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Gallacher fails to earn automatic Ryder Cup place

(Reuters) – Stephen Gallacher failed to win an automatic place in Europe’s Ryder Cup team after finishing third in the Italian Open on Sunday.

The Scot fired a sparkling seven-under-par 65 in the final round in Turin to end three shots behind Hennie Otto of South Africa and one adrift of England’s David Howell.

Gallacher needed a top-two finish to climb above Graeme McDowell in the ninth and final Ryder Cup qualifying spot but he could still get a place in the team as one of captain Paul McGinley’s wildcard selections.

He is competing with players including former English world number ones Luke Donald and Lee Westwood as well as Ryder Cup stalwart Ian Poulter.

McGinley will name his wildcards on Tuesday.

Automatic qualifiers for Europe’s Ryder Cup team for the match against the United States next month are:

Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), Henrik Stenson (Sweden), Victor Dubuisson (France), Jamie Donaldson (Wales), Sergio Garcia (Spain), Justin Rose (England), Martin Kaymer (Germany), Thomas Bjorn (Denmark), Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland).

(Reporting by Ed Osmond, editing by Alan Baldwin)

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Gallacher fails to earn automatic Ryder Cup place

Golf-Gallacher fails to earn automatic Ryder Cup place

Aug 31 (Reuters) – Stephen Gallacher failed to win an automatic place in Europe’s Ryder Cup team after finishing third in the Italian Open on Sunday.

The Scot fired a sparkling seven-under-par 65 in the final round in Turin to end three shots behind Hennie Otto of South Africa and one adrift of England’s David Howell.

Gallacher needed a top-two finish to climb above Graeme McDowell in the ninth and final Ryder Cup qualifying spot but he could still get a place in the team as one of captain Paul McGinley’s wildcard selections.

He is competing with players including former English world number ones Luke Donald and Lee Westwood as well as Ryder Cup stalwart Ian Poulter.

McGinley will name his wildcards on Tuesday.

Automatic qualifiers for Europe’s Ryder Cup team for the match against the United States next month are:

Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), Henrik Stenson (Sweden), Victor Dubuisson (France), Jamie Donaldson (Wales), Sergio Garcia (Spain), Justin Rose (England), Martin Kaymer (Germany), Thomas Bjorn (Denmark), Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland). (Reporting by Ed Osmond, editing by Alan Baldwin)

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Golf-Gallacher fails to earn automatic Ryder Cup place

Golf-European Tour Italian Open scores

Aug 31 (Infostrada Sports) – Scores from the European Tour Italian Open at the par-72 course on Sunday in Turin

