Fri, Jul 23, 2004 - Page 22 News List

Friends welcome `Royal Todd' to Texas

AP , GRAPEVINE, TEXAS

British Open champion Todd Hamilton points to his name on the silver claret jug after his arrival at Dallas-Fort Worth Internaional Airport in Grapevine, Texas, Wednesday.

PHOTO: AP

Displaying the calm demeanor that helped him to a British Open championship, Todd Hamilton arrived home Wednesday for a Texas-sized celebration.

Hamilton, wearing a "Royal Todd" T-shirt and a relaxed grin, was greeted at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport by about 20 golfing buddies and a stampede of camera crews.

He graciously responded to dozens of questions and even lifted the claret jug out of its large case for a few photos.

"I hope this won't go to my head," Hamilton said. "I think these guys behind me won't let that happen."

Keith Jackson, of McKinney, said he's already hoping Hamilton can win the British Open a second time. Jackson, among the friends greeting the golfer, wore a T-shirt bearing names of Open champs. Hamilton's name was the largest.

"We've seen him pound golf balls for hours on end," Jackson said. "There's not a more deserving champion as far as we're concerned,"

The unlikely winner finished regulation play tied with Ernie Els at 10 under and made four pars to win the playoff on Sunday by one shot.

"I let out a big scream," Hamilton said. "It was pretty loud out there. You probably couldn't hear it."

Hamilton said he was glad to be back after three weeks on the road.

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