Jordan Spieth reacts to making a putt on the 16th green during his third round  of the british Open at Carnoustie. Photograph:  Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images

Defending champion tied at the top at Carnoustie with fellow Americans Kisner and Schauffele

 Zach Johnson of the US reacts after making birdie on the 18th during the second round of the British Open at Carnoustie. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

He’s often confused with the world number one, but ZJ still has two Major titles to his name

Rory McIlroy reacts after his birdie putt just misses on the 18th hole during the second round of the British Open at Carnoustie. Photograph:  Francois Nel/Getty Images

McIlroy two shots behind joint leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner

Rory McIlroy plays from the rough during the second round of the British Open at Carnoustie. Photo: Will Oliver/EPA

Four-time Major winner has positioned himself nicely heading into the weekend

Paul Dunne of Ireland lines up a putt on the fourth green during the first round of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club. Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Greystones man played opening round of Carnoustie with painkillers and strapping

Rory McIlroy runs up the 18th hole during the first round of the 2018 British Open at Carnoustie. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire

Opening 69 leaves Northern Irishman just three behind first round leader Kisner

Brooks Koepka plays from a bunker during a practice round ahead of the British Open at Carnoustie. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire

Double US Open champion is confident of competing at Carnoustie this weekend

Rory McIlroy shakes hands with Shane Lowry as Paul McGinley looks on during Wednesday’s practice round ahead of the 2018 British Open at Carnoustie. Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

A chess match awaits at Carnoustie but will American claret jug dominance continue?

  Shane Lowry during preview day three of the British Open Championship   at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus. Photograph:  : David Davies/PA

Offaly native won’t be opting for a ‘driver everywhere’ approach despite its popularity

The 147th Open championship takes place in Carnoustie this week. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

He last played in the championship at St Andrews in 2015 when he missed the cut

A spectator sleeps in the grass as Pádraig Harrington passes by during the Scottish Open at Gullane GC  in Gullane, Scotland. Photograph:  Andrew Redington/Getty

Two-time British Open winner says Rory remains on course to get into double-digits

Sean McGrath, chief executive Allianz with the victorious Thurles team; Dave Crowley, president, Marian Finn, lady captain, and Joe Kerrigan, captain and  Philip Reid (The Irish Times) at the K Club . Photograph:  Dylan Vaughan.

Tipperary club take honours in Allianz Irish Times Officers’ Challenge at Mount Juliet

Monaghan’s Conor McManus and David Hyland of Kildare during their Super 8s round 1 match at Croke Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

One hard game after another caught up with Kildare, as much mentally as physically

 Rory McIlroy in action at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin Golf Club last week. Photograph:  Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

McIlroy should be justifiably proud of his four years as tournament host

Spectators sheltering from  rain  during the final day  of the  Irish Open at Ballyliffin Golf Club. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

McDowell has change of heart and will play in Scottish Open

Scotland’s Russell Knox celebrates winning the  play-off on the 18th during the final day  of the  Irish Open at Ballyliffin Golf Club. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Scottish player sinks 40-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole to get into a play-off – and does it again in the sudden death

Russell Knox celebrates his winning putt on the 18th after winning the Irish Open on a playoff. Photo: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

The Scot pipped Ryan Fox in a playoff after a dramatic day at Ballyliffin in Donegal

Rory McIlroy struggled again on the greens in the third round. Photo: Craig Brough/Reuters

Erik van Rooyen leads at Ballyliffin but there is a strong chasing pack in hot pursuit

Rory McIlroy after missing a putt on the 18th during his second round at Ballyliffin Golf Club. Photograph:   Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye

Four-time Major winner says he will figure it out himself but there is work to be done

Shane Lowry of Ireland fist pumps after making a birdie on the ninth green during the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin Golf Club. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy endured another frustrating day on the greens as Fox and Pavon lead

Rory McIlroy  lines up a putt on the third green  during the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin Golf Club. Photograph:  Jan Kruger/Getty Images