268 Hennie Otto (South Africa) 67 62 71 68

270 David Howell (Britain) 73 67 67 63

271 Stephen Gallacher (Britain) 72 65 69 65

272 Joost Luiten (Netherlands) 69 68 70 65

Richie Ramsay (Britain) 67 69 66 70

275 Bernd Wiesberger (Austria) 66 66 71 72

276 Ross Fisher (Britain) 69 66 70 71

Lee Slattery (Britain) 70 68 67 71

Andreas Harto (Denmark) 70 69 70 67

Simon Dyson (Britain) 71 68 69 68

277 Andy Sullivan (Britain) 70 72 66 69

James Morrison (Britain) 70 66 72 69

Romain Wattel (France) 73 68 67 69

278 Shiv Kapur (India) 73 69 68 68

Mikko Korhonen (Finland) 70 67 71 70

David Horsey (Britain) 71 69 72 66

Sam Walker (Britain) 70 72 68 68

279 Alvaro Quiros (Spain) 70 72 68 69

Kristoffer Broberg (Sweden) 73 68 72 66

Carlos Del Moral (Spain) 70 68 70 71

Darren Clarke (Britain) 72 70 67 70

Francesco Molinari (Italy) 66 72 69 72

Darren Fichardt (South Africa) 68 69 71 71

280 Morten Madsen (Denmark) 68 68 73 71

Francesco Laporta (Italy) 68 72 69 71

Ricardo Gonzalez (Argentina) 74 66 68 72

Richard Bland (Britain) 67 71 71 71

Robert Rock (Britain) 69 70 73 68

Kim Si-Hwan (South Korea) 70 72 69 69

S.S.P. Chowrasia (India) 69 72 66 73

Tom Lewis (Britain) 71 69 73 67

Estanislao Goya (Argentina) 71 70 69 70

Tommy Fleetwood (Britain) 72 70 67 71

David Lipsky (U.S.) 69 67 73 71

281 Marcel Siem (Germany) 73 68 70 70

James Heath (Britain) 73 68 70 70

Merrick Bremner (South Africa) 71 68 70 72

John Hahn (U.S.) 67 73 76 65

Peter Whiteford (Britain) 73 67 71 70

Fredrik Andersson Hed (Sweden) 74 67 70 70

Craig Lee (Britain) 70 72 68 71

Wade Ormsby (Australia) 74 68 70 69

David Drysdale (Britain) 73 69 71 68

Marc Warren (Britain) 69 70 69 73

Daan Huizing (Netherlands) 69 71 69 72

282 Anthony Wall (Britain) 71 70 69 72

Adrien Saddier (France) 70 70 72 70

Felipe Aguilar (Chile) 68 69 76 69

Gareth Maybin (Britain) 67 73 74 68

Joachim Hansen (Denmark) 69 71 72 70

Oliver Fisher (Britain) 74 67 75 66

Benjamin Rusch (Switzerland) 73 66 75 68

Seve Benson (Britain) 70 67 72 73

283 Soren Hansen (Denmark) 71 66 72 74

Jorge Campillo (Spain) 71 71 73 68

Matteo Manassero (Italy) 73 69 71 70

Thomas Pieters (Belgium) 70 68 79 66

Maximilian Kieffer (Germany) 68 70 76 69

284 Alessandro Tadini (Italy) 72 69 72 71

Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spain) 73 63 75 73

Edoardo Molinari (Italy) 71 69 71 73

Magnus Carlsson (Sweden) 72 70 72 70

Jason Knutzon (U.S.) 70 70 74 70

285 Edoardo Lipparelli (Italy) 68 70 71 76

286 Roope Kakko (Finland) 69 72 71 74

Damien McGrane (Ireland) 71 71 73 71

287 Daniel Im (U.S.) 71 71 70 75

Alexander Levy (France) 73 68 68 78

288 Filippo Bergamaschi (Italy) 72 69 72 75

Eduardo De La Riva (Spain) 72 70 73 73

290 Garrick Porteous (Britain) 71 71 74 74

Ignacio Elvira (Spain) 75 67 72 76

292 Gregory Molteni (Italy) 70 70 74 78

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Golf-European Tour Italian Open scores

Tiger ends four-year alliance with coach Foley

By Simon Evans

MIAMI (Reuters) – Tiger Woods has split up with swing coach Sean Foley after a four-year partnership, the 14-times golf major winner said on Monday.

The former world number one is sidelined with a back injury and does not plan to play again until his World Challenge tournament in Florida in December.

“I’d like to thank Sean for his help as my coach and for his friendship,” Woods told his official website (www.tigerwoods.com).

“Sean is one of the outstanding coaches in golf today and I know he will continue to be successful with the players working with him.

“With my next tournament not until my World Challenge event at Isleworth in Orlando, this is the right time to end our professional relationship,” added the 38-year-old.

Woods previously worked with Hank Haney and Butch Harmon before joining forces with Foley in August 2010.

The coach controversially redesigned Woods’s swing but the American great has failed to win a major in their time together.

Foley coaches a number of top players including world number five Justin Rose and American Hunter Mahan, who won The Barclays tournament in New Jersey on Sunday.

“My time spent with Tiger is one of the highlights of my career so far and I am appreciative of the many experiences we shared together,” Foley said.

“It was a lifelong ambition of mine to teach the best player of all time in our sport. I am both grateful for the things we had the opportunity to learn from one another as well as the enduring friendship we have built.

“I have nothing but respect and admiration for him.”

Woods has not appointed a replacement and gave no clue about when he might make a choice.

“Presently I do not have a coach and there is no timetable for hiring one,” said the world number 12.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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Tiger ends four-year alliance with coach Foley

McDowell, Dufner, Casey withdraw from PGA event

Boston (AFP) – New father Graeme McDowell, England’s Paul Casey and injured American Jason Dufner withdrew Monday from this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship, the second event of the season-ending US PGA Tour playoffs.

The top 100 players on the season points list advanced from last week’s event in suburban New York to this week’s tournament that starts Friday in Boston, which will again trim the field of contenders for the 30-man Tour Championship in two weeks.

Northern Ireland’s McDowell, who ranks 40th on the list, withdrew because his wife, Kristin, gave birth to a daughter on Monday, the couple’s first child.

“Thanks so much for all the well wishes,” McDowell posted on Twitter. “Mum and baby girl are happy and healthy. Happiest moment of my life hands down.”

Dufner had been suffering with a bulging disc in his neck that forced him to withdraw from the PGA Championship earlier this month after only 10 holes of his title defense.

He fell to 74th in the points standings after missing last week’s event and only the top 70 will advance to the BMW Championship next week.

Casey also ensured he will not reach next week’s event by pulling out of the Deutsche Bank, standing 85th in points after sharing 22nd place last week.

Three others have also withdrawn from this week’s tournament — American Dustin Johnson, who is 14th in points; Spain’s Sergio Garcia, who stands 15th, and England’s Justin Rose, who is 20th.

That leaves a field of 94 trying to crack the top 70.

Pairings from the Deutsche Bank will see the three points leader grouped together for the first two days, meaning British Open and PGA Championship winner Rory McIlroy, the world number one from Northern Ireland, will be joined by American Hunter Mahan, who dethroned him from the points lead by winning Sunday at The Barclays, and American Jimmy Walker.

Americans Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson and Jim Furyk are in another group thanks to their respective fourth, fifth and sixth positions in the points race.

Australian Jason Day ranks seventh and will be joined by Americans Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth.

Source – 

McDowell, Dufner, Casey withdraw from PGA event

Woods splits with coach Foley

Washington (AFP) – Tiger Woods has split with coach Sean Foley, the 14-time major champion said on his website on Monday.

“I’d like to thank Sean for his help as my coach and for his friendship,” Woods said in announcing the move.

“Presently, I do not have a coach, and there is no timetable for hiring one,” added Woods, who has been hindered by injury throughout the 2014 season.

The 38-year-old missed the cut at the PGA Championship this month, a week after withdrawing from the World Golf Championships event in Akron, Ohio, with similar trouble.

He missed the Masters and US Open while recovering from March 31 back surgery, and finished joint 69th at the British Open.

Woods has ruled himself out of contention for a Ryder Cup berth, saying he won’t return to competition until his unofficial World Challenge event in December.

“Sean is one of the outstanding coaches in golf today, and I know he will continue to be successful with the players working with him,” Woods said. “With my next tournament not until my World Challenge event at Isleworth in Orlando, this is the right time to end our professional relationship.”

Woods had worked with Foley for four years, and under Foley’s guidance reworked his swing in a way designed in part to reduce stress and punishment on his surgically repaired knees.

Foley was Woods’ third coach, the US star working with Butch Harmon from 1993-2003 and Hank Haney from 2004-2010.

He began working publicly with Foley at the US PGA Championship in 2010 and in the period they worked together won eight US PGA Tour titles.

However, Woods’ pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles has remained stalled, and he has battled a new spate of injuries.

Woods did not give any reason for the split with Foley, who also weighed in on his time working with the American star.

“My time spent with Tiger is one of the highlights of my career so far, and I am appreciative of the many experiences we shared together,” Foley said.

“It was a lifelong ambition of mine to teach the best player of all time in our sport. I am both grateful for the things we had the opportunity to learn from one another, as well as the enduring friendship we have built. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him.”

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Woods splits with coach Foley

Soccer-Atletico’s Simeone handed eight-match ban for Super Cup fracas

BARCELONA, Aug 25 (Reuters) – Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone was handed an eight-match touchline ban by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) on Monday following his dismissal and angry reaction in the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid last Friday.

