Someone, somewhere once uttered the line "when it's all said and done, that's when the talking has to stop".

They obviously never attended an Open Championship. It's just words, words and more words as mouths keep swinging open and shut like a cat flap in a stiff breeze. The media masses are like suckling piglets around a complying sow. Some of them occasionally communicate with grunts and oinks, too. Over the course of the chase for the Claret Jug at Royal Liverpool, we've just about sooked every conceivable muttering and musing out of the game's oldest major. Now it's time to ring the dregs out of it.


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Ever since golf was liberated from the tyranny of Tiger, we've all been awaiting the monocracy of McIlroy.

Rory, himself, wants to rule with a 3-iron fist. The Northern Irishman certainly has the ability to be a truly dominant player. The slump of 2013 is a thing of the past. He has come over all Zen-like and has talked of inner peace. He is young, free, single and driven, and he's redicovered that passion for a game that has made him the superstar seemingly everybody knew he would be.

"When Rory was a baby, you could see the brilliance in his eyes and just how much he loved golf," said close family friend, Eamon Carty, in the jubilant aftermath of McIlroy's maiden Open victory. "He was born to be the greatest. I put him with George Best."

In his pomp, Tiger Woods had that grinding ability to be good even when he was playing poorly. McIlroy has always struggled on that front. Even Woods knows that. "When it gets going bad, it gets going real bad," he said.

McIlroy is getting there, though. When he finds his mojo, no other player can touch him. Throw in the mental resolve he showed over four days at Hoylake and it is a combination that can reach rarefied heights. Only time will tell how high he soars.


There he was again, skipping about at a major championship. Sergio Garcia now has six top-three finishes in the big four golfing events and 19 top 10s. He's not won one yet, of course, but this matador may not be major-less for too long.

His last day charge was inspiring, yet infuriating at the same time. His careless guddle in the bunker on 15, which cost him a shot, and a rather lame birdie putt on the penultimate hole, which was a late chance to put more pressure on McIlroy, was particularly frustrating.

For a man who mumbled two years ago that he would never win a major, Garcia looks positively galvanised. Yes, he was seven shots back going into the final day and, thus, unburdened by the weight of expectation. But he seems more contented these days and more accepting of the rough and the smooth. There is pragmatism where perhaps petulance may have ruled. "I think we gave it a good effort, but there was someone who was a little better," said the Spaniard. His time may yet come.


There were journalists covering the Open that are older than many so-called historical edifices in America.

Our friends across the Atlantic sure love our traditions so it was inevitable that there were considerable Yankee hollers of despair when the Royal & Ancient, concerned by apocalyptic weather forecasts, opted for a two-tee start to Saturday's third round for the first time in Open history.

There were shrieks that golf's oldest major has lost its majesty and had become just another rank-and-file tour event. What a load of cobblers. The decision by the top brass was bold and eminently sensible. When the monumental downpour finally arrived barely 20 minutes after the last group had waddled off the course, the decision was vindicated.

The R&A being showered with praise? It will never catch on surely. The two-tee start was a break with tradition. Now we wait to see if the ultimate tradition buster - September's vote on whether or not to allow women members into the R&A - will make 2014 a year of golfing change.


Hunched over a laptop and thrashing away at the keys like a demented imbecile on a Wurlitzer, it's easy to lose sight of things going on in the wider world of golf when you're consumed by the Open frenzy.

Everywhere you turned on Sunday, there were folk chattering on about a six-shot lead. McIlroy's yawning Open advantage may have grabbed all the attention but Kylie Walker's six-shot lead going into the final round of the Deloitte Ladies Open in Germany was worthy of high praise.

It was record-breaking stuff from the Scot; her 24-under three-round tally was the all-time lowest on the women's tour. The fact she was hunted down by rising star Charley Hull before fending off the English teenager in a play-off to win her second title in two months spoke volumes for her composure and mental fortitude.

Barely a fortnight ago, Walker had started her Women's British Open campaign with a nine on the first hole en route to a chastening 82. To rebound in such emphatic, title-winning fashion is the hallmark of a fine champion.