BOB Torrance today revealed how Paul McGinley turned himself from a total flop into an Open contender overnight - by sacking him as his coach.

Scots swing guru Torrance has been working with Irish star McGinley for six years and rates him among the best ball strikers in world golf.

However, the Ryder Cup hero has been struggling with his game this season and has slumped to 96th place on the European Tour Order of Merit.

And Largs man Bob, the father of Ryder Cup captain Sam, has told how Paul took drastic action at the Scottish Open last week as he prepared for a crack at the Claret Jug.

Torrance revealed: "Paul said: Bob, you're my coach and you'll always be my coach, but I just want to take a break, get my mind free and play.' "I told him: That's what you must do then.' He will come back and work with me in time, but, at the moment, he just wants to get his head clear.

"It seems to be working wonders for him! It was only a matter of time before he came good - he is one of the best players on the Tour."

Having McGinley, who led the Open at the halfway stage at Royal Lytham in 1996, near the top of the leader board has taken many golf fans aback.

Torrance is surprised it's taken the 40-year-old from Dublin this long to claim his place alongside the likes of Tiger Woods once again.

Bob said: "Paul has won big tournaments, including the Volvo Masters at Valderamma, but I'm amazed he hasn't won a Major. He is a superb player. All the guys I teach think he is the best striker of the ball. Even Padraig Harrington says he is the best.

"I haven't changed a single thing in Paul's swing since I have been teaching him. All I have done is try to perfect what he already does."

Despite having the courage to hole the winning putt for Europe in the Ryder Cup at The Belfry in 2002, Torrance feels the mental side of McGinley's game has hindered him.

The Dubliner started working with renowned American sports psychologist Bob Rotella this week and appears to be conquering his inner demons.

And his coach maintains that Paul can land the title - but only if he believes it in himself.

He explained: "Paul's thinking has held him back immensely. When you start thinking things will go against you, they will go against you.

"If you let a bad shot bother you in this game then I'm afraid you have no chance. Everybody, even Tiger Woods, hits them.

"I saw Nicklaus shank his tee shot at the 12th in the Masters. Some players would go mad, but he just laughed. He went on and won that US Masters."

Torrance added: "Paul has played his way into the last few Ryder Cups and has been an invaluable contributor to the winning European teams.

"When you play a course like Carnoustie, you are going to get as many bad lies as favourable lies no matter how good a shot you hit. Paul's a very good player and has the ability and the game to win the Open. But he has to accept the bad breaks that he will undoubtedly get."

The 75-year-old thinks even if McGinley fails to maintain his blistering start then a European will end an eight-year wait and win the Open this week.

Despite dominating the Ryder Cup, no player from Europe has landed a Major since Scots golfer Paul Lawrie, in 1999.

Bob predicted: "Never write off Tiger or Ernie Els or Vijay Singh, but a European will finally win a Major here this week.

"We have Paul, Sergio Garcia, Padraig, Miguel Angel Jimenez all there. Wet and windy suits the Europeans more than the Americans." Cable guy is bunkered as to Tiger drop

The Director of Rules for the Royal and Ancient Club said today he was at a loss to explain why TV cables could not be moved when Tiger Woods hit into rough during his opening 69 here yester-day.

David Rickman went to the spot on the 10th hole after play and moved them himself, as had others soon after the incident.

But at the time it mattered Alan Holmes, the R&A's incoming chairman of the Rules of Golf Committee, said they were not readily moveable and allowed World No.1 Woods to take a free drop in a much better lie. He parred the hole.

Tiger commented: "It was a weird drop. I was as surprised as anybody. I've never seen that ruling before. I didn't ask for it - the guy told me I could."

Former European Tour player Mark Roe, commentating for BBC Television, said: "The official turned into a jellyfish. I've not seen anything like it in 21 years on the tour."

Rickman said: "It was a surprise the cables were not readily move-able, but that was the case and therefore Tiger was correctly advised by Alan.

"We know Alan Holmes got the ruling right.

"There is no sugges-tion that Tiger behaved in any way improperly and the same ruling would have been given to any player."

Woods was not teeing off again until later today and, for his second round Michael Brown, the current chairman of the Rules of Golf Commit-tee, was the official in charge of his group. Big Al ready to rain in the leaders now

TOP-PLACED Scot Alastair Forsyth today warned the wet and windy weather forecast could blow the hopes of many Open contenders off course at Carnoustie this week.