The Argentine was sanctioned with four games for slapping the fourth official on the back of the head after his first-half dismissal, two for protesting, one for applauding the decision and another for giving instructions to the team from the stands.

Atletico won the two-legged tie 2-1 on aggregate. (Reporting by Tim Hanlon; editing by Justin Palmer)

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Soccer-Atletico’s Simeone handed eight-match ban for Super Cup fracas

Golf-Poulter, Westwood, Donald face anxious Ryder Cup wait

(Refiles to make clear Deutsche Bank is not a counting event)

By Tony Jimenez

LONDON, Aug 25 (Reuters) – Ryder Cup heavyweights Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald face an anxious nine-day wait before Europe captain Paul McGinley names his three wildcard choices for next month’s matches against United States.

Poulter, Westwood and Donald, who are all based in the U.S., will have to rely on a wildcard selection at the end of this week’s final counting event, the Italian Open in Turin.

The Deutsche Bank Championship in Massachusetts, which ends on Monday, does not count in terms of qualifying points.

The nine automatic places in McGinley’s side are occupied by world number one Rory McIlroy, third-ranked Henrik Stenson, U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer, Victor Dubuisson, Jamie Donaldson, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell and Thomas Bjorn.

Poulter, the fierce, bulging-eyed competitor who galvanised the remarkable ‘Miracle in Medinah’ comeback victory two years ago, has had an injury-plagued season but a European team without him seems almost unthinkable.

Former world number ones Westwood, who has played in the last eight Ryder Cups, and Donald, who has featured in four of the last five editions, will also have strong claims when McGinley announces his picks on Sept. 2 despite having been some way short of their best this year.

Paul Casey, Bernhard Langer and Miguel Angel Jimenez may feel they have an outside chance of selection while Stephen Gallacher is on the fringes of an automatic place.

Gallacher is looking to provide hosts Scotland with a representative in the Sept. 26-28 matches at Gleneagles and a victory or a runners-up finish in Italy would book his ticket.

The 39-year-old was gunning for the title going into the final round of last week’s Czech Masters, only to end up in a share of seventh place following a closing one-over 73.

“The week went pretty well,” Gallacher told reporters on Sunday. “I was a bit disappointed with today, I didn’t really play that well but top-10 if you’re not firing is quite good.

“I’m heading home for a couple of days now and then I’m off to Italy,” added the nephew of former Ryder Cup skipper Bernard.

DONALDSON DELIGHT

Gallacher’s loss was Donaldson’s gain as the Welshman clinched a Ryder Cup debut next month by winning the Czech Masters by two shots.

“It’s been an amazing week,” said the 38-year-old. “I didn’t decide to come here until late.

“I needed to play well this week or next week or both to guarantee a place in the Ryder Cup team. It’s so difficult to get in the team…I played really well and it all came together.”

The nine automatic American qualifiers have already been decided.

They are: U.S. Masters champion Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Jimmy Walker, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed and Zach Johnson.

Visiting captain Tom Watson will also name his three wildcards on Sept. 2 but must do without former world number one Tiger Woods who has ruled himself out.

The 14-times major champion was sidelined for three months following back surgery in March and said his form and fitness meant he would have been way short of his best at Gleneagles. (Editing by Justin Palmer)

Original article:

Golf-Poulter, Westwood, Donald face anxious Ryder Cup wait

Poulter, Westwood, Donald face anxious Ryder Cup wait

By Tony Jimenez

LONDON (Reuters) – Ryder Cup heavyweights Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald face an anxious nine-day wait before Europe captain Paul McGinley names his three wildcard choices for next month’s matches against United States.

Poulter, Westwood and Donald, who are all based in the U.S., look as if they will have to rely on a wildcard selection at the end of this week’s final counting events, the Italian Open in Turin and the Deutsche Bank Championship in Massachusetts.

The nine automatic places in McGinley’s side are occupied by world number one Rory McIlroy, third-ranked Henrik Stenson, U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer, Victor Dubuisson, Jamie Donaldson, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell and Thomas Bjorn.

