8am Round-Up: Danny Willett employs '˜emergency' caddie at Players

Danny Willett's normal caddie won't be on the Englishman's bag at this week's Players Championship at Sawgrass following a fall-out.

Danny Willett and Jon Smart joined forces to win the team event in last year's Dunhill Links at St Andrews. Picture: Getty Images

Last year’s Masters champion has made “emergency cover” for childhood friend Jon Smart as it remains to be seen if their partnership is still in tact.

It follows a row during last month’s RBC Heritage event that left a member of Willett’s management company carrying his big after Smart left for home before the second round.

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Willett and Smart played in same Yorkshire team and have worked together for around four years.

They recorded four wins together, the highlight, of course, being when Willett became the first Englishman to win at Augusta National for 20 years.

The relationship that had existed between the pair was evident when Willett and Smart teamed up in the Dunhill Links Championship last October and won the team title.

In Smart’s absence, Willett will have Sam Haywood, his best man back in 2013, caddying for him in this week’s so-called fifth major at Sawgrass.

Haywood had been working for American David Lipsky until recently.

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Russell Knox will have the PGA Tour’s latest winner for company in the opening two rounds of the Players Championship.

Brian Harman, who holed a big putt at the last to claim victory in the Wells Fargo Championship on Sunday, is in the Scot’s group at Sawgrass.

Joining the duo in a trio that heads out at 7.43am local time is Jhonattan Vegas.

Martin Laird, the other Scot in the star-studded line-up, is out at 12.35pm with American pair Chez Reavie and Shawn Stefani.

Defending champion Jason Day plays with past winners Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson, while world No 1 Dustin Johnson tees it up with Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas.

Another player who won’t have his normal caddie on duty this week is Masters champion Sergio Garcia.

Due to Glen Murray’s wife having recently given birth to the couple’s second child, Garcia will have fellow Spaniard and two-time European Tour winner Jose Manuel Lara on his bag.

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Golf club members from throughout Great Britain and Ireland will have the opportunity to tee it up at Royal Birkdale shortly before the world’s best golfers compete at The 146th Open in July.

A group of 42 men and women will secure their places in the final of the inaugural R&A Nine Hole Championship through a qualifying process organised by the national governing bodies in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The final of the Nine Hole Championship will be held on 15 July when qualifiers will play the challenging back nine at the Southport links just before official practice begins for the top players in the game.

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Retired Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo’s failed in his bid to qualify for this year’s US Open golf championship.

Playing in a local qualifier at at Split Rail Links & Golf Club in Texas, Romo missed out on progressing to the sectional stage after carding a three-over-par 75.

He was among 115 hopefuls trying to secure seven spots that were up for grabs.

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Caldwell’s Chris Currie and Graham Fox (Clydeway Golf) were Tartan Tour winners at Portpatrick and Turnberry respectively.

Currie shot a course-record eight-under-par 62 to claim his victory at Portpatrick while Fox triumphed at Trump Turnberry wuth a one-over-par 72.