McIlroy tweets 'shut up' to Golf Channel's Townsend after criticism

By Associated PressJuly 28, 2011, 8:26 pm

KILLARNEY, Ireland – Rory McIlroy showed his temperamental side after blowing an early lead Thursday at the Irish Open, double-bogeying the 18th hole – then insulting a critical commentator and telling him to shut up.

Fresh from his 1 under opening round of 70, McIlroy fired off a riposte to the Twitter account of American analyst and former pro Jay Townsend.

“Shut up. You’re a commentator and a failed golfer. Your opinion means nothing!” wrote McIlroy, the 22-year-old prodigy from Northern Ireland.

McIlroy’s up-and-down performance was the talking point on a day that promised to shine a spotlight on the island’s incredible recent run of golfing success.

Joining McIlroy at Killarney, a resort town backed by stunning views of Ireland’s largest mountain chain, were British Open winner Darren Clarke, last year’s U.S. Open champ Graeme McDowell and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington.

Outshining the local stars was Jeev Milkha Singh of India, who hit a career-best 63 to lead by two shots at 8 under.

Singh hit an eagle and six birdies, the highlight a 20-foot chip uphill into the cup on the 12th.

“I think it’s one of the best putting rounds I’ve ever had. I nearly holed everything today,” said Singh, 39, who is making a comeback after serious back problems last year.

McIlroy, who fizzled at the British Open two weeks ago, looked early on like the man to beat, making birdies on four of the first 10 holes. Then the accuracy of his drives deserted him, leading to a bogey on the 12th.

On the 14th, he struck a nearly impossible shot, hooking a ball around a large oak and on to the green to salvage par, and his magic touch appeared restored. McIlroy estimated it hooked 50 yards within a 125-yard distance.

“To be honest, I didn’t really think I could get it on the green. I just wanted to get it up short. I caught it really nicely. It was definitely one of the best shots I’ve ever hit,” McIlroy said.

But his gambling ways produced two mistakes on the 18th. First he drove into a bunker, then his attempt to find the green sailed far left into a pond.

Townsend, a former European Tour player providing live coverage for Irish broadcasters RTE, started blasting McIlroy’s approach even before the ball hit the water.

“That’s why you don’t hit it in the bunker. Watch this,” he said, pausing for the splash.

Noting that other commentators had been describing McIlroy’s play as refreshingly loose, Townsend said: “He plays silly, several times already today.”

McIlroy came off the green head bowed and looking unhappy.

“To finish with a 6 at the last was tough to take,” he said.

As he headed to the practice range, McIlroy was told of Townsend’s criticisms, both on RTE and on his own Twitter account. Townsend, on the social media site, had just blamed McIlroy’s caddie since 2008, J.P. Fitzgerald, for overseeing “some of the worst course management I have ever seen beyond under 10’s boys golf competition.”

McIlroy fired back by Twitter. Townsend replied that he stood by his criticisms, McIlroy that he stood by his caddie.

Later, McIlroy said he’d insulted Townsend in defense of his caddie, not himself.

Referring to Townsend, McIlroy said: “He’s been having a go at J.P. every now and again. This was the first time I’ve responded. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” McIlroy said. “Now I’ve blocked him on Twitter, so I won’t be reading anything more.”

Several commentators and former players called McIlroy’s reaction immature and unwarranted, in part because the criticism was accurate.

Former European Tour pro John McHenry said analysts should say “when a guy is making a (mess) of his round.”

He said McIlroy’s back nine featured “very, very loose shots, some of which were unforced errors. … They were really a lot of poor decisions.”

Clarke, the 42-year-old Northern Irishman who won his first major at Royal St. George’s two weeks ago, shook off an opening-hole bogey for a solid 69.

Clarke admitted to spending much of the weekend in bed recuperating from his epic post-British Open partying, his first major win in a 20-year career. His much-broadcast weeklong booze-up had been the talk of the nation for much of the past week.

Earlier this week, Clarke told those criticizing him to “get a life,” but conceded Thursday that he’d done himself some damage.

“My self-inflicted man flu hasn’t quite gotten that much better yet,” said Clarke, who frequently paused to cough and sniffle. “But I’m feeling strong enough to play well.”

The strongest Irish performance Thursday came from unheralded Colm Moriarty, ranked 536th in the world and a regular on the second-tier Challenge Tour. He shot a 67, the same as defending champion Ross Fisher of England and several others.

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Rahm focusing on play, not shot at No. 1

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 9:06 pm

SAN DIEGO – Jon Rahm’s meteoric rise in the world rankings could end with him reaching No. 1 with a win this week at Torrey Pines.

After winning last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his fourth title in 51 weeks, Rahm has closed the gap on Dustin Johnson – less than 1.5 average points separates them.

With Johnson not playing this week, the 23-year-old Spaniard has a chance to reach the top spot for the first time, but only if he defends his title at the Farmers Insurance Open.


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“Beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task. It’s no easy task,” he said Tuesday. “We still have four days of golf ahead and we’ll see what happens. But I’ll try to focus more on what’s going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win.

“I’ll try my best, that’s for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

Rahm has already become the fourth-youngest player to reach No. 2 in the world, behind Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. 

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Rahm: Playoff wasn't friendly, just 'nervous'

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:53 pm

SAN DIEGO – Too chummy? Jon Rahm says he and Andrew Landry were just expending some nervous energy on the walk up to the fairway during the first playoff hole of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

“I wouldn’t have been that nervous if it was friendly,” Rahm said with a smile Tuesday. “I think it was something he said because we were talking going out of the first tee.

“I didn’t know Andrew – I think it was a pretty good time to get to know him. We had at least 10 minutes to ourselves. It’s not like we were supporting each other, right? We were both in it together, we were both nervous together, and I felt like talking about it might have eased the tension out of both of us.”


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On Sunday, two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange saw the exchange on TV and tweeted: “Walking off the tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me? Talking at all?”

Strange followed up by saying that, in a head-to-head situation, the last thing he’d want to do was make his opponent comfortable. When his comments went viral, Strange tweeted at Rahm, who won after four holes: “Hopefully no offense taken on my comment yesterday. You guys are terrific. I’m a huge fan of all players today. Made an adverse comment on U guys talking during playoff. Not for me. A fan.”

Not surprisingly, the gregarious Rahm saw things differently.

“We only talked going out of the first tee up until the fairway,” he said. “Besides that, all we said was, ‘Good shot, good putt, see you on the next tee.’ That’s what it was reduced to. We didn’t say much.” 

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Tiger grouped with Reed, Hoffman at Torrey Pines

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:35 pm

SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods will make his 2018 debut alongside Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman.

The threesome will go off Torrey Pines’ South Course at 1:40 p.m. ET Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open. They begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday on the North Course.

Woods is an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open, but he hasn’t broken 70 in his last seven rounds on either course. Last year, he shot rounds of 76-72 to miss the cut.


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Reed, who has grown close to Woods after being in his pod during the past two international team competitions, is coming off a missed cut last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Hoffman, a San Diego native, has only two top-10s in 20 career starts at Torrey.

Other featured groups for the first two rounds include:

• Jon Rahm, Jason Day and Brandt Snedeker: 1:30 p.m. Thursday off South 1, 12:20 p.m. Friday off North 10

• Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele: 12:30 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:30 p.m. Friday off South 1

• Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama: 12:40 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:40 p.m. Friday off South 1

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Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

“While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

“What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

“I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”