Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry have had frustrating seasons. Photograph: Getty Images

Out of Bounds: 12 Major championships have come and gone since the last win in 2014

Justin Thomas poses with the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the PGA Championship at  Quail Hollow. Photograph: Chris O’Meara/AP

PGA Championship success heralded the emergence of another special young talent

Jordan Spieth  reacting to his putt on the first green during the final round of the  PGA Championship at Quail Hollow. Photograph:   Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

'Buddy, we won one of the Majors. I understand that’s a great year in the Majors'

 Rory McIlroy on the third tee during the final round of the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow club  in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photograph:  Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

McIlroy rib injury has not gone away and needs further medical assessment

Justin Thomas of the United States thanks the crowd after winning the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

The 24-year-old becomes eighth first time major winner in last nine major championships

 Rory McIlroy  plays his shot from the third tee during the final round of the US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club  in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

World No 4 will return home to seek medical opinion after back problems flare up at US PGA

Rory McIlroy plays a  shot on the third hole during the third round of the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow. Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

World number four endures another frustrating day as Kevin Kisener leads by one

Shane Lowry of Ireland is consoled by his caddie Dermot Byrne after the second round of the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images

Offaly golfer was five under through his first 16 holes before it all came apart at the 17th

Rory McIlroy chips onto the second green. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

McIlroy flirts with disaster but lives to fight another day at Quail Hollow

 Rory McIlroy  plays his fourth shot  on the 14th hole during the first round of the US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photograph:  Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Double-bogey on short par-4 14th hole leaves McIlroy off the pace at US PGA

Shane Lowry on the 10th hole during the first round of the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow club in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Offalyman can take satisfaction from his battling effort that featured 10 single putts

Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark plays out of the bunker on the 16th hole during the first round of the US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Golf Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Jordan Spieth rallies late on to keep his Grand Slam hopes in sight

 Jordan Spieth addresses  a press conference during a practice round prior to the  PGA Championship at Quail Hollow  in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photograph:  Warren Little/Getty Images

PGA Championship win would see American join elite group of Grand Slam winners

Shane Lowry plays from a bunker during a practice round for the 99th PGA Championship golf tournament at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA

Offalyman to concentrate full-time on the PGA Tour from next January

Fans look on as Brooks Koepka hits a shot during a practice round prior to the US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images

Out of Bounds: US PGA moving to May could help put more focus on the Race to Dubai

Irishman believes his game in good shape ahead of US PGA at Quail Hollow

Pádraig Harrington returns to the familiar surroundings of Quail Hollow this week. Photograph: Peter Morrison/Inpho

2008 winner aiming to be fresh on Thursday at familiar surroindings of Quail Hollow

 Rory McIlroy during the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio. Photograph: Getty Images

Promised thunderstorms disrupt practice; and, secondly, they ensures a softer course

Bernhard Langer with the senior Claret Jug. Photograph: Phil Inglis/Getty

German has been dominant in Senior Majors despite the putting ban imposed in 2016

Rory McIlroy stands with his former caddie JP Fitzgerald during the third round of the Open Championship. Photograph: Reuters

Irishman parted ways with JP Fitzgerald and is due to address the issue on Wednesday

Fintan Kelly scores Monaghan goal during the All-Ireland Round 4B Qualifier against Down at Croke Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Level at half-time, Conor McManus leads scoring spree in second half at Croke Park

Rory McIlroy holds aloft the US PGA after winning at Valhalla in 2014. Photo: Getty Images

The tournament is likely to move to May with the Players being pushed back into March

 Jordan Spieth  embraces his caddie Michael Greller after victory in  the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. Photograph:  Christian Petersen/Getty

Irishman will be out to foil American’s bid to seal a career Grand Slam at the US PGA

Jordan Spieth hits his third shot from the practice range on the 13th hole during the final round of the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

American correctly used the rules to his advantage in dropping on practice ground

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy chips from the rough on the 18th during day four of the British Open  at Royal Birkdale Golf Club. Photograph: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

Northern Irish man finishes joint fourth after horrendous first round at Royal Birkdale

Jordan Spieth celebrates after holing out on the 18th green to secure the British Open title. Photograph:  Andrew Boyers/Reuters

He comes back from poor start with incredible final five holes to win Open title

 Jordan Spieth reacts after sinking a birdie putt on the 18th hole during the third round of the British Open at Royal Birkdale in Southport. Photograph:  Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images

Ice-cool Texan cards 65 to take three-shot lead; Branden Grace cards historic 62

“There was a lot of quality out there and I was happy to see that. I just have to try to keep that going for the next two days.” Photograph:  Dan Mullan/Getty Images

