Golfers warm up on the driving range during the preview day of the Safeway Open at Silverado Country Club in September in Napa, California. Wildfires raged throughout the state as record high temperatures and dry vegetation fuel the fast-moving, destructive blazes. Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Colin Byrne: Focus on winners and losers in the US will hopefully change after this year

A view of the 16th tee box at Port Royal Golf Course. Photograph: Gregory Shamus/Getty

International travel from Dublin a surreal experience but proved more than worth it

Golfers wear masks while playing in Melbourne as some of the city’s three-month-old stay at home restrictions  were further eased on falling Covid-19  infection rates. Photograph: William West/AFP via Getty Images

Oireachtas jamboree may have cost the club golfer who has been playing it by the book

La Bombonera: “The atmosphere until the 84th minute had been like nothing I have ever experienced at a live event and then came the game’s only goal scored by the hosts.” Photograph: Alejandro Pagni/AFP/Getty

Feverish two hours spent on the beating terrace of Boca’s home ground will stay with me forever

  Shane Lowry celebrates with the Claret Jug trophy. ‘Shane is from the heart of the country and that is who he is.’ Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

Colin Byrne: British Open champion will remain an ordinary lad living an extraordinary life

Jason Day and his caddie, Steve Williams, talk on the second hole during the first round of the 2019 US Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

New player and caddie duo makes for an intriguing combination

Colin Byrne alongside Retief Goosen at the 2007 Masters at Augusta National. Photograph: Harry How/Getty Images

Getting your golfer to embrace physical and mental challenge of Augusta is key

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn. A feeling of strong and positive unity will be ever-present in the team room and for the many special meetings that he  will call. Photograph: Getty Images

There is something deeper than talent and form when it comes to playing for your side

 Dustin Johnson in the second hole during the controversial third round of the 118th US Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

Professionals must call out the organisers, the USGA, for again ruining a flagship event

Retief Goosen plays a bunker shot on the 14th hole during the final round of the 104th U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in 2004. Photo: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Irish caddie accompanied Retief Goosen to victory in 2004 on a near unplayable course

 Rory McIlroy  celebrates with his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald after victory in the  TOUR Championship to clinch the FedExCup at East Lake Golf Club. But the relationship was always going to end at some point. Photograph:  Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy splitting with long-time caddie JP Fitzgerald is just a part of the game

 Eddie Pepperell and Tom Lewis of England embrace after securing their European Tour cards during the final round of the European Tour qualifying school final stage at PGA Catalunya in Girona, Spain. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

‘Our group was starting to unravel at an alarming pace, Lewis at high speed, Pepperell down to 13 clubs and Richard McEvoy slowly (...)

England’s Tom Lewis and caddie Colin Byrne. Tom has tried to prepare for this year’s school by playing his practice rounds last weekend and keeping fresh for the six-round test. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Somewhere to earn a living next season is the big reward for six gruelling rounds in Spain

Colin Byrne: ‘As caddies we do sometimes get the feeling of really belonging to something special.’ Photograph: Getty

European Tour set up in a more social way than the PGA and Europe reap benefit

What a chilling and abrupt landing it is for some of our Irish Walker Cup heroes who were riding high a couple of months ago?  Photo: David Cannon/Getty

The 25 who emerge with a tour card in Spain next week will have really earned it

New Zealand perform the Haka before the Rugby World Cup  Pool C match against Argentina at Wembley. Photograph: Facudo Arrizabalaga/EPA

What distinguishes top players like Jordan Spieth is their mental fortitude, handling of expectation

Ireland’s five Walker Cup winners Gavin Moynihan, Paul Dunne, Cormac Sharvin, Gary Hurley and Jack Hume with Britain and Ireland captain Nigel Edwards after their triumph at Royal Lytham & St Annes. Photograph: David Cannon/R&A/via Getty Images

‘I've never talked to such collectively and individually wise and practical young men’

 Jason Day of Australia celebrates on the 18th green after his six-stroke victory at The Barclays at Plainfield Country Club  in Edison, New Jersey. Photo:  Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Three victories in his last four outings has the Australian is in a very good place right now

An emotional Jason Day celebrates his PGA Championship win with his mentor and caddie Colin Swatton who has coached the  Major winner since the latter was 12.  Photo: David Cannon/Getty

Coach has proved an effective stepfather and moulded the Australian’s golf swing

 Cormac Sharvin: one of five Irish players on the 20-strong Walker Cup panel. Photo:  Tony Marshall/R&A/Getty

