Jordan Spieth: missed out on the playoff at St Andrews by just one shot as he pursued a third Major title in a row.  Photo:  Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

A win for the American at WGC-Bridgestone would see overtake Northern Irishman at the top

 Amateur Paul Dunne of Ireland tees off on the 6th hole during the final round of the 144th Open Championship at The Old Course i in St Andrews, Scotland. Photo:  Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Little goes right for the Irish amateur on the final day as he struggles to a final 78

Greystones amateur Paul Dunne acknowledges the crowd on the 18th green during the final round of the British Open Championship at the Old Course in St Andrews, Scotland. Photograph: Getty Images

Greystones amateur is undecided on whether to make the move quickly to the professional ranks, or wait until after September’s Wal(...)

 Zach Johnson doubled his Major tally as he won the British Open after a play-off at St Andrews. Photograph: PA

American doubles his Major tally after play-off as history just evades Jordan Spieth

Graeme McDowell: “The greens are its protection, and unfortunately driving the ball is just too easy this week.” Photograph: Danny Lawason/PA

Former US Open winner says bunkers need to be relocated to curb the big hitters

 Amateur Paul Dunne of Ireland plays out of a bunker on the 5th hole during the third round of the 144th Open Championship at The Old Course in St Andrews, Scotland. Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Three-time Major winner and young amateur form an intriguing Irish challenge

Ireland’s Paul Dunne reacts after sinking a putt during the third round on the fourth day of the British Open Golf Championship at St. Andrews Old Course, Scotland. Photo: Gerry Penny/PA

22-year-old Greystones amateur leads The Open Championship going into final round

Padraig Harrington shot a 69 to move into contention in the British Open at St Andrews. Photograph: PA

Fine second round 69 ensures Dubliner will be competing over the weekend at The Open

 Adam Scott of Australia walks along the 17th hole during the second round of the 144th Open Championship at The Old Course in St Andrews. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Unblemished round of 67 means the ex-Masters winner is ideally placed to strike

 Amateur Paul Dunne shot a second consecutive 69 on a weather ravaged second day of the British Open. Photograph: Getty

Leader Johnson left with unfinished business while Watson says his Open farewell

Pádraig Harrington carded a second round 69 to move within six shots of the lead of Danny Willett in the British Open. Photograph: Getty

Two-time winner shoots a 69 while Danny Willett surges into the lead at St Andrews

Dustin Johnson’s prodigious length off the tee helped him post an opening 65 at the Old Course in St Andrews. Photograph: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Heartbreak of US Open loss consigned to history as he leads with a flawless 65

Ireland’s Paul Dunne in action during day one of The Open Championship at St Andrews, Fife.  Photo:  David Davies/PA

Quadruple bogey eight on Road Hole ruins all the Offalyman’s good work

Tiger Woods  walks past the scoreboard as he leaves the 18th green during the first round of the British Open golf championship at the Old Course  in St Andrews. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

Former world number one still patently struggling to find his old game

Ireland’s Paul Dunne during day one of The Open Championship 2015 at St Andrews, Fife. Photograph: David Davies/PA

Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell failed to match the brilliance of Dunne

St Andrews, Scotland, where the cream of international golf will do battle for the illustrious Major. Photograph: Getty Images

Solid opportunity beckons for star turn to take further steps into the golfing annals

Tiger Woods: “I’m hitting the ball much, much more solid.” Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty

Former world number one has already won two Open championship titles at St Andrews

 Justin Rose: “I believe I can win any week that I play. My game is good. It’s in good shape, it’s just a matter of accessing it really.” Photo:  Streeter Lecka/Getty

Talented Englishman has always dreamed of one day winning the coveted British Open

Rickie Fowler: “I have some work to do. I need to continue winning. I think that’s the biggest thing.” Photograph: Lee Smith/Reuters

The sense of expectation surrounding the in-form American is palpable this week

Rickie Fowler heads into the British Open off the back of victory in the Scottish Open. Photograph: Getty

Philip Reid looks at who could come between the world number two and the Claret Jug

 Pádraig Harrington  in action at the Pro -Am  prior prior to the recent Scottish Open as   caddie Ronan Flood looks on. “If I can get myself in the hunt, I actually play better.” Photo:  Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Three-time Major winner remains adamant that missing link for success is in the mind

Dustin Johnson answers questions at St Andrews: “I think every situation you can learn from, they’re all learning opportunities.” Photograph: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.