After back-to-back misses cuts McIlroy back at the business end of a tournament

Ian Poulter: “I play some of my best golf when I’m pretty confident. And I’m excited for this weekend. I can’t wait.” Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty

Englishman has regained his confidence following a difficult last 12 months

 Rules officials help remove a signpost to allow Rory McIlroy  play a shot on the 15th hole during the second round of the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty

Proven Major winner leads by two from Kuchar as McIlroy storms back into contention

 Rory McIlroy  chips onto the 11th green during the second round of the 146th British Open at Royal Birkdale. Photograph:  Dan Mullan/Getty Images

McIlroy plays the conditions beautifully at Birkdale to finish on one-under

Philip Reid with the golf ball he was hit by, signed by Dustin Johnson.

DJ did say sorry, and he did sign the golf ball. So, thanks for that. I’ll find a frame for it

 Rory McIlroy plays from the rough on the eighth hole during the first round of the British Open at Royal Birkdale, Southport. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

“JP gave me a talking to. Reminded me . . . ‘You’re Rory McIlroy, what are you doing?’"

 Shane Lowry: “I just have to keep plugging away because this game is very difficult at times.” Photograph:  Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Double bogey on 16th costly for Offaly man who has to settle for a two-over 72

Padraig Harrington acknowledges the crowd after his first round at Royal Birkdale. Photograph:  Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Harrington, Lowry and Clarke all finish over par while McIlroy makes poor start

Rory McIlroy during a practice round at Royal Birkdale ahead of the 146th Open Championship. Photo: Andy Buchanan/Getty Images

Shane Lowry is the only one of the quartet not to have already lifted the claret jug

Jason Day of Australia hits a bunker shot during a practice round prior to the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Australian has faced a tumultuous time on and off course but is coming out the other side

Rory McIlroy is hopeful of turning his fortunes around at Royal Birkdale this week. Photograph: Gerry Penny/EPA

2014 British Open winner feels odds of 20/1 for him to win this week are very generous

R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers has called the BBC’s coverage of the British Open ‘tired’ and ‘outdated.’ Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

R&A’s stance on ‘growing game’ doesn’t sit easily with Majors stuck behind a paywall

Padraig Harrington and  Shane Lowry  practising  at Royal Birkdale.  Photograph: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

Lowry looking forward to playing seven weeks in a row and making FedEx playoffs

Spaniard John Rahm  during a practice round prior to the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale on Tuesday at Southport, England. Photograph: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Irish Open winner gets into the zone by listening to ‘motivational’ rapper before rounds

Pádraig Harrington: 'I’ve come in in better form. I’m playing decent golf and contending, trying to contend.' Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Fourth-place finish in Scottish Open shows former champion’s game is in good shape

Rory McIlroy in action during a practice round for the the 146th Open Championship at  Royal Birkdale, Southport. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

Major success at the US Masters has instilled further confidence in the popular Spaniard

 Pádraig Harrington  plays a shot from the rough on the sixth hole  at Royal Birkdale. Photograph:  Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Of all the courses on the British Open rota, this one punishes inaccuracy off the tee

Jon Rahm on the 17th tee during the third round of the 2017 Irish Open. Photograph: Inpho

Portstewart is likely to be host again whenever the tournament returns to the North

 Pádraig Harrington in action during the  Irish Open at Portstewart. “I am very comfortable where I am at with my game of golf and general attitude to it.” Photograph:  Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Time is also running out for Paul Dunne and Graeme McDowell to secure Open spots

Jon Rahm celebrates with the trophy after his victory at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. Photo: Matt Mackey/Inpho

T-Bone steaks one of the secrets in winning title also held by Garcia, Seve and Olazabal

Spain’s Jon Rahm  embraces his caddie on the 18th green after his victory in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open  at Portstewart Golf Club. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Gavin Moynihan makes the most of late invite with closing 64 to finish as top Irish player

Spain’s Jon Rahm  hits from the rough on the 17th hole during the third round of the   Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart Golf Club. Photograph: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Young Spanish sensation in contention to join the Spanish roll of honour at the Irish Open

Fans watching Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell on the 12th hole during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart Golf Club. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

The Spaniard is one off the lead with a number of Irish players also in contention

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland waits on the 18th hole during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart Golf Club. Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images

After missing cut at Portstewart, McIlroy still confident in his game and practice regime

Riory McIlroy’s Irish Open title defence looks over after he shot a second round 73. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Title defence is all but over with Paul Dunne leading the Irish charge at Portstewart

