McIlroy has edge on Donald in Dubai

By Associated PressDecember 8, 2011, 1:25 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy shot a 30 on the back nine Thursday at the Dubai World Championship to gain the early advantage over top-ranked Luke Donald in the duel for the European money title.

The 22-year-old McIlroy had six birdies – including sinking a 20-foot putt at the last – on the back nine for a 6-under 66 and finished third behind leader Peter Hanson of Sweden (64) and 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie of Scotland (65).

The Northern Irishman, who came from behind to win last week’s Hong Kong Open, made a “couple of silly mistakes” on the front nine. He had a double-bogey on the second hole and bogeyed No. 8 after hitting over the back of the green.

“It was a perfect start to the tournament for me,” said McIlory, who has been complaining of fatigue from a lingering virus. “To shoot a great score like that really sets me up nicely for the next three days. The back nine was just pretty much flawless.

“I held some really, really nice putts. Just giving myself chances and opportunities for birdies, and lucky enough I was able to make a few.”

Donald, who played alongside McIlroy, sank four birdies on the front nine but struggled on the back, making three consecutive bogeys to shoot a 72 for a share of 26th place.


Highlights: McIlroy outshines Donald on Day 1


The 34-year-old Englishman played his first tournament last week in South Africa after a five-week break so he could attend the birth of his second daughter and bury his father, who died unexpectedly last month.

“A mixture of two halves really,” Donald said. “I played solid the front nine and hit a few shots that cost me, poor drives on 14 and 15 and it was bit of a loose back nine, unfortunately. But trying to get better from here on out.”

McIlroy’s performance keeps the Race to Dubai alive. He must win the $7.5 million tournament and hope Donald finishes outside the top nine. Should Donald win the Race to Dubai, he would become the first to win both the European and PGA Tour money titles.

Two years ago, McIlroy lost the European money title when Lee Westwood won in Dubai to move past him. This time, he is happy to be in second spot.

“It’s sort of taken the pressure off me,” McIlroy said. “I’m sort of like, well, I’m not 100 percent and if that doesn’t quite happen, it doesn’t happen and there is nothing I can do about it. You can just go about your game and try and play as well as you can.”

Donald acknowledged it was a challenge playing alongside someone in such great form as McIlroy.

“It’s always hard playing with Rory,” he said. “It almost feels like a bit of a match-play kind of scenario. But the goal is to concentrate on myself and just try and do what I can do to try and win this tournament. Hopefully, the rest will take care of itself.”

The only other golfer to have a run like McIlroy was Hanson, who made six birdies on the back nine and eight overall. The 49th-ranked Swede is looking for his first win this year and fifth career victory on the tour.

“Overall, it’s the best golf I’ve played,” Hanson said. “It’s a quite demanding golf course and the wind picked up a little bit over the back nine, so I’m very, very happy with the way I struck the ball and I rolled in a few putts.”

Lawrie, who briefly held the clubhouse lead, was a surprise second considering the 163rd-ranked Scot has won only once this year and hasn’t had a top-10 finish since coming fifth at the Iberdrola Open in May.

“I played really nice today. Hit the ball solid,” Lawrie said. “Gave myself an awful lot of chances out there, especially a wee run from the fifth through to the 14th.”

Sergio Garcia of Spain is fourth after a 67, while Ross FisherRobert Rock and Alvaro Quiros are another shot back at 4 under in the season-ending tournament.

The third-ranked Westwood and No. 4 Martin Kaymer both shot 73s.

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

Christina Kim:

LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

LPGA pro Jennie Lee:

Fitzpatrick one back in 2018 Euro Tour opener

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 1:37 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia had six birdies and a bogey Thursday for a 5-under 65 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open, the first event of the 2018 European Tour season.

Playing in sunny but breezy conditions at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the greens had the players struggling to gauge the approach.

''Very tough conditions today,'' Chawrasia said. ''It's very firm greens, to be honest. I'm just trying to hit the second shot on the green and trying to make it like a two-putt.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Shubhankar Sharma and Matthew Fitzpatrick (both 66) were one shot behind, while seven others were tied for fourth a further stroke behind.

''Hit it great tee to green,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I think I had like seven or eight chances inside 15 feet, and on a day like today when it's so windy and such a tough golf course, with how tight it is, yeah, it was a good day.''

Justin Rose, who won the title in 2015, shot was 2 under with five birdies and three bogeys.

''I think the course played a couple shots harder than it typically does,'' Rose said. ''I like this course. I think it offers plenty of birdie opportunities.''

Masters champion Sergio GarciaRafa Cabrera Bello and defending champion Sam Brazel (69) were in a group of 16 at 1 under.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday.