Sport Golf

Thursday 18 January 2018

Trevino: G-Mac has guts for glory

IF an Ulsterman is to win the US Open for the third time on Sunday, legend Lee Trevino is one of many who reckon it's just as likely to be Graeme McDowell as Rory McIlroy.

Trevino etched his name alongside those of Bobby Jones and Ben Hogan in the rich history of Merion Golf Club with his play-off win over Jack Nicklaus at the 1971 US Open.

This iconic figure returned to Merion this week for only the second Champions' Dinner in the 118-years history of America's national open. Asked if he was aware of comparisons between McDowell and himself, Trevino (73) grinned and said: "Yes. He's got guts!

"Graeme has a shot here. McIlroy also, if they keep the driver away from him. Rory and Tiger will spray it a little bit. They want to hit it 390 yards. You can have the finest car in the world but if you don't have the key, you don't go anywhere. Keeping your ball on the fairway is key here."

HARRINGTON SHOWING BELLY FOR THE FIGHT

DON'T write off Padraig Harrington at this US Open.

The Dubliner missed the cut by a proverbial street at April's Masters but his switch to the belly putter has boosted his confidence and restored his Major prospects.

His decision to try the long putter looked like a desperate last throw of the dice by an outspoken opponent of anchoring and First Playing Ambassador to world ruling body, the R&A.

"No, it was straightforward," he insisted. "I've a SAM-putting system at home and when I measure my stroke, it is better with that (long) putter than the normal one. It didn't feel better at first but it was just a question of getting used to it."

Asked if he'd the feel for it now, he added: "You know, I don't even give it a second thought, so I must."

GENERATIONS SET FOR AGE-OLD BATTLE

IT promises to be a real generation game on the East Course this week with a wide array of golfers in their 20s, 30s and 40s all capable of winning.

Rory McIlroy (24) appears strongest of the twentysomethings but Dustin Johnson (28), Jason Day, (25) and the gifted Matteo Manassero, just 20, can push him hard.

No question, Tiger Woods (37) is a worthy runaway favourite but McDowell (33), Masters champion Adam Scott (32) and Matt Kuchar (34) will not be cowed. Of the elders, Ernie Els (43) hopes for a third US Open title in his 21st consecutive appearance.

ABSORBING CONTEST TO LEAK $10M IN REVENUE

THE decision to bring the US Open back to Merion Golf Club has been met largely with praise, but the move may cost the event's organisers, the USGA, $10m.

That's the overall loss they are expected to absorb from this week's return to Merion for the first time since 1981.

There is a significant drop in ticket revenue, from the 40,000-45,000 who attended each day at recent US Opens to the capacity of 25,000 per day on the East Course.

Irish Independent

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