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Rory coach quits club

MICHAEL BANNON, who has coached Rory McIlroy since the Holywood star was eight, is to leave his job at Bangor Golf Club to work full-time with the US Open champion.

Bannon (above) had been combining the McIlroy role with his position as PGA professional at Bangor.

Yet recent events underlined the importance to McIlroy of having his swing coach on hand as the 23-year-old missed the cut in three successive tournaments.

Bannon is expected to take up his full-time role with the World No 2 in October.

It's San Francis-cold

"THE coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."

Mark Twain (right) is widely credited with that gem, though its origin is disputed.

Maybe in centuries to come, it'll be attributed to Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy after a teeth-chattering few days at the US Open. Once again, Olympic Golf Club was shrouded by freezing fog early yesterday.

The sun broke through in mid-morning, but a 20mph south-westerly wind still threatened to cut spectators in half.

Like many other visitors, this column turned up in shirt-sleeves on Tuesday and went home with a head cold. Still wouldn't miss it for the world.

Pitch-perfect driving

BIG-HITTING Dustin Johnson (right) helped San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain take his place in history on Wednesday night.

After Rory McIlroy threw the ceremonial opening pitch at Tuesday's game with Houston Astros, Johnson was invited to hit golf balls off the home plate, over the wall and into San Francisco Bay. Cain decided he'd have a go, smashing a drive into McCovey Cove, 310 yards away. Then he threw the first perfect game in Giants history, retiring all 27 batters he faced in a 10-0 victory.

Bear in Woods camp

EYEBROWS shot up when Jack Nicklaus said he'd "never seen a better shot" than Tiger's fantastic chip-in birdie at 16 last Sunday week as he swept to victory in Jack's own event, The Memorial.

What about Tom Watson's chip-in birdie two at the 71st hole at Pebble Beach to beat Nicklaus in the 1982 US Open? The Golden Bear wasn't changing his mind .

"I think Tiger's shot was better," he insisted.

"TV didn't do it justice. Two feet short, he's probably got the same shot again. Two feet long and he's likely to be in the water."

Irish Independent