To have a quarter of the 20-man panel chosen from Ireland is very encouraging

Paul Dunne’s challenge faded on the final day after a brilliant week at St Andrews. Photograph: Getty

‘Unknown’ amateur from Greystones graduates with a masters in golf at St Andrews

Robert Streb ‘putts’ with his 56-degree wedge on the 17th during the final round of the Greenbrier Classic. Photograph: Darren Carroll/Getty Images

Robert Streb sank some fine putts with his 56-degree wedge to reach Sunday’s play-off

Chambers Bay. “The margin for error was so slim with the amount of run-off areas around the greens that sometimes the worse the shot you hit the better the result.” Photograph:  Harry How/Getty

Washington State venue was not a fitting course for the biggest golfing event in the USA

 Nick Faldo  speaks during his induction ceremony as the 2015 Memorial Honoree   at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Photo:  Sam Greenwood/Getty

Faldo’s competitive instinct ensured his place among game’s elite

Ernie Els: became interested in playing in the Irish Open having spoken to Rory McIlroy in the Middle East. Photograph: Matt Mackey/Presseye/Inpho

The event has got its groove back thanks largely to the efforts of the world’s No 1

 Kevin Phelan: hoping to build on his third-place finish in the  Hong Kong Open – but he needs to finish in at least fourth place this week to retain his card. Photo:  Stanley Chou/Getty Images

Peter Lawrie, Gareth Maybin and Kevin Phelan have to deliver a big result in Western Australia

Job done: Oliver Wilson  celebrates with his caddie on the 18th green  after winning the  Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at The Old Course  in St Andrews. Photo:  Ross Kinnaird/Getty

Fairytale story of golfing redemption for a man who kept the faith

Influential locker room figures Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia (right) talk tactics during a practice session at Gleneagles Golf Course, Perthshire.  Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA

The competition format of 18-hole matchplay presents an exacting and testing standard

Ernie Els of South Africa walks alongside caddie Colin Byrne on the 12th hole during the final round of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club yesterday in Louisville, Kentucky. Photograph:  Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Despite defections the FedEx Cup has afforded players the chance to alter their careers

US president Barack Obama watches his putt on the first green during a round of golf at the Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts.

My boss Ernie Els gave it his best shot in last week’s The Barclays but the high-class field failed to come back to us

A rules official waits on a rain-soaked ninth green during the weather-delayed final round of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on August 10th. Photograph: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

No thanks to the PGA as players and caddies left out in the deluge

A non-golfer offers two golfers the best lesson they would ever get: switch the brain off and ease off on the technical stuff

Ernie Els, watched by caddie Colin Byrne,   hits an approach shot during his practice round yesterday prior to the  143rd British Open at Royal Liverpool  in Hoylake. Photograph:  Warren Little/R&A/R&A via Getty Images

Readjusting to the changing conditions vital for British Open success

Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay on his way to victory at  the BMW International Open at  Gut Larchenhof GC in Cologne last weekend.

Reality in top golf, as with any other sport, is that it is increasingly narrow margins that separate best from rest

Rory McIlroy in action during the Irisn Open at Fota Island: “He is a modern Irishman in the hopeless situation of publicly taking sides in a divide that, in truth, never existed in his modern Irish world.” Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

But his personal golfing future in no way compromised by his decision to plump for Ireland

 Annika Sorenstam (L) poses with Jack and Barbara Nicklaus following the memorial induction ceremony prior to the Memorial Tournament  at Muirfield Village Golf Club  in Dublin, Ohio. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Native American curse vanishes at Muirfield Village leading to a relaxed weekend and a tribute to Annika Sorenstam

Caddie Ian McGregor: “Farewell Mac . . .  You left too soon but touched the tour with your raconteuring and camaraderie.”

