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Tiger avoids the limelight as the stars come out to play

AS TIGER WOODS stumbled to another embarrassing round on the course, there was nobody more qualified than Hugh Grant to see the funny side of the world number one’s woes.

And the man caught with prostitute Divine Brown in his car on Sunset Boulevard 15 years ago told the Herald that he intended to discuss the delights of ‘swinging’ with Tiger.



The normally stuffy Four Weddings and Notting Hill star was in jocular behaviour at Adare Manor. Given his technicolour background, we couldn’t resist wondering if he had any tips for the troubled Tiger Woods.



Hugh, to give him his due, managed to stifle a laugh before blurting: “I’ve got some swing tips, if he just watches me – watch and learn Tiger.”



SMIRKING



The big-haired actor was a late arrival to the course yesterday, smirking that it was a case of “very Irish timing”. Hugh, whose father is unwell, had been due to partner Andrea Corr’s husband Brett Desmond and super hoofer Michael Flatley yesterday morning, but eventually ended up in an afternoon grouping.



The luscious Mrs Desmond was seen lounging in the club house during the afternoon, while rumours abounded of other golfing wags, including Catherine Zeta Jones, enjoying some retail therapy in Adare village.



As celebrities, including the teetotal Hugh Grant, spent the evening in the bar, Tiger was nowhere to be seen once he left the course.



The beleaguered star is returning to Florida today as his €600m divorce from wife Elin proceeds in the Sunshine State.



Having chosen Adare as his first non-US golfing event since the explosive sex scandal that rocked his career and personal life last year, Tiger was predictably media-shy as he made his way around the course.



By and large, all requests for autographs were avoided, but he did take time to pose for photographs with the family of his playing partner, former rugby player Brendan Mullin.



Throughout the day, the mournful-looking star was accompanied by no less than six uniformed gardai, some clearly awestruck by their highprofile charge, as well as a slew of security men and stewards to ensure that he avoided any unwanted attention.



Devoted autograph hunters were mostly left disappointed, Tiger clearly having adopted a more subtle approach to his public liaisons. But while the fans were kept at arm’s length, Tiger wasn’t about to forget his Irish friends. Out on the putting green he offered a warm embrace to Darren Clarke, in a scene poignantly reminiscent of their Ryder Cup meeting in 2006, shortly after the deaths of Darren’s wife Heather and Tiger’s father Earl.



BANTER



There was also plenty of banter with tournament organiser JP McManus and Dermot Desmond, who joined him for a few holes. The support, however, did little for his scoring performance on the course as Tiger ended up with a dismal seven-over-par score of 79. The jibes came immediately.



“Scores better off the course than on it,” giggled the wags.



Tiger’s less-than-impressive mewling must have appeased Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn, who admitted he had spent much of the week fretting about his abilities on the course.



He told the Herald: “I’m hoping I don’t make a show of myself. I’ve been thinking about it all week. Maybe it’s the soccer player in me but I really want to do well, I don’t want to let myself down”.



Despite the gravitas of the occasion, Niall hadn’t taken his eye off the World Cup, revealing that he is backing Germany to win next Sunday.


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