 Rory McIlroy lines up a putt during the first round  of the Irish Open  at  Portstewart, Northern Ireland. Photograph: Reuters

After a round of 72, the world number four said: “I felt like I was swimming against the stream”

Rory McIlroy plays his second shot to the 6th hole during day one of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Paul Dunne, Graeme McDowell and Gavin Moynihan head Irish challenge at Portstewart

Graeme McDowell carded an opening round 67 at the Irish Open. Photograph: Peter Morrison/Inpho

Shane Lowry and Pádraig Harrington also enjoy good opening rounds at Portstewart

Rory McIlroy on the 1st at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. The Northern Irishman said: “The next 10 years is where I really want to start to make hay and win a lot of tournaments and be in contention in a lot of majors.” Photograph: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress Belfast

Irish Open favourite would ‘love’ to get on sustained run like US golfer did in his prime

Paul Dunne: “My card’s been wrapped up for a while, the big goal would be to try and win something but I’m going to pick up as much money as I can on the way.”

With his card already secure, Dunne can afford to go take risks in Irish Open

Rory McIlroy putts on the 1st during the Pro-Am of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart Golf Club. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

‘I must have wrote that tweet and deleted it about five times before I actually sent it’

Rickie Fowler was the last big name American to compete in the Irish Open at Royal County Down in 2015. Photo: Matt Mackey/Inpho

None of the big name PGA Tour players are at Portstewart, despite the impending Open

Players make their way up the second fairway during practice on Wednesday at Porstewart. Photograph: Peter Morrison/Presseye/Inpho

Course will demand strategy and creative shot-making – a learning curve for many awaits

Padraig Harrington: “I’m putting well, the long game [is good].” Photograph: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Dubliner sees upcoming Irish Open as the springboard to better things this season

Captain of Seapoint Peter Higgins. Photograph: Arthur Allison

Shandon Park, Donabate and Greenore also earn place in August’s K Club final

 Rory McIlroy with The Irish Open trophyat the K Club last year. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Moving tournament to Portrush in 2012, and Rory McIlroy’s involvement pivotal in saving event

Rory McIlroy reacts to a missed putt on the 16th green during the final round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

For Rory McIlroy, average putting weeks often lead to titles due to long game excellence

Rory McIlroy: finished tied-17th in the Travelers Championship. Photograph:  Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

World number four already looked happier with new putter in Travelers Championship

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland lines up a putt on the 18th green during the final round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

He was joined on six under par at Travelers Championship by Pádraig Harrington

Tim Rice: with the Irish PGA Championship trophy at Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort.

Limerickman posts a final round 70 to hold off challenge of Colm Moriarty

Tiger Woods tees off at Pebble Beach at the 2000 US Open. Photograph: Getty Images

Out of Bounds: Absence of Phil Mickelson and Woods didn’t help television figures

 Shane Lowry: “If it hadn’t been for the Irish Open, God knows where I’d be now.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Next month’s event at Portstewart is for professionals only

Brooks Koepka  celebrates with the trophy after winning the 117th US Open Championship at Erin Hills in Hartford, Wisconsin. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA

Former Irish Boys’ Champion has been working with US Open winner since 2013

Brooks Koepka of the United States reacts after winning the U.S. Open at Erin Hills. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

American takes home maiden major title after holding off Brian Harman down the stretch

 The 18th pin flag, with a representation of Arnold Palmer’s winning moment from the 1960 US Open, is diaplayed during the final round of the 2017 US Open at Erin Hills. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

With greater depth in Majors another first-time champion is likely

Leona Maguire of Slieve Russell hits an approach shot during the final day of the Ladies British Open Amateur Championship at Pyle and Kenfig Golf Club. Photograph:  Richard Martin-Roberts/Getty Images

British Amateur win the latest success for the dominant player in women’s amateur golf

Brian Harman leads heading into the final day of the US Open at Erin Hills. Photograph: Gregory Shamus/Getty

Top 13 players separated by five shots as Justin Thomas lights up Erin Hills with 63

Shane Lowry signed for a third round 73 at Erin Hills. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty

Sole Irish player to make the US Open cut struggles on the greens in third round

Shane Lowry tries to punch out of the sand onto the ninth green during the second round of the US Open at Erin Hills. Photo: Michael Madrid/USA Today

The Offaly golfer fought hard to make the cut on Friday and now looks to make a birdie run

Paul Casey hits from the fifth tee during the second round of the US Open at Erin Hills. Photo: Charlie Riedel/AP

US Open: Rory McIlroy, Paul Dunne and Graeme McDowell missed the cut on Friday

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his shot from the 12th tee during the second round of the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