Poulter, the fierce, bulging-eyed competitor who galvanised the remarkable ‘Miracle in Medinah’ comeback victory two years ago, has had an injury-plagued season but a European team without him seems almost unthinkable.

Former world number ones Westwood, who has played in the last eight Ryder Cups, and Donald, who has featured in four of the last five editions, will also have strong claims when McGinley announces his picks on Sept. 2 despite having been some way short of their best this year.

Paul Casey, Bernhard Langer and Miguel Angel Jimenez may feel they have an outside chance of selection while Stephen Gallacher is on the fringes of an automatic place.

Gallacher is looking to provide hosts Scotland with a representative in the Sept. 26-28 matches at Gleneagles and a victory or a runners-up finish in Italy would book his ticket.

The 39-year-old was gunning for the title going into the final round of last week’s Czech Masters, only to end up in a share of seventh place following a closing one-over 73.

“The week went pretty well,” Gallacher told reporters on Sunday. “I was a bit disappointed with today, I didn’t really play that well but top-10 if you’re not firing is quite good.

“I’m heading home for a couple of days now and then I’m off to Italy,” added the nephew of former Ryder Cup skipper Bernard.

DONALDSON DELIGHT

Gallacher’s loss was Donaldson’s gain as the Welshman clinched a Ryder Cup debut next month by winning the Czech Masters by two shots.

“It’s been an amazing week,” said the 38-year-old. “I didn’t decide to come here until late.

“I needed to play well this week or next week or both to guarantee a place in the Ryder Cup team. It’s so difficult to get in the team…I played really well and it all came together.”

The nine automatic American qualifiers have already been decided.

They are: U.S. Masters champion Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Jimmy Walker, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed and Zach Johnson.

Visiting captain Tom Watson will also name his three wildcards on Sept. 2 but must do without former world number one Tiger Woods who has ruled himself out.

The 14-times major champion was sidelined for three months following back surgery in March and said his form and fitness meant he would have been way short of his best at Gleneagles.

(Editing by Justin Palmer)

Continued here – 

Poulter, Westwood, Donald face anxious Ryder Cup wait

Drive to be the best – McIlroy or Scott?

By Andrew Both

(Reuters) – Rory McIlroy is the best driver in contemporary golf when he is ‘on his game’ while Adam Scott is consistently the best, day-in and day-out. Both players are regarded as better off the tee than Tiger Woods was at his peak.

This was the general consensus that emerged from a series of interviews Reuters conducted recently with several top players on the PGA Tour, golf analysts and a leading swing coach.

While most believed that McIlroy and Scott drive the ball better than Woods did in his heyday, they also acknowledged that Woods was superior in other facets of the game, a key factor in his dominance for so many years as he piled up 14 major titles.

“When Rory is on, it’s obvious he’s better than everybody else,” former British Open champion Ian Baker-Finch, who works as a golf analyst on television for CBS Sports, told Reuters.

“But I think when Rory’s off (his game), he’s further off than Adam. Adam’s ‘off’ is not that bad, because he has perfect posture, physical strength and a great simple motion.”

Frank Nobilo, another former player turned television commentator, gave McIlroy the driving edge over Woods but felt Woods had more of the ‘wow’ factor to conjure up some of the most astonishing shots ever seen on a golf course.

“From tee shot to tee shot, you might put Rory ahead of Tiger but from a shockingly ‘you don’t do that’ viewpoint, you might give the edge to Woods,” said New Zealander Nobilo.

“Tiger’s game was never predicated just on the driver. He beat you in other ways.”

England’s former world number three Paul Casey, no slouch himself with the driver, has no doubt that McIlroy’s best is superior to anyone else in the modern game.

“When Rory is on, it’s not a contest,” Casey said. “Rory’s swing is like a bullwhip. When he times it, it’s the best you’re going to see. I’ve never seen a golf ball hit like that.

“He’s not scared to hit his driver, which is why when it’s on it’s so impressive and he’s got the ability to win by a lot. When it’s not timed, he goes a little sideways and he gets a bit of grief for it but he bounces back.”

