Added of­fen­sive punch

Canada pre­pares for Ja­maica at Gold Cup with Larin in the lineup

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY GAVIN DAY

Rich Beem was scout­ing Royal Birk­dale this week in his role for Sky Sports when some­one jok­ingly asked if he planned on work­ing for more than nine holes this week at the Bri­tish Open.

Beem chuck­led at a decade­old mem­ory, even if it was no laugh­ing mat­ter at the time.

The last time at Royal Birk­dale, he was in the Thurs­day morn­ing side of the draw. That tends to be ad­van­ta­geous on most cour­ses be­cause it takes time for the stronger wind to show up. Links golf op­er­ates on its own sched­ule, how­ever, and the open­ing round in 2008 be­gan in 30 mph wind and rain that fell side­ways.

Beem was given a one-shot penalty when his ball moved on the sec­ond green (giv­ing him an 8). He made the turn in 46 shots. And that was enough. Beem packed it in and with­drew, say­ing later he didn’t think he would break 90.

Hardly any­one no­ticed Beem leav­ing, be­cause the Bri­tish press was chas­ing af­ter Sandy Lyle, who quit af­ter 10 holes at 11-over par.

“It could take three weeks to re­cover from this,” Lyle said that day.

Even the best play­ers in the world with their game in great shape for the Bri­tish Open still have to rely on luck at golf’s oldest cham­pi­onship.

It some­times comes down to the luck of the draw.

“When you feel like you’re play­ing well and you get the wrong side of the draw and you feel like the best you can fin­ish is 10th, it’s a bit­ter pill to swal­low,” Rory McIl­roy said Wednes­day. “But you have to re­al­ize in a 25- or 30-year ca­reer, you’re go­ing to get some years that you’re on the good side of the draw.”

McIl­roy was on the good side at Hoy­lake three years ago and won the claret jug.

Louis Oosthuizen was on the right end of the draw in 2010 when he fin­ished up his sec­ond round at St. An­drews with a 67, right about the time McIl­roy was headed out into the high wind. McIl­roy, who opened with a 63, shot an 80.

Rain be­gan pound­ing Royal Birk­dale on Wednes­day af­ter­noon, clos­ing the course be­cause of the light­ning that ac­com­pa­nied the storm.

How long will it last? How bad will it be? When will it re­turn? These are ques­tions that play­ers won’t know un­til they’re in them.

And if they’re in the worst of the weather, that be­comes a greater chal­lenge than any of the pot bunkers dot­ting the fair­ways.

It doesn’t seem fair, not that golf was ever meant to be that.

And for all the com­plain­ing that ac­com­pa­nies be­ing on the wrong side of the draw, Padraig Har­ring­ton stands as the ex­am­ple to keep the head down and play on. He also played that Thurs­day morn­ing at Birk­dale in 2008, about 45 min­utes be­hind Lyle and an hour ahead of Beem.

His name was on the claret jug by the end of the week.

“Padraig won the thing from the bad side of the draw, so it can be done,” McIl­roy said. “You just have to stick in there and make the most of what­ever the weather presents you and go with that.”

One of the more fa­mous in­ci­dents was at Muir­field in 2002, when Tiger Woods was go­ing af­ter the third leg of the Grand Slam, two shots be­hind go­ing into the third round. The storms ar­rived about the time he teed off – 40 mph wind, rain and a se­vere drop in tem­per­a­tures – and Woods shot 81.

McIl­roy went through it again last year at Royal Troon. Hen­rik Sten­son and Phil Mick­el­son each fin­ished about the time the nasty weather ar­rived Fri­day, and in­stead of try­ing to catch up to the lead­ers, McIl­roy, Jor­dan Spi­eth, Ja­son Day and Justin Rose found them­selves ef­fec­tively out of the tour­na­ment.

“If it’s an af­ter­noon round and the other side has al­ready played the morn­ing, that’s when it’s tough,” Spi­eth said. “Be­cause you’re like: ‘I can’t shoot those scores. It’s not pos­si­ble.’ And that’s the frus­trat­ing thing when you think you can play your best and it doesn’t hap­pen.”

McIl­roy was asked if he had ever seen a player who gave up af­ter re­al­iz­ing he was on the wrong side of the draw. He thought back to 2011 at Royal St. Ge­orge’s, where McIl­roy went 74-73 on the week­end. He com­plained that week about the con­di­tions and said he would rather play when it’s 80, sunny and not windy.

“I was on the wrong side of it at St. Ge­orge’s and wasn’t very happy about it,” McIl­roy said. “Made some com­ments that I prob­a­bly shouldn’t have made. So, yeah, have I been around some­one that’s done that?”

He broke into a broad smile and pointed his thumb at his chest.

“Yeah, I have.”

Af­ter mak­ing head­lines for all the wrong rea­sons, Cana­dian soc­cer star Cyle Larin is hop­ing his re­turn to the Cana­dian na­tional soc­cer team will lead to some pos­i­tive news.

Larin trained for the first time with Canada on Mon­day af­ter be­ing added to the Cana­dian ros­ter in ad­vance of to­day’s Gold Cup quar­ter-fi­nal against Ja­maica at the Uni­ver­sity of Phoenix Sta­dium.

Canada could make up to six ros­ter changes af­ter fin­ish­ing sec­ond in Group A be­hind Costa Rica but only brought in Larin to the 23-man squad, send­ing Ra­heem Ed­wards back to Toronto FC.

“Ob­vi­ously, I want to play,” Larin said. “My goal is to play and it’s to score goals and help the team win. I just have to come in here and work hard to get that po­si­tion and to go on the field and score. I think the guys have done very well to­gether. I just think I can bring a dif­fer­ent piece and help the team by scor­ing goals.”

Larin played for Canada in a friendly against Cu­ra­cao last month but got into trou­ble upon his re­turn to Or­lando, where he plays for the city’s Ma­jor League Soc­cer club. Larin was ar­rested af­ter driv­ing the wrong way on an Or­lando street and was given a mis­de­meanour DUI al­co­hol or drugs charge af­ter he failed a so­bri­ety test.

Larin was left off the Cana­dian ros­ter for the group stage and also missed some time with Or­lando City SC to un­dergo MLS’ sub­stance abuse and be­havioural health pro­gram.

The le­gal mat­ters are still to be sorted out. But for now the fo­cus is the Gold Cup, and Larin adds to a team, which ad­vanced from a group in­clud­ing Costa Rica, Hon­duras and Gold Cup new­com­ers French Guiana.

“Ev­ery­thing that needed to be said has been said,” said head coach Oc­tavio Zam­brano. “I’ve had my con­ver­sa­tions with him when this thing hap­pened. I think all of that doesn’t fac­tor in any­more, for us. Life goes on and we need to show him that he is very much a part of this team and hope­fully he can help us.”

Canada takes on Ja­maica, which fin­ished in sec­ond place in Group B.

The Ja­maicans played pow­er­house Mex­ico to a score­less draw in group play. But Ja­maica is also a team that needed penal­ties to beat French Guiana and then lost to Cu­ra­cao in the Caribbean Cup a few months ago.

“You just have to stick in there and make the most of what­ever the weather presents you and go with that.” Rory McIl­roy

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.