Paisley golfer Forsyth made a promising start to the 136th staging of the tournament yesterday with a superb one-under-par 70.

That effort meant the 31-year-old Scot finished the opening day as the leading British player, along with Luke Donald of England.

That pair are five shots behind early leader Sergio Garcia of Spain, who carded a sensational 65, and three adrift of Ireland's Paul McGinley.

However, with more rain forecast for the remainder of the tournament, Al knows the make-up of the leaderboard could change very quickly.

He warned: "We just don't know what the weather is going to do. The wind could change direction and pick up and you can get lucky or unlucky.

"Apart from the guys who teed off early and got the heavy rain, the first round was actually pretty fair. In fact, it was tame. But that could all change in an instant."

Forsyth, though, is confident he can survive the halfway cut and push to finish among the leaders after switching coaches to Bob Torrance this season.

He revealed: "I am probably striking the ball as well as I have ever done from the tee to the green. I am pretty confident in my game.

"I have been doing well for a while and, although my results in tournaments have been pretty decent, I haven't really done as well as I should.

"But I had a couple of practice days with Bob and was hitting the ball really well. He was very pleased with how I was swinging the club.

"My long game has come on a great deal this year since I started working with Bob. If I can cut out the stupid mistakes, then I feel I can do well."

There are eight Scots in the field at the Angus course this year.

However, Forsyth apart, none of the others are currently in with a shout. Ross Bain, Paul Lawrie, Colin Montgomerie and Sandy Lyle all shot two-over-par 73s to have a decent chance of making the cut, given they improve today.

Richie Ramsay shot a 76, Douglas McGuigan was a shot further back while it was really a day to forget for Scott Drummond after a 79. Young Rory delighted to be part of Team Faldo

IRISH wonderkid Rory McIlroy thanked three-times Open champion Nick Faldo for helping him upstage his boyhood hero Tiger Woods.

McIlroy carded an astonishing three-under-par 68 yesterday in his first Major, aged just 18.

That sensational score - the only round without a bogey - edged the baby-faced Ulster kid one ahead of the holder, Tiger.

But golf prodigy Rory revealed he has had golf legend Faldo in his corner this week as he bids to land the Silver Medal for finishing top amateur.

He said: "I was involved with the Faldo Series for junior golfers. I'm now on Team Faldo. That means I spend time with Nick.

"He has been great to me. He has won six Majors and played in numerous Ryder Cups and I can only learn from him. He's not the longest off the tee, but the way he can position his ball around the course is very impressive. That is key around Carnoustie. I have played with him here and that helped."

McIlroy struggled today, however, and had dropped back to level par after nine holes.

Henrik Stenson has already been told he will be fined for lashing out in anger and taking a lump out of a tee marker during his second round today.

Not for the first time in his career, the Swedish star and world No.7 went over the top in reacting to a poor shot. One-over-par at the time, Stenson triple-bogeyed the short eighth.

His first shot went out of bounds left and when he put another ball down and flared that out to the right he swung round and did the damage.

Stenson then bogeyed the 18th to slip to a disappointing five-over. My belly's a weapon says Serg

SPANISH ace Sergio Garcia believes he can finally break his Major duck in the Open at Carnoustie this week after switching to a belly putter.

Despite his status as one of the world's top players, Ryder Cup hero Garcia is renowned as being one of the game's worst putters.

However, the 27-year-old is confident he can overcome his weaknesses on the greens after changing his club.

Sergio said: "I decided to start using the belly putter after the US Open. It felt good. I felt comfortable with it. I was rolling the ball nicely.

"I have been trying to work out the best routine to see how it is most comfortable. I putted well in the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond last week. It is starting to work well.

"Vijay Singh has been telling me for a year or two now that I should change.

"The reason for that is when I was feeling good with the short putter I felt very comfortable with it. But there are too many highs and lows with it.

"I wanted to be a far more consistent putter and I feel I can be with a belly putter.

In today's play, Garcia's lead was cut to just the one shot when he three-putted the fourth from the front edge of the green and American Jim Furyk picked up his fourth birdie of the day on the seventh to lie five-under.

But it was soon back to two when Furyk bogeyed the 10th, That leaves Furyk level with Paul McGinley, out later today, in second place.