World number two won’t play the weekend for second consecutive year at the US Open

Sergio Garcia of Spain and caddie Glen Murray wait for the green to clear at the 18th during the first round of the US Open at Erin Hills. Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Meanwhile, E. Coli scare at Erin Hills, by the numbers, quote of the day and more

Shane Lowry of Ireland pulls a club from his bag as he prepares to play a shot from the 16th tee during the first round of the 2017 US Open at Erin Hills. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

‘I am very happy with one-under even though the scoring (generally) is quite good’

McIlroy found a lot of the long fescue grass off the Erin Hills fairways. Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

World number two struggled off the tee while Shane Lowry battled to a solid 71

Graeme Mcdowell reacts to a shot on the 15th hole during the first round of the U.S. Open at Erin Hills. Photo: David J. Phillip/AP

Meanwhile, McDowell rues poor prep, by the numbers, quote of the day and more

Rickie Fowler waves to the gallery after his birdie putt on the first green during the first round of the US Open  at Erin Hills. Photograph:  Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY

Seven under par 65 gives the American the ideal fillip as he bids for a first Major title

Paul Dunne  plays his shot from the fifth tee during the first round of the 2017 UA Open at Erin Hills in Hartford, Wisconsin. Photograph:  Andrew Redington/Getty

Greystones man faces a struggle to make the cut following a three-over par first round 75

The Erin Hills clubhouse. Photograph: Streeter Lecka/Getty

Philip Reid looks at where dreams could be realised or dashed in Wisconsin this week

Erin Hills: What we know is that the greens aren’t as firm, and are more receptive, than you usually get at a US Open. And the fairways are wider. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images

Wider fairways and more receptive greens will facilitate a more aggressive game plan

 Holy Hill, a Catholic basilica, overlooks Erin Hills, venue for the 2017 US Open. Photograph: John Mummert/NYT

A basilica sits above Erin Hills where ability to drive long and true is likely to be key

Kevin Na: posted a social media video of how hard it is to emerge from the tall fescue grass at Erin Hills. Photograph: Michael Madrid/USA Today

American unimpressed with difficulty of emerging from punitive rough at Erin Hills

Rory McIlroy: “It’s a US Open. It’s supposed to be a tough test. If guys can’t put it into play within a 50-yards zone I don’t think they’ve got anything to complain about.” Photograph:  Michael Madrid/USA Today

Driver and new putter key to Irishman’s chances of claiming a fifth career Major

 Rory McIlroy in action  during a practice round prior to the 2017 US Open at Erin Hills in Hartford, Wisconsin. Photograph:  Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Irishman says rib injury not a factor as he plays his third practice round in three days

 Paul Dunne: “If I am driving it like I am and putting it like I am come the tournament, I would be confident I can do well.” Photograph:  Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Greystones man confident his game is in good shape ahead of first US Open test

General view of the  9th green, a 165-yard par three, and in the background the  18th green, a 663-yard par five, at Erin Hills  in Erin, Wisconsin.  Photo:  Joe Robbins/Getty Images

After recent rules and course controversies, USGA want to wipe slate clean at Erin Hills

Ireland’s Shane Lowry looks dejected at the end of his final round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Photo: Paul Childs/Reuters

A winless year so far leaves no room for excuses but there is room for improvement

Reece Black (Hilton Templepatrick) holes his final putt on the 18th green in the 2017 East of Ireland Championship. Photograph: Pat Cashman

The 17-year-old overcame a six stroke overnight deficit with a final round of 66

Rory McIlroy: took a break from competitive action due to a rib injury. Photograph: David Goldman/AP

Rib injury won’t deter world number two from competing in the Major

A view from the first tee towards the green on the 427 yards par 4, eighth hole ‘Portnahapple’ on the Strand Course at Portstewart. Photograph: Inpho

Given a global audience, like Royal County Down, it won’t disappoint in impressing the world

 Shane Lowry: can focus on the positives ahead of the busiest time of the season.  Photograph:  Ross Kinnaird/Getty

Plenty of big targets still there for Offaly man after his top-ten finish in lucrative BMW PGA

Paul Dunne became the fourth Irish player to qualify for the US Open on Monday. Photograph: Getty Images

Irish golfer takes one of 15 places available at the qualifying tournament in London

Tiger Woods was booked into the Palm Beach County jail on Monday morning after he was arrested by police in Jupiter, Florida. Photograph: Getty Images

Will the salient image of a sporting great, in our minds, now be of that police mugshot?

Shane Lowry reacts to his drive on the 15th hole during day four of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Swede outmanoeuvres all to snatch PGA championship with majestic performance

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