Reminders of US Open setback won’t knock American’s resolve, he says

 Rickie Fowler acknowledges the crowd after winning the Scottish Open at Gullane. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.

Duo share 31st place at Scottish Open as Rickie Fowler birdies last to win

 The sun rises behind the R&A Clubhouse on the par four, 18th hole ‘Tom Morris’ on the Old Course at St Andrews. Photograph:  David Cannon/Getty Images

There is something extra special about a tournament staged at the hallowed Old Course at St Andrews

Rory McIlroy will not defend his British Open title at St Andrews due to an ankle injury. Photograph:   Owen Humphreys/PA

World No 1 will not be at St Andrews as he takes ‘long term view of this injury’

Rory McIlroy: has had to withdraw from the Scottish Open due to ankle injury. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images.

Experts say injury to ATFL ligament can take from 10 days to 10 weeks to heal

The smile was wiped off Thomas Levet’s face moments after this victory dive into a lake following his French Open win of 2011. A broken shin caused him to miss that year’s British Open. Photograph:Stuart Franklin/Getty Images.

To McIlroy’s soccer, add skiing, surfing and celebrating as hazardous activities

World No 1 amateur Leona Maguire finished alone in second place at the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters at The Buckinghamshire Golf Club near London. Photograph: Tristan Jones/LET

World No 1 amateur makes a bogey on 18 to lose by one shot from America’s Beth Allen

 World number one amateur Leona Maguire will play in the  Ladies European Masters at The Buckinghamshire Golf Club. Photograph:  David Cannon/Getty Images

World No 1 amateur to play at Buckinghamshire Golf Club

Northern Irishman golfer Graeme McDowell poses with his trophy after winning the 2014 Alstom Open de France on. Photo: Thomas Sampson/Getty Images

Irishman eager to kick-start his season at happy hunting ground of Paris National

Shane Lowry has moved up to 45 in the world after his joint-ninth finish at the US  Open at Chambers Bay. Photograph: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Offaly man has conditional status on PGA circuit and chance of earning full tour card

Jordan Spieth  leans on the shoulder of caddie Michael Greller after winning the  US Open Championship at Chambers Bay. Photograph: Stephen Brashear/EPA

Jordan Spieth admits he has been focused on chasing down the world number one

Jordan Spieth kisses the trophy after winning the US Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Masters champion wins by one shot from Dustin Johnson after dramatic final round

Ireland’s Shane Lowry walks the 15th hole as smoke from a nearby fire is seen in the distance during the third round of the  US Open  at Chambers Bay  in University Place, Washington. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Irish golfer tied for fifth spot, three shots off leaders going into final round

Patrick Reed of the US makes his tee shot on the fifteenth hole with Puget Sound as a backdrop during the second round of the 115th US Open Championship golf tournament at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA

Midway lead at Chambers Bay jointly held by Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed

Greens at Chambers Bay, the 2015 US Open course, are predominantly fine fescue, but infiltrated by poa annua, which can lead to unpredictable bounces and explains the splotchy appearance. Photograph: Stuart Isett/The New York Times

Other US Open golfers opt for diplomacy on state and appearance of putting surfaces

Tiger Woods: reduced to a figure of fun when he was subjected to laughter from spectators as he topped a three-wood on the 18th on his way to an 80 on Thursday at Chambers Bay. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

The once great world number one missed the US Open cut on a total of 16 over par

Jason Day of Australia is tended to by medical staff after finishing the ninth hole, his last,  during the second round of the  US Open  at Chambers Bay  in University Place, Washington. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Playing partner collapses with vertigo attack on final hole; Shane Lowry cards 70 to stay in hunt

Shane Lowry, of the Republic of Ireland, watches his tee shot on the 18th hole during the first round of the US Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. Photograph: Lenny Ignelzi/AP Photo

