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Big guns take significant step

Sam Torrance
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YOU can usually tell when a Major is round the corner when the big guns come to the fore. Is it a coincidence, for example, that Tiger Woods and two of Europe&rsquo;s best in Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter begin to show just days before the start of the Open Championship?<br /><br />Westwood may have been pipped by the talented Martin Kaymer for the French Open, but, psychologically, it was job a well done for the Worksop lad, who will feel confident of continuing his fine form going into Turnberry next week.<br /><br />Lee has played beautifully for some time now. Indeed, I was staggered to learn he hasn&rsquo;t won a tournament since September 2007.<br /><br />Any other time, the French Open would have been his, but the young lad Kaymer showed nerves of steel to putt out for par to force the play-off, then capitalise on Westwood&rsquo;s mistake to take the winner&rsquo;s cheque. Not for the first time, he showed he has all the attributes to become a fine player.<br /><br /><strong>ETIQUETTE</strong><br />Poulter also enjoyed an encouraging tournament with a third place finish when, but for a heated row with a photographer, it could have been higher. Ian is dead right here. Any photographer who takes pictures during a golfer&rsquo;s swing should be escorted off the course there and then.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s not a matter of etiquette, it&rsquo;s a professional issue, although Ian&rsquo;s vow never to play the French Open againstrikes me as a little petty.<br /><br />Across the water, you could have put your bottom dollar on Tiger winning an event in the build-up to the Open and the world No1 didn&rsquo;t disappoint with a one-shot victory in the AT&amp;T National at Maryland.<br /><br />Hunter Mahan&rsquo;s brilliant 62 pushed him all the way but Tiger is simply the greatest in every department in the game and his performance sends an ominous warning to his rivals ahead of the big one in nine days&rsquo; time.