McIlroy hits 12 of 15 of fairways but 32 putts made for a frustrating opening day

Pádraig Harrington in action during the first round at Ballyliffin. “I know if I just stay patient, hopefully I’ll manage it well enough to get myself into position with nine holes to go [on Sunday]. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Three-time Major has an eagle and three birdies in an impressive opening 68

Pádraig Harrington hits out of a bunker on the eighth hole during the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at  Ballyliffin Golf Club. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Dubliner one shot off leader Ryan Fox after morning tee-times

  Jon Rahm   on the fourth tee during the pro-am event on Wednesday prior to the   Irish Open at Ballyliffin Golf Club. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Spaniard keen to emulate Seve Ballesteros' success and win tournament three times

 Rory McIlroy on the first fairway at the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin on Wednesday. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye

29-year-old says he’s done well to get to this point but ‘there is more left in the tank’

Kieran Donaghy, Michael Murphy, Shane Lowry and Paul Dunne at the GAA Challenge ahead of the 2018 Irish Open at Ballyliffin. Photo: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Donegal captain says the players are focusing purely on the task ahead and nothing else

Shane Lowry speaking on practice day for the Irish Open at  Ballyliffin Golf Club in  Co Donegal.  Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Offalyman has very fond memories of the Irish Open and ‘treats it like a Major ’

 Graeme McDowell: “In hindsight I should have flown private or drove. But there was a perfectly-timed flight heading from Paris to Manchester. I was trying to do the sensible thing.” Photograph:  Getty Images

Player opted to withdraw from qualifier as he has chances at Irish Open and Scottish Open

Rory McIlroy  on the 17th tee during practice   for the Irish Open at Ballyliffin Golf Club in Co Donegal. Photograph:   Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Borehole at Glashedy Links has other links courses green with envy as heatwave continues

Rory McIlroy  practises ahead of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Donegal links will host the biggest golf tournament on the planet this week

 A view from behind the green on the 450 metre, par 5, 18th hole in Paris. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images

‘There can be no prestige without mystery, for familiarity breeds contempt . . .’

Graeme McDowell  reacts after missing a putt during the second round of the US Open. He missed the cut at Shinnecock Hills. Photograph: Seth Wenig/AP

Northern Irishman joins Dunne and Lowry at French Open before playing Irish Open

Phil Mickelson: he   intentionally hit a moving ball  to prevent it from running off the green.  Photograph:  Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Out of Bounds: The US player hit a moving ball on the 13th but was not disqualified

Brooks Koepka holds up the Golf Champion Trophy after winning the US Open Golf at Shinnecock Hills,  Southampton, N.Y. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP

‘It’s validation that he is one of the best players in the world’ says thrilled Elliott

Phil Mickelson plays his shot from the eighth tee during the final round of the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. P hotograph: Andrew Redington/Getty

Actions were construed by USGA as worthy of a two-stroke penalty but not of disqualification

Henrik Stenson:  described Shinnecock Hills as “silly, it’s like glass around the hole and it’s not a smooth surface either . . . . they never fail to fail, they lost this golf course.” Photograph: Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports

Authorities again allowed course at Shinnecock Hills to slip over the edge

Brooks Koepka of the United States and caddie Richard Elliott celebrate on the 18th green after the final round of the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York. Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The American made it back-to-back titles after seeing off the field at Shinnecok Hills

Dustin Johnson chips onto the sixth hole during the third round of the 118th US Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York. Photo: Justin Lane/EPA

The dreadfully difficult course conditions caused havoc on Saturday in Long Island

 Rory McIlroy drives  from the 13th tee during the second round of the US Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club  in Southampton, New York. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

Irish challenge ends at Shinnecock Hills as McDowell and Lowry also bow out

Graeme McDowell during the first round at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club  in Southampton, New York. Photograph: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Others also responded well in bid to catch leader Dustin Johnson at Shinnecock Hills

 Dustin Johnson in action during the second round of the 118th US Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York.  Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

