McIlroy feeling refreshed, ready to make another major run

By Associated PressAugust 10, 2011, 3:35 pm

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Rory McIlroy is glad to be back at work, especially after the last two months.

McIlroy said during a press conference Wednesday at the PGA Championship that it’s been a steady stream of photo shoots, celebrity gossip and attention since his U.S. Open victory last June.

The 22-year-old with the tight, dark curls from Northern Ireland became a worldwide sensation after rebounding from a final-round collapse at the Masters with his runaway win at Congressional Country Club where he set a the U.S. Open scoring record at 16-under 268.

McIlroy instantly became golf’s new rising star, with his movements tracked on Twitter and people blogging that he was certainly heir apparent to Tiger Woods’ championship legacy. Even McIlroy’s recent friendship with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki had the Internet ablaze with speculation about their status.

All of it took the focus off McIlroy’s golf. That changed, he said, with last week’s showing, a tie for sixth at the World Golf Championship’s Bridgestone Invitational.

“It was a little bit of a whirlwind after what happened at Congressional,” McIlroy said. “But it’s nice to feel like you’re back out there and finally working hard again.”

McIlroy couldn’t pick a better time to re-hone his game. He tied for third at the last two PGA Championships and said it may be the major that best fits his talents.

“I love how the PGA of America set the golf course up at this event,” he said. “I think it really suits my game, puts a premium on ball-striking.”

It’s probably a relief for McIlroy to concentrate on golf. It’s one thing to play out sinking the winning birdie putt on the 18th hole at Augusta National and quite another to live out the experience at 22, McIlroy said.

As a teenager on the range, “all you think about is the golf, and you think about how great it is to hopefully be one of the best players in the world,” McIlroy said. “And you never really think of the other side of it, the attention, the spotlight.”

McIlroy’s learning about the other side.

He’s said he’s had fans show up at his home in Northern Ireland at all hours, prompting regular security at times. He told a critic at the Irish Open to “Shut up” on Twitter after harsh comments about his caddie, JP Fitzgerald.

It’s been reported that McIlroy’s choice to play more events on the PGA Tour next year was an escape from the attention, a chance to play somewhere his life wouldn’t be subject to round-the-clock scrutiny.

McIlroy said the decision about 2012 is in the best interest of his career. It doesn’t hurt that American fans have embraced him like one of their own. They stood several deep outside the clubhouse here Tuesday when McIlroy came out, children shrieking his name for an autograph.

“I get a great response from the crowds,” he said. “I feel like the reception I get over here is like an American player. It’s nice to have.”

A successful week at the Atlanta Athletic Club would certainly speed up the fourth-ranked McIlroy’s rise to the top both here and abroad.

McIlroy’s already shown the grit to recover from disappointment. He said he now relies on himself after his disappointing Masters finish - McIlroy shot 80 after entering the final round with a four-shot lead - and not change who he was to suit the moment.

“I felt as if I was a completely different person on that Sunday at Augusta and I didn’t need to be,” he said. “I didn’t need to change. I didn’t need to be more focused. I didn’t need to concentrate more.”

McIlroy has maintained that perspective at the year’s final major. He’s gotten in some solid practice and is ready for the heat, moreso than the changing weather McIlroy decried at last month’s British Open, saying he preferred warmer conditions to the rain and wind at Royal St. George’s. “Who wouldn’t like to play in warmer weather?” he said Wednesday.

Not that McIlroy will have it easy with a field that’s packed with the world’s best, all eager to end the season with a major title. “There’s a little bit of added tension there, a little bit more anxiety to try and perform well,” said Luke Donald, the world’s top-ranked golfer.

McIlroy feels fresh and ready to stamp the 2011 season as his own with a second major. He’s also ready for the extra attention that will bring to his life in the spotlight.

“It’s part of my life now and something I’ll definitely have to get used to,” McIlroy said. “But it’s definitely better this way than no one wanting to know what you’re up to.”

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.