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  Monday, 23 July, 2001, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
Yanks for the memories
David Duval salutes the Open crowd
Duval keeps the US flag flying
By BBC Sport Online's Andrew Warshaw

Every year, America's finest golfers enter the Open Championship not knowing quite what to expect.

And every year they return home with the famed claret jug.

Afraid of links golf? Can't play in a swirling wind? One paced and not creative enough? Don't you believe it.

David Duval's ultimately comfortable victory at Lytham made it six wins out of seven for American players at The Open.

Suddenly, the one grand slam event that was supposed to give Europe a head start has become the exclusive property of Duval and his compatriots.

It wasn't always so.

In the 12 years immediately after Tom Watson won the Open for the last time, only once did the title go to the United States when Mark Calcavecchia triumphed at Troon.

Even when John Daly added his name to the trophy in 1995, few could have expected what was to follow.

American invasion

What did follow was an American invasion. First Tom Lehman, then Prince Andrew lookalike Justin Leonard, followed by Mark O'Meara.

Scotsman Paul Lawrie's victory two years ago hardly bucked the new trend.

Back came the Americans with Tiger Woods and now, of course, Duval.

Never again will anyone be fooled into believing that wide fairways and target golf is the only style suited to the Americans.

If the mind is willing, anything is possible as Woods last year and Duval on Sunday showed with such commendable ruthlessness.

That, perhaps is the key to America's recent dominance.

Take a look at the final leaderboard and it is full of Europeans. Quality players who were perfectly placed at the end of day three.

Colin Montgomerie
Europe's favourites like Montgomerie again fell away
Yet players, like Colin Montgomerie and Darren Clarke, who made small but crucial mistakes and couldn't hold it together when it mattered most.

Unlike Duval who surged clinically through the pack to win a long overdue first major.

Not bad for someone apparently uncomfortable being beside the seaside.

What he lacks in charisma, Duval made up for in sheer determination and concentration. Qualities the European players once again sorely lacked.

Yet perhaps Duval, like everyone else on the American tour, has Woods to thank for his success.

When you go into every tournament knowing that the only way you can win is to play out of your skin and beat the best player in the world, that is some benchmark.

While Europe's players set out to beat one another, the Americans try to beat Woods.

The next big test of resolve comes at the end of September in the shape of the Ryder Cup at The Belfry.

Duval's victory will have lifted morale to new heights when the American team defend the trophy so controversially won two years ago.

The two sets of rankings, as they stand at present, must be hugely worrying to Sam Torrance.

Big guns

Between now and the end of August, how Europe's captain needs some of his top guns to fire their way into automatic contention. Men like Ian Woosnam, Bernhard Langer and Sergio Garcia.

Without more experience and natural shot-making in his line-up, Torrance will have his work cut out wresting back the trophy, whichever two captain's picks he goes for.

Or will he? After all, the Ryder Cup is matchplay. Another form of golf that Americans supposedly loathe playing.

If you believe that, you believe anything.

The 130th Open, at Royal Lytham

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