Impressive 67 in second round puts world number one in control at the US Open

 Dustin Johnson  celebrates making a birdie on the seventh hole as Tiger Woods  looks on during the second round of the US Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club  in Southampton, New York. Photograpgh: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Shinnecock Hills can’t rock DJ as world number one shoots a second round 67

Ireland’s  Shane Lowry  plays his shot from the 13th tee during the first round of the US Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York. Photograph: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

‘I can’t play any better golf than that’ says Irish golfer after opening round at US Open

Rory McIlroy shot an opening round of 80 at the US Open. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty

29-year-old limps to an 80 on Long Island - matching his worst ever round at Majors

Tiger Woods of the United States smiles on the range prior to the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York. Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images

The 14-time Major winner was touted as a possible competitor but his agent has said no

Rory McIlroy: “I feel I know this course as well as I know any US Open set-up and hopefully I can use that to my advantage.” Photograph: David Cannon/Getty

McDowell and Lowry also harbouring hopes of a big display at Shinnecock Hills

 Varying cuts of grass in increasing heights away from the fairway on the 16th hole at Shinnecock Hills, venue of the 118th US Open in Southampton, New York. Photograph: TannenMaury/EPA

There will be no repeat of the farcical course set-up which marred the US Open in 2004

Rory McIlroy has said he will adopt a conservative approach off the tee at this week’s US Open. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty

‘Fun’ golf part of the preparation as he bids to end four-year wait for elusive fifth Major

Tiger Woods: “To  play against these guys, the best players in the world, it’s just a great feeling and one that I don’t take for granted.” Photograph:  Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Shinnecock Hills beckons 10 years after he claimed the last of his 14 Major victories

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland plays a shot from a bunker during practice rounds prior to the 2018 US Open 2018 in Southampton, New York. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

A stress-free Graeme McDowell arrives for 118th US Open with a spring in his step

Phil Mickelson during his practice round yesterday prior to the US Open this week at Shinnecock Hills. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

Victory at Shinnecock Hills would see him join an elite club of just five famous names

 Brooks Koepka of the United States  during practice rounds on Monday prior to the 2018 US Open  in Southampton, New York. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

US Open champion has hit the gym to help him come back from injury to defend his title

Leona Maguire’s final-round 69 featured five birdies – on the fourth, fifth, ninth, 16th and 18th – along with three bogeys. Photograph: Michael Cohen/Getty Images

The 23-year-old Cavan golfer insists playing in New Jersey ‘doesn’t feel all that different’

A view of the US Open trophy on the 18th hole at Shinnecock Hills where the 104th US Open will be played next week. Photo: Getty Images

From the carnage of 2004 to its historic native Indian roots, this strip of Long Island is a storied place

Leona Maguire (left) and Lisa Maguire (right) will this week make their professional debuts at the ShopeRite LPGA Classic.

Cavan twins have signed with KPMG and Allianz as they make move into pro ranks

 A referee tests the ‘Shot Clock’ system during the Pro-Am of the 2018 Shot Clock Masters at Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg, Austria. Photograph: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

It’s about time slow play was tackled, but are gender games just a marketing opportunity?

Christo Lamprecht (South Africa) winner of  East of Ireland Championship celebrates after holing his final putt on the 18th green at County Louth Golf Club. Photograph:  Pat Cashman

Strapping 17--year-old South African pips Kilkenny’s Mark Power by two shots

 Ireland’s Olivia Mehaffey will play in the US Women’s Open. Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Sequence of an Irish presence in the US Women’s Open field extends to five years

Shane Lowry’s  tied-15th place finish at Wentworth moved him up three places in the latest world rankings to 82nd. Photograph: Reuters

Offaly player’s lowly position on FedEx Cup points table sees him skip Italian Open

2018 European Ryder Cup vice captain Padraig Harrington during a press conference at Wentworth Golf Club, Surrey. Photograph: PA

He deserves to captain Europe in 2020 even if it means three Irish captains out of four

