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US PGA: Darren Clarke tips Tiger Woods to make major impact

By Mark Garrod

Tiger Woods may be battling injuries and trying to rebuild his golf swing and his private life following the breakup of his marriage but his good pal Darren Clarke believes the former world number one can contend for the year's final major.

Former World number one Woods may not be back to his best just yet, but Open champion Clarke knows the man who has claimed four PGA Championship titles should not be discounted.

The 14-times major winner is expected to be at the par-70 course at the Atlanta Athletic Club today when he is scheduled to hold a news conference on the eve of the championship.

He returned to the PGA Tour, after three months on the sidelines with leg injuries, at last week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational where he tied for 37th after displaying erratic form.

“I thought his game last week in the first two rounds was pretty good,” said Clarke, who played alongside his good friend Woods for the first two days.

“I thought he hit an awful lot of really, really good golf shots.

“To come back after a long lay-off, you can practise as much as you want, but until you get into competition and actually put yourself back into a competitive arena, it's totally different.

“He got last week under his belt... great to see him back competing again... and I'm sure this week, if Tiger plays the golf he can play, I have no doubt he can be in contention this week.”

Meanwhile, Steve Williams has now said he should not have been so outspoken about winning a month after being fired by Woods.

And the New Zealand caddie, so overjoyed at helping Adam Scott land the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, does not intend to make any more comments about Woods.

“Looking back on it, I was a bit over the top,” Williams admitted yesterday.

“I had a lot of anger in me about what happened and it all came out. I said what I said, but I'm not going to say any more about Tiger. I had a lot of emotions going on all week. You hear people say ‘How good are you now that you're not caddieing for Tiger?’, things like that and it makes you want to prove yourself.

“But, look, it's time to move on. The Tiger thing is over.”

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After a high-scoring opening day of the British Boys' Amateur championship in Somerset, Whitehead's John Ross Galbraith is still in the hunt for a place in tomorrow's first knockout stage.

The Ulster boys' champion won't have been happy with a three over opening 74 at Enmore Park yesterday and he faces the more challenging Benmore and Berrow links for his second and final qualifying round today.

Royal Portrush's Jamie Richardson shot a miserable 82 at Burnham and Irish international Conor Glynn slumped to an even more disappointing 88.

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