But until yesterday the golfing world did not know how gigantic - and how sickening - this was. "I became aware of my racial identity on my first day of school, on my first day of kindergarten," revealed Woods. A look down the entry list of the US Open merely underlines the huge obstacle Tiger Woods has conquered in his 29 years: he was the first and remains the only African American on tour. "But then it's Tuesday and I'm the sort of person that always looks to my weaknesses before I start a tournament and try and get them up to strength."On a practice day I'm focused on the weakest part of my game and that's why I would look and say 'Well, I'm not quite ready yet.' There's always the same feeling every tournament, certainly every major, that I'd like another week. The 22 world-class cricketers who gathered yesterday to help raise funds for the millions of people whose lives have been devastated by the Boxing Day tsunami, would rather not have been at the home of cricket. Yesterday, the Dubliner who is playing at his eighth US Open, was as pessimistic as ever when describing the state of his game."Pretty shabby," the 33-year-old said. The full-back was involved in a collision which resulted in the death of a pensioner.
He was also sent off against Southampton at St Mary's for two wild tackles. Finnan must appear at a police station on 29 June.In Croatia, Davor Suker was questioned for more than three hours by police after his business partner was murdered at the weekend. "It's St Andrews and it's The Open for Pete's sake," said one high-profile European. "Tell me, what's four weeks to wait?"Obviously, four weeks too long, not to mention a few hundred grand too short, for Moore, who made such an impression at Augusta in April when he tied for 13th.If that was an indication of the huge talent of this young man then there was just as telling a one concerning his confidence when on the eve of the first major he asserted, "I can win this damn thing".Just what Padraig Harrington would do for such a mindset at the start of major week. But there is nothing in the world I would rather do than play at St Andrews." Except, it seems, win pots load of money.An on-the-record reaction to Moore's withdrawal was hard to find, chiefly because of the reluctance to open up the old scars of the Americans not valuing the "British" Open as highly as their own majors, as well as all the recent bad publicity generated by Paul Casey and his "narrow-minded Yanks" remarks.One veteran American professional, who himself has shown an unashamed reticence to traverse the Atlantic in the past, said: "It's a long way to go and a lot of money to spend when you could be kickstarting your pro career with a big cheque."Although this response was in marked contrast to the overwhelming feeling of total bemusement. "My priority is winning my PGA Tour card and after getting a few invites for the next few weeks it was a really tough decision to make. But there'll be other Opens and it's just that this year it would have been a luxury for me.
A contact at the R&A yesterday revealed they were as stunned as everyone else and a quick scour through the record books for at least the last few decades showed that the only other US Amateur champion not to take up this golden option was one Tiger Woods in 1997 - and he had already played in the Open twice, and was to make the Troon field anyway after turning professional in 1996."That's too bad," said Moore, when told that some British golf fans might find it odd, as well as disrespectful, that he is bypassing "the home of golf". The Croatian striker, who played for Arsenal and West Ham, was interviewed after the shooting of Dino Pokrovac The pair had worked together as agents.. As golf snubs go, turning down the chance to play in the Open Championship, at St Andrews, as an amateur, for Jack Nicklaus's grand farewell, is in the realms of Marlon Brando turning down that Oscar Except the great contender snubbed out of principle. Ryan Moore yesterday confessed he is doing so because of money. He started to show his promise towards the end of the season, scoring twice in the FA Cup semi-final win against Blackburn Rovers.Liverpool's Steve Finnan has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. I wouldn't be surprised if Mr Van Persie is released quickly."Van Persie was bought for £2.75m for the start of last season.