 Paul Dunne:  “I’ve had a good eight-week run, and my game is in good shape. I am hitting the ball really nicely, and my short game seems to be there.” Photograph:  Getty Images

Wicklow man resumes tournament action at megabucks BMW PGA Championship

Paul McGinley at Lahinch Golf Club for the announcement that it is to host the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, with McGinley as the host.  Photograph: Brian Arthur

Rory McIlroy to pass on the host’s baton after July’s Dubai Duty Free event at Ballyliffin

Jon Rahm is the current Irish Open champion after taking the title at Portstewart in 2017. Photo: Matt Mackey/Inpho

Co Clare club will host the event for the first ever time from July 4th to 7th next year

Pádraig Harrington tees off at 6.30pm Irish time. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Course devoid of woodland but reminiscent of links terrain, although without the rough

 Niall Horan:  “To support the Northern Ireland Amateur Open gives young players a chance to learn more about themselves and their game.” Photograph: Matt Mackey/Inpho

Pop star’s commitment to new event will help develop young golfing talent

Audrey Bradley  for Cork Golf Club in the Allianz Irish Times Officers’ Challenge at Cork Golf Club. Photograph:  Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Cork take second place, and Monkstown edge out Douglas for third

A second round 74 saw Rory McIlroy miss the cut at The Players. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty

Double-bogey on 17 ends McIlroy’s week early as Webb Simpson shoots stunning 63

The clubhouse at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Photograph: Chris Condon/Getty Images

Still playing catch-up on the four Majors and it’s a forlorn chase, one it’s destined to lose

Rory McIlroy in action during the final roun dof the Wells Fargo Championship. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty

Dustin Johnson could lose world number one spot at The Players Championship

Is slow play the issue or are people playing too fast? Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Three golfer recently made a complaint about players behind them playing too fast

Grange GC president Oisín Ó Buachalla putts on the 18th, watched by lady captain  Anne Kelly and captain Jim Hegarty at Portmarnock Links. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Grange and Rathfarnham also qualify in Allianz Irish Times Officers’ Challenge

Shane Lowry  playing The Golf Course at Adare Manor on Friday at the launch of the  2020 JP McManus Pro-Am. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

What started as tinkering with bunkers has ended in parkland perfection that compares with Augusta

Rory McIlroy  in action  at Adare Manor for the launch of the 2020 JP McManus Pro-Am on Friday. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Rory McIlroy among stars to praise revamped course after major re-design

Ireland’s Leona Maguire is dominating the world amateur rankings. Photograph: Inpho

Irish women like Leona Maguire are impacting on the sport like never before

 Paul Dunne:  a Ryder Cup year,  the Greystones player is up to seventh on the European Order of Merit points list and 13th on the World Points List.  Photograph:  Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

World ranking rise could mean automatic qualification for US Open at Shinnecock Hills

Patrick Reed holds the Masters tournament trophy, in his green jacket in Augusta. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

As the song goes, he does it his way. For better, or worse. Now as a Major champion

Rory McIlroy  reacts to a missed putt on the 13th hole during the fourth round at the US Masters  in Augusta, Ga. Photograph: David Gold(AP Photo/David Goldman)

After a good first three days, stats show his game was way out-of-sync on Sunday

Rory McIlroy congratulates Patrick Reed after he won  the 2018 Masters tournament  in Augusta, Georgia. Photograph:  Mike Segar/Reuters

Masters champion outlines how reception on first tee added to his motivation

Tiger Woods  on the third tee during his final round at Augusta National. For the first time since the Open Championship of 2014, Woods successfully managed to complete all four rounds in a Major.  Photograph: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Four-time Masters champion finishes well at Augusta to complete remarkable comeback

Patrick Reed reacts after winning the 2018 US Masters at Augusta National. Photo: Charlie Riedel

The American was unflappable in holding off a charging Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth

