McIlroy edges Rose by 2 shots for Dubai victory

By Associated PressNovember 25, 2012, 2:41 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Rory McIlroy made five straight birdies down the stretch to overtake Justin Rose and win the DP World Tour Championship on Sunday, ending a historic year in which the 23-year-old Northern Irishman won the PGA Championship and both the European and PGA tour money titles.

The top-ranked McIlroy recovered from early putting woes to finish at 6-under 66 for a total of 23-under 265 at the season-ending tournament. Rose, who was tied for seventh after three rounds, surged down the stretch into contention after shooting a course-record 62 that included an eagle and eight birdies.

''I just wanted to finish the season the way I thought I deserved to finish the season,'' McIlroy said after holing a birdie on 18 and raising his arms in the air in celebration. ''You know, I played so well throughout the year, and I didn't want to just let it tail off sort of timidly. I wanted to come here and finish in style.''

Second-ranked Luke Donald (71) was tied for third with Charl Schwartzel (68) of South Africa. Louis Oosthuizen (69) was another shot back in fifth.

The day was supposed to be a duel between McIlroy and Donald, who were tied for the lead after the third round. The Englishman grabbed an early two-shot lead when McIlroy bogeyed the first and Donald birdied the second.

But then Donald three-putted the third to end a streak of 102 holes on the Earth Course without a bogey to give McIlroy a chance. He then had another bogey on No. 12 to fall three back and never challenged after that, missing the green on the 17th to end his chances.

In the meantime, Rose was climbing up the leaderboard.

The Englishman pulled within one of McIlroy with a birdie and then moved ahead with an eagle on No. 14 after his approach shot rolled to within 10 feet. He sank it for his first lead of the tournament and doubled his advantage when McIlroy three-putted on the 13th.

Rose had another birdie before his 60-foot eagle putt came within inches of the cup on No. 18, and he settled for birdie. Then, he had to wait.

''I thought it was going to be good, to be honest,'' Rose said. ''I caught a glimpse of the board walking to the 18th tee. I saw Rory had gone birdie, birdie, and he's putting the squeeze on. But I knew that is what Rory does.''

At No. 17, McIlroy hit what was probably the shot of his tournament, landing a 5-iron within a few feet of the pin.

''You could easily be a lot right into the bunker and leave yourself a tricky up-and-down,'' he said. ''I committed to it and hit a great shot and followed it with a great putt for birdie to give myself that cushion going into the last.''

Getty Images

Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana

By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:43 pm

While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.

The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he's apparently been hard at work ever since.

"I'll be treating it very serious," Romo told reporters Tuesday. "My wife will tell you she hasn't seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I'm going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you'll get the best I've got this week."

Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.

According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf "you're trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag."

"I'm not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball," Romo said. "It's at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that's difficult, and sometimes that's easier depending on the situation."

Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which "was not up to any Tour standard." The first-tee jitters can't be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.

Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.

"I think they're waiting to either tell me 'Congrats' or 'I knew it, terrible,'" Romo said. "Something along those lines. They're probably going to wait to see which way the wind's blowing before they send them."

Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

Getty Images

Spieth vs. Reed random? Hmm, wonders Spieth

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 6:42 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Monday’s blind draw to determine the 16 pods for this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play didn’t exactly feel “blind” for Jordan Spieth, whose group includes Patrick Reed.

Spieth and Reed have become a staple of U.S. teams in recent years, with a 7-2-2 record in the Ryder and Presidents Cup combined. So when the ping-pong ball revealed Reed’s number on Monday night Spieth wasn’t surprised.

“It seems to me there's a bit more to this drawing than randomness,” laughed Spieth, whose pod also includes Haotong Li and Charl Schwartzel. “It's not just me and him. It's actually a lot of groups, to have Luke List and Justin [Thomas] in the same group seems too good to be true. It might be some sort of rigging that's going on, I'm not sure.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Tee times

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

Spieth will play Reed on Friday in the round-robin format and knows exactly what to expect from the fiery American.

“I've seen it firsthand when he's been at his best. And we have history together in a couple of different playoffs, which is a match-play scenario,” Spieth said. “I've got to take care of work tomorrow and the next day for that day to even matter. But even if it doesn't matter, trust me, it will matter to both of us.”

Getty Images

U.S. Open champ Koepka (wrist) to miss Masters

By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:12 pm

Reigning U.S. Open champ Brooks Koepka will miss the Masters, according to a USA Today report.

Koepka has been battling a left wrist injury since late last year, and he hasn't played since finishing last at the limited-field Sentry Tournament of Champions in early January. Weeks later he revealed that he had a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU) tendon but hoped to return in time for the season's first major.

According to the report, Koepka only started putting this week and plans to begin hitting chips next week.

"They said I would be about 80 percent, but I can't play 80 percent," Koepka said. "I either have to go full bore or not at all. I don't want to risk getting it re-injured and then be out a long time."

Koepka has finished T-33 or better in each of his three prior Masters appearances, culminating in a T-11 result last year.

Getty Images

Spieth's agent leaving firm, but keeping Spieth as client

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 6:07 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Jay Danzi has stepped down as COO of Lagardère Sports U.S., and will take one of the game’s most marketable players, Jordan Spieth, with him.

In a press release, Danzi said, “after careful consideration I feel that it’s time for a new adventure.” Danzi will represent Spieth independently.

“It’s been a privilege having Jordan be part of the Lagardère Sports’ family for the last five years and watching him grow from a promising young player to someone who transcends the game,” said Steve Loy, Lagardère Sports president of golf. “We are also grateful for Jay’s contributions over the years, in golf and other areas of our business.”

Lagardère Sports underwent an aggressive expansion in recent years, acquiring numerous boutique firms including Danzi’s business and Crown Sports Management.

Although losing Spieth, the world’s fourth-ranked player, and Danzi, who took over as Lagardère COO in February 2017, is a setback, the firm still has a number of high-profile clients including Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm and Patton Kizzire, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this season.