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  Monday, 23 July, 2001, 07:53 GMT 08:53 UK
Woosnam sticks by caddie
Woosnam hurls his extra club away in disgust
Ian Woosnam says he will not sack caddie Miles Byrne following the blunder that cost the Welshman a chance of winning The Open.

The Welshman realised on the second tee that he was carrying 15 clubs and not the permitted 14.

The error led to a two-stroke penalty - and saw him lose 218,334 in winnings and perhaps miss out on another Ryder Cup cap.

Caddie Miles Byrne bore the brunt of Woosnam's fury as he tried to come to terms with a golfing reverse of huge proportions.


It's the biggest mistake he will ever make and he will have a severe rollicking.
Ian Woosnam
The 43-year-old finished three shots behind winner David Duval at Royal Lytham.

Woosnam only linked up with Byrne at the Benson and Hedges tournament in May - but he insists he will stand by the Irishman.

"It's the biggest mistake he will ever make and he will have a severe rollicking," Woosnam said.

"But he is a good lad and I am not going to sack him.

Ian Woosnam's caddy Miles Byrne
Caddy Miles Byrne reflects on his costly error
"He committed the ultimate sin and he will not do it again. I am surmising that he is feeling as sick as a parrot.

"I suppose I should have checked, but that's what you pay a caddy for. It's not my job to check the bag."

The biggest blow for Woosnam was missing out on a second Major title 10 years after his first - but the Ryder Cup element was almost as crucial.

He would have gone fifth in the European team's table even by finishing second - which is the position he would have held had he not lost the two shots.

Instead the former world number one is 12th in the table and in a battle for an automatic top-10 spot in the eight remaining events.

The extra driver was discovered on the second tee after the Welshman had just birdied the first to go back into the joint lead.

Suddenly two behind, Woosnam could never get back on terms and admitted: "It took me a few holes to recover and didn't really get it out of my head all the way round."

The mistake occurred after Woosnam tried out two drivers on the practice range - and rather than return one of them to the clubhouse, they both ended up in the bag he took onto the course.

'Kicked in the teeth'

Because the first hole at Lytham is a par three, the stray driver was not spotted straight away.

The mistake was spotted as he asked for a wood at the par-four second - and Byrne suddenly realised what had happened.

"You are going to go ballistic," he told Woosnam. "We have two drivers in the bag."

Woosnam's reaction was to take hold of the extra one - complete with head cover - and sling it away.

"I felt like I had been kicked in the teeth," he said. "It's hard enough being level with the world's best players, but to give them a two-shot start... I was not feeling very enthusiastic about it.


No excuses - the buck stops with me
Miles Byrne

"That's how it goes. There were two big head covers and he should have spotted it. I'll have to win next year now.

Byrne said: "No excuses - the buck stops with me. End of story.

"If I knew how it happened, it (the second driver) would not have been in there."

Hugh Campbell, chairman of the championship committee, had stated that Woosnam got to the first tee only 30 seconds before he was due to start.

"Usually you ask them to check the number of clubs just in case an extra one has been put in there by somebody else by mistake, but most times they look at you as if you are a congenital idiot for asking," said Campbell.


Leading places in the European Ryder Cup list:

Europe:
1 D Clarke (N Ire) 1,921,301;
2 T Bjorn (Den) 1,583,391;
3 P Harrington (Ire) 1,535,549;
4 P Fulke (Swe) 1,191,990;
5 L Westwood (Eng) 1,064,353;
6 N Fasth (Swe) 961,147;
7 C Montgomerie (Sco) 895,274;
8 P Price (Wal) 791,862;
9 P McGinley (Ire) 759,242;
10 A Coltart (Sco) 703,676;
11 M Gronberg (Swe) 696,488;
12 I Woosnam (Wal) 673,298;
13 A Oldcorn (Sco) 651,685;
14 B Langer (Ger) 642,785;
15 R Karlsson (Swe) 641,104;
16 MA Jimenez (Spa) 628,421;
17 JM Olazabal (Spa) 617,626;
18 S Garcia (Spa) 617,236;
19 T Levet (Fra) 576,235;
20 I Poulter (Eng) 571,316.
*Leading 10 qualify on 2 September, captain Sam Torrance then adds two wild cards.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Ian Woosnam
"It is his [the caddie's] job"
BBC golf correspondent Tony Adamson
"We'll never know if he could have won it"
Open official John Parrymore
"You don't expect it in the final round of The Open"
Ian Woosnam with BBC Sport's Dougie Donnelly
"It did rattle me, I'm very, very disappointed"
The 130th Open, at Royal Lytham

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