Value of life should have been put before the amusement of a golf tournament

Graeme McDowell watches his shot from a bunker on the third green during a practice round for The Players championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Photograph: John Rouxa/PA

Competitive edge is what inspires top golfers even if the course isn’t to their particular liking

Matt Kuchar celebrates on the 18th green on his way to victory in the  RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links  in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Photograph:  Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Just when you thought the clones were taking over the multi-talented mavericks give the individual heroic status

Ernie Els  during the CIMB Classic at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

It’s a fine balancing act for a player competing with the best on tour and designing courses

Rory McIlroy plays out of a bunker on the 14th hole yesterdsay during the Pro-Am event at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai, China, where the European Tour kick-off their end-of-season mini-series today with the BMW
Masters tournament. Photograph: Matthew Lewis/Bongarts/Getty Images

South east Asia offers welcome diversity from the predictable flow of the PGA Tour

It’s one thing for Rory McIlroy to be competing on a equal footing in his early 20s as a talented golfer, but it’s another skill entirely thrashing out a deal at a negotiating table. Photograph: Lee Jin-man/AP Photo

New companies on the block not really any different to old school fee takers

International team-mates Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge shake hands with US team-mates Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar after winning 1-up at the Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village, Dublin, Ohio. Photograph:  Reuters

When match day comes along the enormity of the occasion becomes apparent

Caddy Colin Byrne with Ernie Els of South Africa  during the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on the Old Course, at St Andrews last weekend. Photograph: Photograph:  Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Next step is another team event at an altogether different venue at Muirfield Village in Ohio

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson with the trophies after winning the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup at East Lake Golf Club, in Atlanta. Photograph: AP Photo

Swede’s capacity to bounce back a major factor in winning Tour Championship and also securing the FedEx Cup title

 Jim Furyk  celebrates with his caddie Mike “Fluff” Cowan after putting on the ninth green to shoot a 59 during the second round of the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois. Photograph:  Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

‘Fluff’ Cowen may be feeling the affects of a lifetime of looping but he’s not ready to quit just yet

 Edoardo Molinari of Italy has been plagued by a wrist and now hand injury for the past couple of years. It is important for golfers to recogni
se when less practice is actually a better way 
of being 
to be successful. Photograph: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Top golfers can last longer than other sportspeople but they also have to know when to ease off

 Graham DeLaet of Canada shot a third-round 63 at TPC  Boston. This was after he   got a text to say he was on the tee in an hour and 20 minutes due to a re-draw and had to rush to the course.  Photograph: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Season-ender a nailbiter – pity the tension brings out the yob in some fans

Adam Scott, of Australia, holds the trophy after winning The Barclays golf tournament on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, in Jersey City, N.J. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

Finding the right level of intensity is a quest common to all top golfers

The  view from the 17th green  at Liberty National in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The Liberty National is similar to the French National golf course in that it has been built on a landfill

 Phil Mickelson keeps an eye on Tiger Woods as he drives off in last weekend’s US PGA Championship. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

These analytical numbers are invaluable to club manufacturers and television announcers who have so much time to fill that they we(...)

 Rory McIlroy watches his shot from the 15th tee during a practice round for the  PGA Championship  at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, yesterday.  Photograph:  Jeff Haynes/Reuters

Top stars have no place to hide in quest to get back to the top

Phil Mickelson  holds the Claret Jug after winning the British Open golf championship at Muirfield in Scotland. Photo: TobyMelville/Reuters

British Open champion was simply focusing on the tough task of mastering Muirfield

Ernie Els and caddie Colin Byrne during the final round of the BMW International.

There was a lot to ponder about the more immediate past, but even more to reminisce in last year’s victory at Lytham and his first(...)

The crowds turned out in force for the Irish Open at Carton House in Maynooth to watch England’s Paul Casey triumph. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Winner Paul Casey, like the event itself, has had a bumpy road back to prominence

Ernie Els is congratulated by Thomas Bjorn on Eichenried’s  18th. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

Wladimir Klitschko seemed to be having trouble getting his ball out of the hole; after he eventually got it into the hole. He look(...)

Average Joe golfer would not be impressed by the rough Luke Donald has to negotiate as he makes his way to the 17th green during a practice round for the US Open at Merion.

Reality is golf clubs should focus on what their loyal members’ needs are and not the transient golfing troubadours’ needs to chal(...)

Shane Lowry at the launch for this year’s Irish Open, to be staged at Carton House, Co. Kildare. Photograph: Inpho

Owners ensure this year’s event will have local as well as international interest

Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia during the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

There is always an element of discontent after most rounds of golf and particularly the final one when you don’t win

Wentworth West Course with clubhouse in background: idyllic venue for British public starved of top-class golf. Photograph: Getty Images

Chaotic scenes at PGA as English public grab chance to see Tour stars

 Tiger Woods  drops his ball after he hits it into the water on the 15th hole during the second round of the 2013 Masters. Photograph:  Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The most talked about golf tournament in the world had a chance to take the high moral ground, instead it penalised a 14 year old (...)

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