Offalyman opens campaign with a 69, one under par, putting him right into the mix

Phil Mickelson in action during the first round of the 115th US Open Championship at Chambers Bay. Photo:  Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Six-time runner-up firmly in the mix again after he posts an opening 69 at Chambers Bay

Rory McIlroy waits on the 16th green as a freight train passes behind during the first round of the US Open Championship at Chambers Bay. Photograph: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

World No 1 Rory McIroy struggles with cold putter in opening 72 at Chambers Bay

Rory McIlroy hits a tee shot during practice ahead of the start of the US Open at Chambers Bay. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images

Players face strategic uncertainty for 115th contest on bold new Chambers Bay course

Rory McIlroy: “If you look back at the last four or five years, I guess I’ve won more Majors than anyone else in that time.” Photograph: Harry How/Getty Images

Northern Irish man believes Chambers Bay venue a fitting arena to host the US Open

View of the par three third hole overlooking the Bay of Puget Sound at Chambers Bay golf course, Washington, United States. The course  hosts the 2015 US Open golf tournament. Photograph: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Mentally challenging course promises to do many a player’s head in before contest begins

Tiger Woods’s form this season doesn’t make for pretty analysis. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

It’s now seven years since best golfer of era has won a Major championship

Tiger Woods hits a tee shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 115th US Open Championship at Chambers Bay. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

US Open venue a ‘second-shot course’ that needs good approach play, says McDowell

Martin Kaymer hits an approach shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 115th US Open Championship at Chambers Bay. Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

G-Mac’s win at Pebble Beach acted as the catalyst for change for Europeans at the US Open

Clare Balding and Sonia O’Sullivan at yesterday’s Liberty Insurance Women in Sport Conference at Croke Park. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Sonia O’Sullivan says women’s sport needs to be regarded as important

Clare Balding at Croke Park yesterday. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Star broadcaster wants to help other women and girls break into a largely male domain

Graeme McDowell:  It was “a baptism of fire”, he said of the Irish Open at Royal County Down. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Those who played at Royal County Down will be ready for Chambers Bay, says McDowell

Soren Kjeldsen  of Denmark is handed the Irish Open trophy by tournament host  Rory McIlroy at  Royal County Down. Photo: Paul Faith/Getty

McGinley and Clarke would prefer event to be held closer to the British Open

 Irish Open winner Soren Kjeldsen kisses the trophy. Photo: Matt Mackey/Inpho

Dane holds nerve on first extra hole to see off Eddie Pepperell and Bernd Wiesberger

Pádraig Harrington reacts after narrowly missing  a putt on the first  green during the third round of the   Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club. Photo:  Brian Lawless/PA

Error-strewn round of 78 ends hope for Harrington as Dane take control

 Bernd Wiesberger of Austria (R) and Andy Sullivan of England feeling the chill during the second round at Royal County Down. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty

World number one misses the cut by four shots at Irish Open despite a second round 71

Rory McIlroy hits his third shot on the fifth hole during his second – and final – round of the Irish Open at Royal County Down. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Six share the top spot at Royal County Down with Pádraig Harrington best of the Irish

Ireland’s Pádraig Harrington makes his way onto the 11th green with the mountains of Mourne in the background on the first day of the Irish Open at the Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle. Photo: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

Dubliner in top form a week after having to pull out of PGA Championship

A scorer looks on as Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks on the 9th green during the First Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

World No 1’s Irish Open blues continue at Royal County Down

 Rory McIlroy runs through the gorse during the pro-am event prior to The Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club. Photo:  Ross Kinnaird/Getty

World number one ready to throw down the gauntlet to a distinguished field

Darren Clarke: “My desire is what keeps me out there practising and working hard and seeking those four consistent rounds in a row.”  Photograph: Matt Mackey/Inpho/Presseye

Ryder Cup captain encouraged by last round in Wentworth as he prepares for 24th bid

Miguel Angel Jimenez in lighthearted form during practice for the Irish Open at Royal County Down GC yesterday. Photo: Matt Mackey/Inpho/Presseye

Three-time Major champion gets extensive treatment to overcome a shoulder injury

Calm before the storm: A view of the par three fourth hole at Royal County Down ahead of the start of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. Photograph: Darren Kidd/Inpho/Presseye

World number one instrumental in getting Dubai Duty Free as sponsor for Royal County Down

 Shane Lowry tees off in yesterday’s final round of BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in Virginia Water, England. Photograph:  Andrew Redington/Getty Images

South Korean Byeong-hun An leaves field trailing in his wake after closing round 65

Peter Lawrie finished with a 74 for 290, which left him in tied-59th place at the BMW PGA Championship at  Wentworth. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Peter Lawrie will also be at Royal County Down as he tries to regain full tour card

Byeong-Hun An of South Korea celebrates victory with his caddie on the 18th green during day 4 of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Shane Lowry’s Wentworth bid falls short but Offaly man pleased with his return to form

Miguel Angel Jimenez  celebrates his hole-in-one on the second hole during the third round  of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Korean An joins Italian on 14 under while Jimenez makes ace on low scoring day

 Shane Lowry improved his opening round score by seven shots on Friday as he carded a 67 at the BMW PGA Championship. Photo:   Adam Davy/PA

Talking-to by caddie Dermot Byrne gives Irish star reassurance about his game

World number one Rory McIlroy will turn his attention to the Irish Open after a disappointing performance in the PGA Championship. Photograph: PA

World number one takes solace in extra few days’ rest after missing the cut at Wentworth

 Rory McIlroy shows his frustration on the 16th hole during day two of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. The Irishman posted a 78 and missed the cut.  Photo:  Warren Little/Getty Images

Disappointing display from world number one as a 78 sees him miss the weekend cut

 Peter Lawrie in action at the  BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth yesterday. “This is the biggest one and I’m knuckling down and we’ll see how it goes.” Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty

Dubliner aiming to take a big step towards retaining his tour card

 Rory McIlroy  tees off on the 9th hole during day one of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Photo:  Warren Little/Getty Images

Frustrated world number one Rory McIlroy six adrift following an opening 71

Thriving on the intimidation factor: Rory McIlroy holds press court at Wentworth on Wednesday. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA

Justin Rose and Danny Willett among likely contenders for BMW PGA Championship

  Broadcaster Chris Evans talks to Graeme McDowell  during the Pro-Am ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.  Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Northern Ireland golfer hopes to redeem his West Course record at Wentworth with a fresh approach after a one-year absence

 Rory McIlroy  and his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald pose with the trophy after his win  at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo:  Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Imposing world number one heading to Wentworth to defend his BMW PGA title

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland warms up on the practice range ahead of the final round at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club. Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

He’ll be hosting the Irish Open at Royal County Down next week in tiptop form

Rory McIlroy watches his shot from a sand trap on the fifth hole during the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte. Photo: Chuck Burton/Getty/Images

World number one hits 11 birdies and no bogeys in wonder round at Quail Hollow

Portmarnock Golf Club are to consult current members about admitting female members. Photograph: Inpho

Club’s gender policy hinders its chances of holding tournaments such as the Irish Open

Rory McIlroy: “It was nice to get the job done, really satisfying . . . now we move on to The Players at Sawgrass and try to do it again.” Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images

Players at Sawgrass the next target following his impressive WGC Matchplay title win

Shane Lowry  hits his tee shot on the fifth hole during round two of the World Golf Championship Cadillac Match Play at TPC Harding Park  in San Francisco, California. Photograph: Robert Laberge/Getty Images

American produces birdie on the 18th to secure one-hole win over Offaly golfer

Rory McIlroy  and  caddie JP Fitzgerald suffer in the cold and foggy conditions during the pro-am  for the World  Match Play  at Harding Park  in San Francisco, California. Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images

World number one will attend Mayweather-Pacquiao bout in Las Vegas

Jim Furyk celebrates earning his first PGA Tour win since 2010 in  a playoff at the RBC Heritage in  South Carolina. Photograph: Tyler Lecka/Getty Images

