greens and regulation in the States, he moved up into the

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top 50. That means the last couple of months he has been playing very,

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very good golf. That will hold him in good stead here. If it is to be

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a an English winner, which one? number of players from England who

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could win. Obviously, Donald Westwood, cream at the moment. You

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have Poulter, Casey. They are high quality. And, Justin Rose. He has

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been hitting the ball well this year. Who knows. Thank you. It

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doesn't get much more English than Royal St Georges, does it? This

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course in 184 was the first upon which the Open was staged outside

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Scotland. It really is an area that is totally fascinating in a

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historical sense. We have been St George's itself has its place in

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Open Championship history. It was the first course in England to host

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the Open Championship. Before that had been Prestwick, St Andrews,

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Muirfield came in 1892. It moved south to St George's in 1894. You

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can great a close up look at the white cliffs at Dover here. They

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are being washed away and eroded all the time. Ian Fleming had a

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house down here. He was a member of Royal Saint Georges. The reason

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that James Bond is supposed to be called 007 because Ian Fleming

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liked to go up to cant Canterbury We talk about this corner of

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England being a gateway to the country. Down there is a Roman fort,

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where the Roman invasion in 14AD began. -- 43AD began. From the

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ancient to the modern, beside the fort is a modern Castle of

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invention that's the Pfizer factory, it was here they developed viagra.

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I have no idea what that is but I am told it's very useful.

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The Open championship adds another chapter to the long and varied

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history of this corner of England and at the heart of it all the most

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English of courses, Royal St George's.

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One man who loved this event was Alex Hay who for 26 years sat

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alongside Peter Alliss in our commentary box. Alex sadly passed

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away this week and we will all miss him, but none more so than his

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friend and colleague behind the microphone.

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I knew Alex for more years than I care to remember. I saw him through

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the phase of when he was a golf professional, I saw him arriving

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when he was a club professional. He was a good companion, amusing,

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entertaining, could have a temper at times but I loved him dearly and

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shall miss him. But, of course, he will be mostly remembered for his

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work in the commentary box with phrases like this:.

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One could almost say he will need history iron now.

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-- his foretree his -- his tree iron now.

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There's never a day goes by for him that something wonderful doesn't

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happen. What a wonderful shot that is. It

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gets better and better. It can't possibly, it can! We are a

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privileged couple to get to come He had the most infectious laugh in

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the business, didn't he? And our thoughts are with Anne and the two

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boys right now. Alex will have within thrilled with the resurgence

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of European golf. Rory McIlroy has followed a trail blazed by Graeme

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McDowell and Martin Kaymer. There has been a major shift in the world

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game. One year ago he was the

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unpronounceable outsider, now he is a familiar face, dreaming of a

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double. If you can stay calm and patient and enjoy yourself, that's

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a big part of Major weeks. There was mentally that belief in

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yourself that helped me a lot and I am sure when I am in that position

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again to win a major I know that I have done it before

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and just have that belief that it People say when are you going to

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win a first Major? Then the next question when are you going to win

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your second? It's horrible to say a Major championship is a burden. Six

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or eight months afterwards, I loved every second and played very well.

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It was more as a defence of the title got near that the three or

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four months leading up to that everyone wanted to talk about 2010

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and I wanted to kick on with 2011. I don't put too much pressure on

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myself, I just kept playing my game the way I have been playing the

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whole week. There's nothing else you can say

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I think I have learned about myself under pressure situations and

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hopefully this week just get the game right and this golf course be

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quite patient. That's what it's all about here, to grind it out, to

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fight and to wait for your chance. It's not about beauty golf, it's

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about scoring well. Preparation. Being prepared for anything.

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Realising it's going to be a big, long tough weekend ahead, really

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grinding tough golf and you have to be really mentally prepared to be

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patient and be mentally prepared for a real test of golf. It does

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help if you have done something before to remind yourself you have

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done it, it's possible to do it again. You can get a good deal of

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confidence out of that. Are there sometimes you sit there and you put

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your feet up and you think I have won the claret Claret Jug? A lot of

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times, you think wow, it was quite good. It was unbelievable spaoerps

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and I would -- experience and I would love to be known as Open

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champion again. Whoever does walk away with the Claret Jug will have

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to conquer the most sourtly course on the rota. It has a reputation as

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one of the most hazardous courses of them all. Ken Brown can tell us

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what awaits them. Royal St George's is in perfect

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condition. The players are going to love it. There's more spin than

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usual so you have half a chance of playing shots out, but if you go

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wide you are in the thick stuff. A real feature of the golf course

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this week are these undulating fairways. Bunkers peppered around

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the course, with the lovely golden sand. Look wonderful but tough to

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get out of. The greens, well, they're velvet. A lovely carpet of

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green grass, just about holding enough. A good shot on the fairway

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you will be able to spin the balls. This week it's all about the breeze.

