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Retief Goosen returns to action in Ireland

Weary U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen returns to action on Thursday at the European Open convinced more championships are in his future.

Still feeling the after-affects of his nervy victory at Shinnecock Hills two weeks ago, the South African is not optimistic about his chances of winning on his return to the European Tour.

But the 35-year-old does believe his best golf remains ahead of him and more major titles are on the horizon.

"The first time I unpacked the golf bag was here yesterday and I'm a bit tired," said Goosen on Wednesday as he prepared to tackle the new 'Smurfit' course at the K Club near Dublin.

"I don't think I am quite ready to play this week and perhaps I should have taken another week off.

"To have two majors under your belt is great. I think my better golf will come later in my career now I have started to learn a little bit more about the game.

"I'm looking forward to the next 10 years. I feel I can maybe pull off another couple. It is not until you've won one that you start to think you have a chance (at the Grand Slam)."

Padraig Harrington, only a place behind Goosen in the world rankings at number eight, is favourite to pull off victory in a tournament he numbers among his extraordinary run of 23 career second-place finishes as a professional.

Former European Open winners Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood, Michael Campbell and defending champion Phillip Price are looking to add to their K Club titles, having won on the adjacent 'Palmer' course.

As strong winds whipped up in the pro-am, Clarke said of the new layout: "It's going to be a tough four days if the wind stays and I would happily take level-par and sit in the clubhouse and watch everyone if it does."

With the worry of qualifying for the British Open off his shoulders, Colin Montgomerie will focus on boosting his Ryder Cup points total.

Players like Jose Maria Olazabal, Jesper Parnevik and Justin Rose, who failed to qualify at Sunningdale on Monday, need a good result this week or next to seal their British Open starts and avoid final qualifying.

The highest-placed finisher at the K Club this week or in next week's Scottish Open at Loch Lomond, not already exempt for the British Open, will earn a spot for Royal Troon.

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