The Open: Final round live notebook
Update 27 – Our Champion Golfer of the Year Rory McIlroy can’t stop looking at the Claret Jug in his post-round interview.
“It feels absolutely incredible. It’s sort of cool that they put your name on there even before you get it. So that was a nice little touch.
“Just to be sitting here and looking at this thing and having my name on it, it’s a great feeling.”
Update 26 – Brilliant stuff from Sergio and Rickie in their post-round interviews. Both incredibly gracious in defeat.
Sergio: “At least I’m proud of the way I played. I wanted to at least make him feel a little bit and see how he would respond. And he obviously responded well. Because I got within two, but every time I got closer, he kept making one birdie and not letting me get any closer than that.”
Rickie: “Congratulations to Rory. He played awesome. And it was just kind of fun to throw a few shots at him coming in. To see him win was pretty cool.” JS
Update 25 – Followed Rory up until the 17th green but that was as far as my media access could get me. Fought through the crowds and unbelievably managed to get into the grandstand to see the winning putt. Electric atmosphere as he tapped in. Hats off to Sergio and Rickie for not allowing it to be a cake walk. That’s easily the best major of 2014 so far. Fantastic stuff. JS
Update 24 – Drink it in Rory, you are the 143rd Open champion. A gutsy performance from the Northern Irishman today and he really has had a magical week. Even the media centre broke out in applause to acknowledge a fine champion. Rory is, without question, a modern-day great. Superb. JT
Update 23 – I stand corrected. You smack it into the bunker because you think you have a chance of holing it from there. It’s so good from Rory even he breaks out into a smile. Very well played. JT
Update 22 – I know he has a two-shot lead but why would you take that on Rory? Hits it into the bunker on the 18th green. Down in no more than give to become the Open champion. I think we can call it now. JT
Update 21 – Wonderful tee shot from Rory at 18 to find the middle of the fairway with his two-iron. Just a par needed here. One more good shot and he will be the 2014 Open champion.
Update 20 – Oh yes Rory, that really is very very good. A wonderful chip over the bunker at 17 allows him to get up-and-down. Now, whatever you do don’t hit the tee shot out of bounds down the right on the last… JT
Update 19 – Rory makes a crucial, crucial birdie at 16. That really is going to be so very important because it means the lead is now three and therefore one eagle at 18 isn’t going to be enough for Sergio, so long as Rory doesn’t do anything stupid. He’s done this the hard way but you have to say that he deserves to finish the job. JT
Update 18 – Nobody seems to make that decisive move to catch Rory here. We said at the start of the day that we thought if McIlroy could shoot one-under-par, it would be enough to secure his first Claret Jug. Now three-up with just three holes to play. JT
Update 17 – Phil Mickelson’s defence comes to an end in typically classy fashion with a 68. He’ll be back.
“I think that shows that my game is not far off. To win this tournament you need to not only play great golf, but you need to have a few breaks and you need to have luck and you need to have some a good deal with some other factor that you can’t control.” JS
Update 16 – Sergio gets a very lucky break on 12 as his approach crashes into the grandstand but bounces to the fringe of the green and he makes par. With Rory struggling on 13, this could be some finish. If the Spaniard somehow gets hiss hands on the Claret Jug we could be talking about that for years to come. JS
Update 15 – I’ve just been inside the ropes with Rory and I can say that honestly, it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Looks of pure steel in his eyes at the first drifted to concern and worry as we came through 4, 5 and 6, before getting it back together around the turn. The crowds are actually quite raucous out there and there was an awful moment at the 6th when Rickie Fowler had to pull away from his put as a guy yelled “SERGIO” as he addressed the ball. Nobody wants to see that. JT
Update 14 – I’ve wandered back to the media centre as Rory reaches the turn following a much needed birdie on 9. The wind was definitely picking up and it only took an 8-iron to carry the ball over the flag on the 198-yard hole. Walking back it was quite sad to see the holes which are now finished for the week. It’s the sort of occasion you don’t want to end, although I have run out of clothes. JS
Update 13 – There is quite a lot of love for Robert Karlsson out on the course who finds eagle at 5 and 10 to gain a share of third on -11. The big Swede has his own fan club out there. JS
Update 12 – Right it’s showtime. JT has just headed off to the first tee to watch Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler get underway. Fowler will be hoping to make an early in-road into that six shot lead. Remember, Rory was six ahead of the American at the start of yesterday and they were level as Rory reached the 14th. JS
Update 11 – The crowds so far at Hoylake have been up on Royal Lytham in 2012 but down on 2006. All in all, I think we’ve had a fantastic tournament here at Royal Liverpool and the decision to have a two-tee start on Saturday proved to be a masterstroke. JS
Hoylake 2006: Practice days to Saturday: 184,819
Lytham 2012: Practice days to Saturday: 138,703
Hoylake 2014: Practice days to Saturday: 160,768
Update 10 – Here is our Open Champion in waiting rolling a few putts about an hour before getting his final round underway. Looks relaxed as ever and keen to get going I would imagine. JS
Update 9 – Ran into this guy outside the clubhouse who knows all about getting the job done on the final round of an Open Championship. JS
Update 8 – Huge crowds out on the course where many have followed Tiger Woods this morning. The 2006 champion wasn’t exactly thrilling the galleries with his golf as he carded a 75 to finish on +6. It doesn’t matter how he is playing, people still can’t get enough of him. It’s very hot out there – perfect for scoring, and ideal for getting sunburn. JS
Update 7 – Wonderful atmosphere in the tented village as people get stuck into some lunch and the odd pint or two… JT
Update 6 – There is still time to get a Beatles related Open Championship pun in before the tournament finishes. We’ve had some great ones so far and the best of the lot will win a prize. Get your thinking caps on people. JT
Update 5 – I’ve just spent the last hour or so in the company of the Golf Foundation at their Golf Roots stand here at Hoylake. The people there work tirelessly to help introduce more youngsters into the game and it was wonderful to see kids from 3+ trying their hand at various games. They have a section for Tri-Golf, which is for primary school children and is played with oversized clubs and soft balls, and one for Street Golf, where older children are challenged to hit balls into upturned bins and umbrellas. The kids were having a great time and I even managed to get in on the action and have a go myself. Just to quantify slightly, there was a 6-year-old on my team who had a better chipping action… JT
Update 4 – Right with three hours until the leaders go off, I’m heading to the 1st to watch Phil Mickelson and Angel Cabrera tee off. Neither are going to win but think it could great fun to watch. JS
Update 3 – Today could also be a very good day for Rory’s dad, Gerry. Back when his son was 15, McIlroy Snr and three of his friends put £400 on him to win the Open by the time he was 26. The odds? 500-1. So a nice tidy return of £200,000 should Rory finish the job here at Hoylake.
Update 2 – There are no shortage of people out here at Hoylake today either, and you sense they can’t really lose. If Rory wins then they will watch one of the great players of the modern generation secure his first Claret Jug, and if he loses it will surely rival Medinah as one of the biggest upsets in golf history. JT
Update 1 – Good morning from a very pleasant and sunny Royal Liverpool. The rain that we saw yesterday has cleared and it is dry and bright here with nothing more than a light breeze drifting in off the Irish Sea. You’d say that these conditions were pretty much ideal for golf, and what a day we have in store. Such drama last night with Rory McIlroy opening a six shot lead with two eagles in the final three holes. Surely he can’t lose from here? JT
FOR MORE NCG OPEN COVERAGE CLICK HERE