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If the breeze is about, Royal St George's is a tiger. This week the

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course is set up perfectly for the Open championship. If the sunshines

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there will be good numbers, but if it doesn't it will be a brute. It

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may have been an American who tamed the brute the last time. The last

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five Majors have been won by non- Americans so a golfing superpower

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in decline? There are 52US players on the field this week who would

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refute that, the most high profile I have been around a long time. I

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don't feel old but I have been around a long time. I have enjoyed

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playing and competing and I feel like right now I have been able to

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get my game at a level I feel as is high as it's been even though my

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results have not been there. Wonderful distance control again.

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love to compete and always have. It gives me an opportunity to play and

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compete against the best players and try to win championships that I

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have dreamt about as a kid and that fire never goes away. I will be

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playing just about every week all the way through the end of

:22:05.:22:09.

September, gives me an opportunity to get some of my best golf out and

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an opportunity to play the way I know I have been playing, I just

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haven't gotten the scores in the last year or so but I think it's

:22:15.:22:23.

about to turn. Golf has become a global sport. We need good young

:22:23.:22:27.

players and good young global players to promote the sport on an

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:22:37.:22:38.

international basis. Fowler at the 17th and on and on and on. That's

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ridiculous. I feel like American golf is in good shape. We have a

:22:42.:22:46.

lot of good young talented players, as well as older established

:22:46.:22:51.

players who have done it year after year. I feel like American golf is

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fine and our players will end up winning some tournaments but it's

:22:55.:23:00.

important that we have good young players like Rory McIlroy. We need

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these guys to step up and play. In the US we have guys like Ricky

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Fowler that are coming on, a kid in college. Dustin Johnson has

:23:12.:23:17.

something that you can't acquire, which is clubhead speed. Players

:23:17.:23:22.

like that give international golf a strong flavour.

:23:22.:23:29.

Jake Townsend is a star-spangled kind of guy, you will be on Radio

:23:29.:23:35.

Five Live this week. Is the power base diminishing now, is this a

:23:35.:23:43.

blip or major shift? There's been cycles, you have Seve, Ian Woosnam,

:23:43.:23:48.

they were the power base. It's shifted to the Americans in the 90s

:23:48.:23:53.

and early 2000s. It's gone back to this side of the Atlantic and it's

:23:53.:23:57.

ready for Westwood to win, Donald to win his first and certainly you

:23:57.:24:02.

would expect McIlroy to win a bunch of them. This is a global game now.

:24:02.:24:07.

Is there anything that's inhibiting US golf, maybe even Tiger's

:24:07.:24:12.

absence? Tiger has created a vacuum nobody's rushed to fill. Fowler is

:24:12.:24:21.

the guy the Americans want to come in. I think he is a way off yet.

:24:21.:24:25.

Glover has won the Open but hasn't contended in other Majors. Those

:24:25.:24:29.

are the guys probably going to do it but they're going to have to

:24:29.:24:33.

contend before they win. Thank you very much. Some of the the younger

:24:33.:24:38.

mans you ventioned haven't won a Major yet but they're winning fans

:24:38.:24:48.
:24:48.:24:58.

with offcourse and ticks. This # Smash, bang, you got to hit the

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ball far and the crowd goes # I want my birdies all day long,

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but the bogeys go hey # You want to play with the pros

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# You got to hit it in the hole now # You want to reach the top

:25:16.:25:26.
:25:26.:25:27.

# You got to give it all you got Honestly, what do you make of that?

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Tputsy? -- gutsy? Not sure what hurt more, my eyes or ears having

:25:32.:25:38.

to listen to that. Not my kind of music. We have just about covered

:25:38.:25:43.

all the main contenders in our preview. What knows maybe another

:25:43.:25:49.

300-1 shot could do a Ben Curtis on us. Let's look at how things will

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transpire tomorrow. They'll be teeing off from 6.30am and these

:25:54.:26:04.
:26:04.:26:04.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 65 seconds

:26:04.:27:09.

All sorts of interactive options available to you via the red button.

:27:09.:27:15.

If you can't be with us for all that time, then the BBC website and

:27:15.:27:21.

5 Live will have full coverage of all the latest news. The great Seve

:27:21.:27:27.

Ballesteros claimed this Claret Jug three times and got his first taste

:27:27.:27:34.

of lynx golf here. The R&A have honoured him this week by putting

:27:34.:27:38.

A look ahead to the 2011 Open, the 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's, a venue that will be hosting the event for the 14th time. English chances rest with Lee Westwood and Luke Donald, and hopes are high that one of them could become the first English winner on home soil since Tony Jacklin triumphed at Royal Lytham St Anne's in 1969.

But the bookmakers' favourite is 22-year-old Rory McIlroy, who sensationally won the US Open last month. The Northern Irishman stormed to victory to claim his first major title, breaking a host of records along the way.

Also in the show is a guide to Royal St George's, a course that is set to provide a stern test to the world's best players due to its unusual layout and quirky features.


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