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Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy prove there is no such thing as a distracted golfer

This is an important part of the year for Donald, a former world No 1 who has undergone a radical swing change and is clearly on the brink of what will be a huge comeback win. There are also vital Ryder Cup points to be earned. So after a few days at home with his family he will play in this week’s Memorial in Ohio.

Some might find that admirable, some might raise their eyebrows; in truth, it is nobody’s business but the Donalds’.

The same applies to McIlroy. Unbelievably there were calls – on the internet, naturally – for him to withdraw from Wentworth after his revelations that he had broken up with his fiancee Caroline Wozniacki when realising he was making a mistake as they sent out the invites for the planned November wedding.

Poppycock. His life, his decision. End of.

And as we reflect back on the bizarre happenings in Surrey last weekend we should perhaps take the examples of McIlroy and, now, Donald and vow never to write off a golfer again because of the “distractions” which may or may not be invading his psyche.

I am probably more than guilty than anyone in playing amateur psycho-analyst. In such situations it is irresistible. But no more. Maybe we should update that well-known golfing saying to “Beware the distracted golfer”.

A love lost or a love gained… neither has to mean anything when you are standing over a little white ball.

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Charley Hull is 33rd in the world rankings, is so obviously the next big thing is women’s golf, yet will not be playing in next month’s US Women’s Open.

Why? Because only the top 25 qualify automatically, which is quite frankly bizarre and self-detrimental. The men’s US Open invites the world’s top 60 in the belief that as it is a major championship it makes sense to have the world’s best players in the field.

Hull did have the chance to go through US Women’s Open qualifying but because she was darting across the globe to play in last week’s Airbus LPGA Classic in Alabam she could not make it.

If the 18-year-old had won the LPGA Tour she would have qualified and came tantalisingly close in adding an American title to the European one she lifted in Morrocco in April when finishing two shots third to Jessica Korda.

Women’s golf has a habit of shooting itself in the Footjoys. With this year’s US Women’s Open taking place the week after the men’s US Open on the same Pinehurst No 2 layout there will be more interest than usual. Alas, Hull, already one of the female game’s biggest names, will be playing at the Allianz Ladies Slovak Open.

That is great for Slovakia, great news for the Ladies European Tour, but makes absolutely no sense for the women’s game at large, particularly when Hull is so high in the rankings.

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With all the commotion at the very top of the BMW PGA Championship leadership, few would have noticed Simon Dyson shooting a 67 to finish in a tie for fifth.

It was a welcome result for the amiable Yorkshireman as he tries to rebuild his career after the ignominy of being hit with a two-month suspension for what was ruled to be a “deliberate” rules violation at last October’s BMW Masters.

We should hope this boost helps Dyson now move forward. At the very least he has more than repaired the damage his finances suffered in the controversy.

When he walked out of the disciplinary hearing at Wentworth in December he did so with a bill for £37,500, which comprised a £30,000 fine and £7,500 in costs. On Sunday he walked away from Wentworth with a cheque for £148,000.

That is a profit of more than £110,000. Good on him.

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Today’s number
1

I’m a lover of the world rankings system and its ever-changing probabilities and possibilities – but it is nice to have a week off from the numbers once in a while. Well, this week, for the first time in two months, we can be sure who will be No 1 next week – and indeed the week after that. Adam Scott’s victory at Colonial on Sunday ensures that he cannot be overtaken until after the US Open. Stand down those calculators.

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Golf’s great signs

The LPGA Tour can be applauded for their creativity in securing peace for the competitors. Well, being respectful with those “Quiet Please” signs never works, does it?


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