Rory McIlroy reacts after his eagle on the eighth hole during the third round at the 2018 US Masters. Photo: David J. Phillip/AP Photo

McIlroy can complete career grand slam on Sunday but Patrick Reed stands in his way

Patrick Reed waves on the second hole alongside caddie Kessler Karain during the second round of the 2018 US Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

American holds a two-shot lead into Saturday as Rory McIlroy lies at four under

Rory McIlroy hits from the fairway on the second hole during the second round of the 2018 US Masters. Photo: Andrew Gombert/EPA

Four-time major winner shot a second round 71 on a devilishly tough day at Augusta

Rory McIlroy and caddie Harry Diamond walk across the 18th green during the first round of the 2018 Masters. Photograph: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

‘To have the ability to stay patient, because of the position I’m in, that’s a nice luxury’

Rory McIlroy and Harry Diamond walk to the second green during the first round of the US Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

An enthralling day at US Masters saw McIlroy scramble well on the way in to shoot a 69

Tiger Woods plays from a bunker on the fourth hole during the first round of the 2018 US Masters at Augusta National. Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Four-time US Masters winner ground out a one over par round to remain well in the mix

Rory McIlroy hitting from the 7th fairway during  final-day  practice for the  Masters. Photograph:   Reuters/Brian Snyder

Tournament is wide open as so many players are on top of their game at Augusta National

 Jon Rahm of Spain hitting out of a bunker  during the final practice round at  Augusta National Golf Club. Photograph: EPA/Andrew Gombert

The 23-year-old Spaniard aims to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Sergio Garcia

Rory McIlroy during the second practice round at the 2018 Masters in Augusta. Photograph: PA

Philip Reid’s first Masters was in 1991, and like then there’s only one Irish in the field

 Rory McIlroy  Ireland walks with caddie Harry Diamond during a practice round prior to the start of the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National. Photo:  Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Irishman is in good form, totally focused and has prepared meticulously for Augusta

 Tiger Woods smiles on the 13th green during a practice round prior to the start of the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National. Photograph:  Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Thousands line the fairways to see Woods and Mickelson share a practice round

Tiger Woods and his caddie, Steve Williams, celebrate after Woods chipped in for birdie on the 16th hole during the final round of the 2005 US Masters. Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Garcia tells of snake encounter, word of mouth and more from the US Masters

 Bubba Watson plays a shot   during a practice round at Augusta.  “Golf is really easy when you free it up.” Photograph:  Andrew Redington/Getty Images

With two wins already this season, the two-time Masters champion is a Major contender again

England’s Ian Poulter  lines up a putt on the 18th green during  his first playoff hole at  the Houston Open  in Texas. Photograph:   Josh Hedges/Getty Images

Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn says Poulter’s performance in Texas ‘absolute class’

 Rory McIlroy in  a warm-up round prior ahead of the 2017 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in April 2017: the Northern Irish man needs to triumph in the Masters this week to win a  Grand Slam. Photograph:  Rob Carr/Getty Images

All three are one Major away from entering the elite club home to just five others

 Paul Dunne  chips on to the 18th green during the continuation of the first round of the Houston Open on Friday. Photograph: Getty Images

Irish duo chasing golden ticket to Masters that goes to winner of the event

Paul Dunne carded an eight-under 64 in the first round of the Houston Open. Photograph: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Irish golfers all make good starts as they chase top prize and an invite to the Masters

 Jordan Spieth yells “fore” during the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Texas. Photograph: Getty Images

It takes only a nano-second for the verbal warning to escape a player’s lips - Fore!

Who will be jumping into the pond surrounding the 18th green, known as Champion’s Lake (or Poppie’s Pond) this year. Photograph: Getty Images

Steve Stricker’s arrival on Champions Tour is putting it up to Bernhard Langer

Pádraig Harrington  and Shane Lowry have yet to qualify for next week’s US Masters at Augusta.  Photograph: Getty Images

Paul Dunne, Shane Lowry, Pádraig Harrington and Séamus Power all need to win

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