The strange aspect of the Scottish Open always relates to the potential for more than one player to emerge a winner. So it proved again at Castle Stuart on Sunday; Alex Noren took the main prize as there was cause for celebration, too, for Tyrrell Hatton, Nicolas Colsaerts, Matteo Manassero and Richie Ramsay. That quartet claimed the final automatic qualifying berths for this week’s Open Championship.
If the adage about the magnitude of a week in politics has never been more readily applicable, we have cause to reflect upon what 12 months can mean for golf.
When Patrick Reed’s mobile phone burst into life, halfway through the night in an Inverness hotel room, his understandable and immediate emotion was concern.
With three major championships in the bag, a 45th birthday to come next month and a subsequent date at Hazeltine as a Ryder Cup assistant captain, Padraig Harrington would be forgiven a pipe and slippers approach to life.
Graeme McDowell and Castle Stuart have never been a match made in heaven.
Colin Montgomerie, who was part of the successful bid to restore golf to the Olympics, has questioned those opting not to appear at this year’s Games in Rio.
Luke Donald, the former world No1, will contest next week’s Open Championship after Jaco van Zyl withdrew from Royal Troon in order to prepare for the Olympics.
Royal Troon golf club, hosts of this year’s Open championship, has voted overwhelmingly to admit female members during a special general meeting.
Undoubtedly, Shane Lowry won’t encounter anything like the level of conspiracy theory, sniping from Olympic boxers or otherwise that was afforded to Rory McIlroy after the latter withdrew from all matters Rio last week.
Even a stunning rise to No1 in the world has not made Jordan Spieth immune to learning curves. At the culmination of a spell that has proved the epitome of golfing globetrotting, the Texan admitted constantly crossing from the PGA Tour to the European Tour is a stiff ask.
There were enough reasons to doubt whether Jason Day could win back-to-back US PGA Championships – namely a pre-tournament rush to hospital with his wife, a mild bout of illness for Day himself, the failure to play a single practice hole at Baltusrol before Wednesday and, in round two, the playing of his first seven holes in two over par. Day was drifting.
Rory McIlroy said his immediate ambition is to survive the US PGA Championship cut after he shot an opening round of 74 in the final major of this year. McIlroy, one of the pre-event favourites, endured a series of problems on the greens with 35 putts contributing heavily to his four over par total.
Ian Poulter has been named as one of Europe’s vice-captains for the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National after injury ruled the Englishman out of playing in the event this September.
Rory McIlroy’s last shot in an Open Championship was his winning putt at Hoylake in 2014.
For the first time since his debut at the 1995 Masters, Tiger Woods will miss all four majors in a calendar year after confirming he will not play in this month’s US PGA. His agent later confirmed the former world No1 will not play again this year.
Should he successfully defend the US PGA Championship, Jason Day will not so much have raised questions about the concept of ideal preparation as completely trashed it.
Sam Torrance has been named as Europe’s fifth and final vice-captain for the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine in September. Torrance, who captained the Europeans to victory in 2002, joins Ian Poulter, Padraig Harrington, Paul Lawrie and Thomas Bjorn as assistants to Darren Clarke.
An emotional Jason Day reflected on the deep sacrifices made by his mother after claiming his first major title, the US PGA Championship, on Sunday evening in Wisconsin.
With four matches of this Ryder Cup complete Europe’s obituary was half-written. The USA, inspired by the legend of Arnold Palmer, claimed the first session of the event with a whitewash not seen since The King was captain in 1975.
Rory McIlroy insisted the European team mood is “buoyant” after an afternoon Ryder Cup recovery took Darren Clarke’s men from a morning deficit of 4-0 to 5-3 by close of play on day one at Hazeltine. McIlroy, who celebrated in emphatic style after converting an eagle putt on the 16th green to seal a third point for Europe, admitted to being inspired in part by a “hostile” home crowd.
The problem with golf’s time in the spotlight is the recent propensity for that focus to be negative. Never before has this sport, apparently in the midst of a scrap for relevance and identity, so needed a scintillating Ryder Cup.