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Irish aces can let golf do the talking

Clarke and McGinley

By Charlie Mulqueen
VERBAL exchanges will be at a minimum when Ireland’s Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley come up against Japanese opposition in today’s first round of $7.5million Accenture World Championship at Carlsbad near San Diego.

Clarke takes on Shigeki Maruyama and McGinley is up against Shingo Katayama.

Padraig Harrington meets Australian Rod Pampling and if these are among the low key first round matches, such is far from the case with the fourth Irishman, Graeme McDowell, who takes on world number two Vijay Singh.

McDowell had been looking forward to a clash with top dog Tiger Woods until the late withdrawal of Thomas Bjorn caused a significant change in the draw. And it also meant a number of gremlins crept into my copy in yesterday’s edition.

McDowell, of course, is disappointed at missing out on a chance of playing Woods, who like just about everybody else is beatable over 18 holes of matchplay. Singh will be regarded as a case of "going from the frying pan into the fire" but he has been struggling with his putter in recent times and could be vulnerable should the 26 year-old Portrush man strike his best form after a succession of disappointing performances towards the end of 2005 and so far again this season. Bjorn, whose health continues to be a serious concern, is replaced by Stephen Ames, originally from Trinidad but playing these days under the Canadian flag and he now has the chance to lower Tiger’s colours.

Maruyama has won three times on the US circuit and could provide a difficult match for Clarke, the winner in 2000 and third last year. The "smiling assassin", as he is sometimes know in the States, Maruyama had a single top-30 finish this year but the Ulsterman is short of a competitive edge so this one is really wide open. McGinley, though, should be quietly confident of disposing of Katayama, the man notable for wearing a cowboy hat, but whose experience of the head-to-head stuff is comparatively small in comparison with McGinley’s.

Harrington arrived in California on the back of solid rounds of 69, 69 and 67 for a share of 13th in Malaysia at the weekend. It was his first outing in nine weeks and so it remains to see whether he has enough golf under his belt to cope with such an array of talent over the coming days.

 

Irish aces can let golf do the talking

Clarke and McGinley

By Charlie Mulqueen
VERBAL exchanges will be at a minimum when Ireland’s Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley come up against Japanese opposition in today’s first round of $7.5million Accenture World Championship at Carlsbad near San Diego.

Clarke takes on Shigeki Maruyama and McGinley is up against Shingo Katayama.

Padraig Harrington meets Australian Rod Pampling and if these are among the low key first round matches, such is far from the case with the fourth Irishman, Graeme McDowell, who takes on world number two Vijay Singh.

McDowell had been looking forward to a clash with top dog Tiger Woods until the late withdrawal of Thomas Bjorn caused a significant change in the draw. And it also meant a number of gremlins crept into my copy in yesterday’s edition.

McDowell, of course, is disappointed at missing out on a chance of playing Woods, who like just about everybody else is beatable over 18 holes of matchplay. Singh will be regarded as a case of "going from the frying pan into the fire" but he has been struggling with his putter in recent times and could be vulnerable should the 26 year-old Portrush man strike his best form after a succession of disappointing performances towards the end of 2005 and so far again this season. Bjorn, whose health continues to be a serious concern, is replaced by Stephen Ames, originally from Trinidad but playing these days under the Canadian flag and he now has the chance to lower Tiger’s colours.

Maruyama has won three times on the US circuit and could provide a difficult match for Clarke, the winner in 2000 and third last year. The "smiling assassin", as he is sometimes know in the States, Maruyama had a single top-30 finish this year but the Ulsterman is short of a competitive edge so this one is really wide open. McGinley, though, should be quietly confident of disposing of Katayama, the man notable for wearing a cowboy hat, but whose experience of the head-to-head stuff is comparatively small in comparison with McGinley’s.

Harrington arrived in California on the back of solid rounds of 69, 69 and 67 for a share of 13th in Malaysia at the weekend. It was his first outing in nine weeks and so it remains to see whether he has enough golf under his belt to cope with such an array of talent over the coming days.