Faldo will return for the Open

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Nick Faldo has officially entered what will be his 33rd Open and 96th major championship at Turnberry in July. The three-times champion missed last year's event for the first time since he failed to qualify as an amateur in 1975, but that was because he was Ryder Cup captain and wanted to study potential candidates.

The 51-year-old turned down a Masters return last month because of television work, but will be competing at Turnberry for the fourth time. He was 62nd in 1977 – the "Duel in the Sun", in which Tom Watson beat Jack Nicklaus – fifth in 1986 and eighth in 1994.

Faldo closed with a 64 then, but had left himself too much to do after an opening 75 that included two penalty strokes for hitting the ball of playing partner Jim McGovern rather than his own in the rough on the long 17th. Watson, now 59, and the 1986 winner Greg Norman, a memorable third at Birkdale a year ago at the age of 53, have also entered, but the 1996 champion Nick Price is not expected to play.

Shane Lowry was last night considering whether to turn professional after his stunning success in the Irish Open on Sunday. The 22-year-old from Co Offaly became the first amateur to win on his European Tour debut and the two-year exemption he will now enjoy on the circuit was just one of the temptations beckoning Lowry into the paid ranks.

Agents were on the phone as soon as the sun rose, trying to sign up the golfer now ranked 168th in the world. However, any lethargy on Lowry's part would have been quite understandable, given the night of celebration he had just experienced.

On arriving back in his hometown of Clara following his play-off win over England's Robert Rock, Lowry was led through the streets by a marching band to a stage from which he addressed the sizeable gathering.