McIlroy no fan of bad weather at British

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All three players were alternates, needing other players to withdraw before they could get in. In Bjorn’s case that didn’t happen until Monday night, when Vijay Singh withdrew.

Bjorn got in only one practice round, but promptly went out to shoot 65 and share the first round lead. He finished the tournament in fourth place, four shots back, and cashed a check for $419,416.

Kim was in contention in the final round, too, finishing tied for fifth for a $293,054 payday. And Dyson finished tied for ninth, pocketing $168,304.

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LONG TIME COMING: Darren Clark went 54 starts in the majors _ and 20 in the British Open _ before finally winning one.

That wasn’t the longest stretch of futility, though.

Tom Kite holds the record by playing in 72 majors before winning his first one in 1992 at the U.S. Open. Mark O’Meara played in 59 majors until winning the Masters in 1998 at age 41. O’Meara then won the British Open that summer, and he remains the oldest player to win two majors in one year.

Maybe that will be Clarke’s next target.

“Can I say that’s it? I’m going to retire now? I can’t,” Clarke said. “I don’t just want to rest on this. I want to keep on going, keep on working on what I’m working on because my golf was obviously very good this week, albeit it was links and links does suit me. But I still feel as if I can compete with the best players in the world, and that’s what I want to do.”

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MAJOR EXEMPTIONS: Thomas Bjorn didn’t get his full redemption at Royal St. George’s. But at least he got in as an alternate. And he played well enough to finish in fourth place. That not only is enough to make him exempt for the British Open next year, the top four get into the Masters.

It will be his first time to the Masters in five years.

The top 15 return to the British Open next year at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

That will be good news for Chad Campbell and Davis Love III, who had to go through a qualifier near Dallas that was reduced to 18 holes this year because of weather. It also helps Simon Dyson, who was an alternate, and George Coetzee, who played in his first British Open after winning the last spot in the England-based qualifier.

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