Woods draw destroys Westwood's quiet dream

How things have changed at the Royal and Ancient. Being in charge of the Open Championship is an important job but in recent times blazers have been exchanged for windcheaters, under the appropriate climatic conditions as approved by the championship committee, and now they seem to have developed a sense of humour.

The last thing Lee Westwood said on leaving Loch Lomond for Ayrshire and Open week was that he was planning to keep things "low key". His noble intentions were made harder when he was drawn with Tiger Woods for the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday.

Woods may have been made only joint favourite with Ernie Els at 8-1 with some bookmakers, but the world No 1 remains the centre of attention. Nor is the third member of the group exactly unknown. Greg Norman is a two-time champion who lost in a play-off at Troon in 1989 to Mark Calcavecchia.

"We've had Henmania and that's enough," Westwood said in hoping to stay out of the limelight, despite admitting his game is at its best entering a major than at any time in the last four years. "I want to stay out of the way and stay fresh. I'm going to be reclusive."

There was a definite up side in the draw for the 31-year-old from Worksop in that he will be playing in the afternoon on Thursday and the morning on Friday. The racehorse he owns is running at Hamilton on Friday evening and he should be able to make it.

Tiger would have lost his No 1 place in the world rankings had Els won the US Open. The South African has another chance to go the top of the list by winning a second Open title in three years. If he should do so, Woods will have to finish 17th or better not to be overtaken.

Els has been drawn with Justin Leonard, the champion here in 1997, and Luke Donald, the Chicago-based Englishman who played with Tiger last year. Paul Casey, another of the young British talents, could be killed with kindness when he plays with Shigeki Maruyama and the Masters champion Phil Mickelson, both of whom like to flash the white teeth.

Frank Lickliter is expecting plenty of smiles in his threesome which also includes Colin Montgomerie and Thomas Bjorn but it could be a group of sudden mood swings. Lickliter is a hunting and fishing American who has been described as a "hot head", so he should be in good company.

Montgomerie and Bjorn had a "handbags" moment in the steamy heat of Bangkok earlier in the year when Bjorn had to back off a chip because the Scot was still stomping across a bridge to the green. At the end of the round the tournament director, at which point they were not speaking, had to get them to shake hands and make up.

Before the draw could be finalised there was a confused end to the qualifying system at the John Deere Classic in America. As at Loch Lomond, the highest-placed player not already exempt earned a place. But the Australian Mark Hensby told his opponent in the play-off, Bristol's John Morgan, that he would reject the invitation if he won and that Morgan could have it.

Hensby duly won at the second extra hole and the 26-year-old Morgan, in his second season on the US Tour, thought he was coming to Troon despite not having claimed his maiden title. Embarrassed US Tour officials had to inform Morgan later in the evening that the exemption could not be transferred. "It would have been lovely," Morgan said. "It's just one of those things. You've got to follow the rules. They apologised to me. It's a shame."

With practice rounds getting underway in earnest, Leonard was among those to praise the set-up of the course. "I think the R&A do an incredible job at setting the course up fairly and maintaining the course the way it is meant to be played," said Leonard, who watched the mayhem on the final day of the US Open on television after missing the cut. "They don't worry about the winning score. The weather dictates that."

Leonard, however, had no explanation for the run of five successive American winners at Troon. Calcavecchia said: "You don't have to play the course 20 times to understand it like some of the others. That's the only thing I can think of."

Calcavecchia made a passable attempt at a British accent when he said it would be, "shocking, as you would say, a shocker," if he was to win this week. "After '89 I thought there would be at least one more major by now. You can always have worked harder, but I'd rather have a root canal than go to the gym. But I've no regrets. I had a great time."

Leonard, now a husband and father, is generally strait-laced but almost confirmed the story of his celebrations seven years ago. "According to the rumour I heard, I was out on the 17th green in the dark, there was pizza and a few pints and three or four guys but that's just what I've read."

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Sport
sport
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed