McIlroy 54-hole leader at PGA Championship

By Associated PressAugust 12, 2012, 3:01 pm

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. - In a year when no lead seems safe, Rory McIlroy will be the man trying to hold on in the season's final major.

McIlroy made back-to-back birdies late in the third round and finished with a 5-under 67, opening a three-shot advantage at the PGA Championship. Players returned to Kiawah Island's Ocean Course on Sunday morning after the third round was halted by rain late Saturday afternoon.

McIlroy, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, hasn't finished higher than 40th in a major this year, but he became the first player to open any significant distance on the field when he birdied the 15th and 16th holes. That was after he made five birdies on the front nine Saturday.

''I thought it was just a continuation of how I played yesterday afternoon,'' McIlroy said. ''I struck the ball beautifully from tee to green - same thing on Thursday, as well. Just one more round like that, and I'll be happy.''

Immediately after the restart, Tiger Woods missed a 7-foot par putt to fall six strokes behind. He rebounded a bit on the back nine but still trailed by five after a third-round 74.

McIlroy was at 7-under 209, three strokes ahead of Carl Pettersson, who shot 72 in the third round. Adam Scott (70), Trevor Immelman (70) and Bo Van Pelt (67) were another shot back.

It was Scott who was in control at the British Open last month before bogeying the last four holes and losing to Ernie Els. None of the 54-hole leaders at the other three majors this year - Scott at the British Open, Peter Hanson at the Masters, and Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk at the U.S. Open - have held on to win.

''Obviously to have a good round and try and win requires mental toughness,'' Scott said. ''I think this afternoon as it comes down to the back nine, especially at this golf course, is going to require everyone's skill to be at their best.''

Woods was at 2 under, along with Vijay Singh (74), Steve Stricker (67) and Hanson (70).

Play was suspended Saturday because of storms in the area, giving Woods all night to contemplate the crucial putt he'd face in the morning on No. 8. When he finally hit it, the ball rolled off the edge of the cup, dropping him to even par.

He rebounded with birdies on Nos. 11 and 13 but will have a lot to do in the final round if he hopes to win his 15th major championship and first since 2008.

''I got back in it,'' Woods said. ''I was pretty far out of it there - at one point I was six back. Clawed my way into it, so I've got a shot this afternoon.''

Woods' second birdie came on the 13th hole, a tough par 4 that McIlroy, Immelman and Pettersson all bogeyed. Woods wasn't pleased with his drive on the par-4 15th. His club went sailing when he let go of it on the follow through, and the ball flew well to the right of the fairway, landing in a grassy, sandy area not too far from the beach.

He was able to recover, hitting a terrific shot to the green. He then came up limping for a few seconds before pulling what appeared to be some sort of prickly brush off the right leg of his pants.

Woods looked fine when he arrived at the green and two-putted for par.

Singh dropped back to 2 under with bogeys on Nos. 12 and 14 and a double bogey on 15.

With a number of players finishing the third round Sunday morning, the final round was to be played in threesomes off both tees later in the day, rare for a major championship. McIlroy planned to take a nap first.

''It'll be nice to get back into bed for an hour or so,'' he said. ''I was just sort of treating this day like a 27-hole round. I'm happy to go back and get a bit to eat and rest up a little bit and just come back out there and get playing again.''

It was the first time since 2008 that the PGA Championship didn't complete three rounds on Saturday. Some players had to go 36 holes on the final day that year, and Padraig Harrington wound up winning his second straight major.

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Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

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Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.