What is it, though, that makes McIlroy and Scott, currently ranked first and second in the world, so good off the tee?

CLUBHEAD SPEED

Neither has the fastest clubhead speed with a driver on the PGA Tour. That honour belongs to Bubba Watson, who averages 124mph when he makes contact, his ball leaving the clubface at a sizzling 183 mph, almost as fast as a Formula One car at top speed.

McIlroy (121mph) and Scott (119mph), however, are not far behind, and Scott, in particular, is not prone to the inconsistency off the tee that prevents Watson from being a regular contender.

Watson’s clubhead speed translates into distance, as he leads the tour with an average drive of 313 yards, a couple of yards longer than Dustin Johnson and McIlroy.

Scott is ranked 17th at 302 yards, but he hits marginally more fairways than both McIlroy and Watson.

Former touring professional Steve Bann, an instructor whose pupils include nine-time PGA Tour winner Stuart Appleby of Australia, felt McIlroy’s rare combination of length and accuracy set him apart.

“I don’t think Tiger ever hit it as far and as straight as Rory,” Bann said. “Rory’s path (with the driver) is inside and up, so his natural free releasing shot is a draw.”

But Bann believes the best driver over the past few years has been Spaniard Sergio Garcia, while he rates Australia’s former world number one Greg Norman as the best over the past three decades.

“I like players who can move it both ways,” said Bann. “Sergio hits it right to left, left to right, hits it a long way and hits a lot of fairways.”

Baker-Finch was fulsome in his praise of McIlroy’s technique, and had no doubt that the Northern Irishman was more consistent with his driver than Woods ever was.

“Rory doesn’t have to go back to a stinger three-iron often,” said the Australian, who won the 1991 British Open at Royal Birkdale. “Even when Tiger was at his best and winning all the time, he went back to that stinger two-iron when he had to.

“Rory has got tremendous hip turn and matched up with that beautiful turn is unbelievable leg drive. If you look at pictures of Rory at the end of his follow-through, he’s fully extended from his right toe to his right hand, whereas most other guys fold.

“He uses every fiber of his body to generate speed and he doesn’t look off-balance like Bubba.”

GREAT SCOTT

Nevertheless, Baker-Finch believes his compatriot Scott is the best driver when it comes to consistency.

“Adam, day-in and day-out and maybe for a decade will be one of the top two three drivers in the world,” he said.

“On his bad days he’s going to be able to hit fairways, whereas Rory gets wild at times. Adam is never wild because his technique is so perfect.”

A glance at McIlroy’s scores this year would appear to back that up. McIlroy has carded several high scores, including a 78 in the second round at the Scottish Open in July.

Casey, who played in the following group that day at Royal Aberdeen, observed that McIlroy continued to play aggressively, even when his round was unravelling.

“His attitude didn’t change. He didn’t panic, still took out the driver and still smashed it,” Casey said.

“He’s the best player in the world at using the ground to create power,” explained Casey, before citing the example of how a high jumper uses pressure pushing into the ground to create energy to spring upwards.

American David Toms, the 2001 PGA Championship winner, observed that McIlroy turns extremely long par-fours into potential birdie holes.

“Most guys who create that much speed are all over the place with their footwork but he looks very balanced,” Toms said.

Of course, being a great driver does not necessarily translate into greatness, but as Toms acknowledged, being long and straight is a huge advantage for a player if he is also competent in the other facets of the game.

The past 10 majors have been won by long hitters, and that is probably not a coincidence.

The last major winner who was a medium-length driver of the ball was American Webb Simpson at the 2012 U.S. Open but the dominance by power hitters is certainly not a recent phenomenon.

As Baker-Finch observed, many of the great players of previous decades were also among the longest drivers of their era. Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Norman, Mickelson and Woods spring to mind.

Short hitters such as Corey Pavin and fellow American Toms may pop up occasionally and win a major, but the odds are stacked against them.

“The best players now, and all of the major winners, seem to be the longest (hitters),” Baker-Finch said.

(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)

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Drive to be the best – McIlroy or Scott?

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