Woods and Els miss out as McIlroy, McDowell and Lowry qualify for revamped event

Toulon’s Chris Masoe and Bryan Habana celebrate after the game. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Strolling cat is only light entertainment as Toulon and Leinster stage a thriller

Reigning US Open champion Martin Kaymer will play at the Irish Open at Royal County Down at the end of May. Photograph:   Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Patrick Reed also coming to Royal County Down as Rory McIlroy continues to draw stars

 Patrick Reed  plays a bunker shot  during the second round of the  Masters. The world number 14 will play at the famed links beside Slieve Donard on May 28th-31st. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images

Graeme McDowell hopes return to Heritage Classic can kickstart his season

Masters champion Jordan Spieth: “He’s athletic, he’s young, he has the right character and he wins.” Photograph: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Masters champion has two-pronged target: win more Majors and usurp Irishman

Tiger Woods celebrates his birdie on the 13th during his third round at the Masters. The former champion looked rejuvenated at Augusta. Photograph: Andrew Gombert/EPA

Tiger Woods returns to a game of young guns while the greens are more forgiving

Jordan Spieth of the United States reacts to a par-saving putt on the 16th green during the final round of the 2015 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club , Georgia. Photograph:  Andrew Redington/Getty Images

McIlroy saves his best until last with closing 66 to finish the tournament in fourth place

Tiger Woods stretches before hitting on the second fairway during the second round of the Masters  in Augusta. Photograph:  David J Phillip/AP Photo

Four-time champion believes he is still in contention with second-round 69

Jordan Spieth jumps to watch his ball during the second round at Augusta National. Photograph: Jim Watson

‘I don’t know what course Jordan is playing but it’s not the one I’m playing’ – Darren Clarke

Pádraig Harrington  tees off on the first hole   during Round 2 of the 79th Masters  at Augusta National. Photo: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty

Offaly man makes a 25-ft birdie putt on the 17th but it was to prove in vain

 Larry Mize celebrates chipping in at the  11th hole to win the US Masters in  1987. Photograph: David Cannon /Allsport

White Dogwood, which serves as the introduction to Amen Corner, is a real tough nut

Rory McIlroy watches his tee shot on the third hole during the first round of the US Masters in Augusta National. Photograph: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Masters favourite digs deep on trying day to card ninth straight sub-par round in Majors

Jordan Spieth of the US hits off the 13th tee during first round play of the Masters golf tournament at Augusta yesterday. Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters

Rory McIlroy shoots a 71, one-under, his ninth straight sub-par round in Majors

 Rory McIlroy plays a shot back to the fairway on the tenth hole after a costly  errant tee shot during the final round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta. Photo:  Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Golf correspondent Philip Reid gives the lowdown on the only Major venue that's played every year

Rickie Fowler plays a tee shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 2015 Masters at Augusta National. Photograph: Ezra Shaw/Getty

Holder Bubba Watson the biggest threat to world number one’s ambitions at Augusta

Rory McIlroy on the practice ground in Augusta National golf club. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

World Number one relaxed bud admits butterflies will flutter when he takes his first tee shot at the Masters

Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry during a practice round on Monday in Augusta. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Harrington is back in Augusta and making sure he’s ready

A more engaging Tiger Woods on the tee yesterday during practice for the Masters. Is it possible not to play tournament golf for two months and return with the necessary sharpness? Photograph: Getty Images

The smiling Woods that has turned up at Augusta has ‘worked his ass off’ to be there

Graeme McDowell hopes lowered expectations can work in his favour in at the US Masters in Augusta, Georgia. Photograph:  Brian Snyder/Reuters

Augusta has not been kind, with Northern Irishman surviving only two cuts in seven

 Tiger Woods   and Darren Clarke are all smiles during as they talk  on the practice range  at Augusta National Golf Club ahead of the Masters. Photograph:  Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Nothing gentle about Ben’s week . . . Stadler’s zero sum game . . . JB’s two drivers . . . check that scorecard

Pádraig Harrington  and Shane Lowry  pose for a photo during a practice round at Augusta National Golf Club on Monday. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Offaly man realises a lifetime ambition to be teeing it up a Augusta National

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