Notes McIlroy wont ask What if

By Associated PressJuly 19, 2010, 2:07 am

Open 125w

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – One bad round. One completely, utterly awful round.

Take that away, and Rory McIlroy’s walk up the 18th fairway Sunday at the British Open might have been triumphant.

“I couldn’t help but think about Friday going up the last hole there,” McIlroy said after shooting a 68 that moved him into a tie for third. “You know, if I had just sort of stuck in a little bit more on Friday and held it together more, it could have been a different story.”

McIlroy finished eight strokes behind winner Louis Oosthuizen. Take away the 80 he posted Friday and give him a score in the 60s – as he had the other three days – and it explains why he wasn’t thrilled with his best finish at a major.

McIlroy’s best finish at the British Open was a tie for 42nd three years ago. He failed to make the cut at either the Masters or the U.S. Open this year.

“I knew that I had a good chance coming in here, and it was nice to sort of be there for a while,” he said. “I’m still a bit disappointed, to be honest, because I know if I could have played anywhere decent on Friday, I could have been a lot closer to the lead. I’m not saying that I could have got to 17 under, but I definitely could have been contending for second place, anyway.”

With Lee Westwood, the No. 3 player in the world still nursing a bum leg, McIlroy arrived at St. Andrews as the best hope to end the United Kingdom’s losing streak at its own Open. No golfer from Britain or Northern Ireland has hoisted the claret jug since Paul Lawrie in 1999, and Nick Faldo was the last Englishman to win, claiming the last of his three Open titles in 1992.

Though only 21, McIlroy is the kind of precocious talent who could carry the continent for a generation. The Northern Irishman turned pro in 2007, earned his European card without going to Q-school and broke into the top 10 in the world before his 21st birthday. He claimed his first PGA Tour win in May, bringing Quail Hollow to its knees with a 62 on Sunday

McIlroy tied the major-championship record by shooting 63 in pristine conditions Thursday morning. But with the wind howling and the Old Course showing its considerable bite, he blew up with the 80 on Friday afternoon.

“When you start off shooting 63 in any golf tournament, you fancy your chances going into the next three days,” McIlroy said. “It just so happened to be it got very windy on Friday, and I just didn’t deal with it very well. … I hadn’t played in wind like that for a long time. So it was a bit of a new experience.”

No player had ever shot such a high score after going so low the day before in a major tournament. As the strokes piled up, McIlroy began looking his age, rolling his eyes, slumping his shoulders, kicking the grass. It could have started him on a major meltdown, the kind that can linger for months.

Instead, McIlroy went back to his hotel room, ordered room service and went to bed. On Saturday, he came out and shot a 69.

“For three rounds, I was 16 under par, so it’s in there. It’s definitely in there,” McIlroy said. “It’s just a pity about Friday.”

But don’t expect him to keep wondering, “What if?”

“It’s not going to give me nightmares,” he said. “I was 16 under for three rounds of golf around St. Andrews in the Open, and just one bad round. It’s fine.”

YOUNG GUN: The older players can relax. Jin Jeong won’t be taking their money for a few more months.

The only amateur to make the cut at this British Open tied for 14th, a finish that would have earned him almost $88,000 if he was a professional. Though Jeong obviously has the game to compete with the big boys, he said he’s put his plans to turn pro in September on hold.

“I can play the Masters next year, and I really want to play that tournament,” the British Amateur champion said. “So I’ll probably stay amateur until then.”

The 20-year-old has an appreciation for golf’s grandest courses – he said playing St. Andrews was a “dream come true.” But it also means more sacrifice for him and his family.

Like many young South Korean golfers, he headed for Australia in the winter to work on his game when he was about 13. He made the move to Melbourne permanently about four years ago, leaving his parents and sister behind in Korea. He split time between living with a local Korean family and his coach, Trevor Flakemore.

Six months ago, his mother and sister relocated to Melbourne, a move that coincides with a sharp improvement in his play. But his father’s job required him to stay in Korea.

“That’s why my dad is not here. He’s working,” Jeong said. “He was going to come here to watch, but his business is going really busy, so he had to stay. It’s a shame.”

Jeong hits monster drives – when he outdrove PGA champion Y.E. Yang during a practice round recently, he posted on Facebook that it was the “happiest day in my life!” – and he drove the 18th green for a second straight day. Unlike Saturday, he made a 25-footer to close out his first British Open with an eagle.

The crowd, which took a liking to the youngster with the big smile, was delighted.

“All week I played really well, and all the crowds gave me claps,” Jeong said. “All week I can’t forget.”

RED, WHITE AND BLUE: The British Open leaderboard looked like it was borrowed from a European Tour event.

The Americans have owned the claret jug lately, having won seven of the last 10 coming into St. Andrews. They also hold down four of the top five spots in the latest world rankings.

But the champion Sunday was Louis Oosthuizen, a South African. The rest of the top five hail from England (Lee Westwood and Paul Casey), Northern Ireland (Rory McIlroy) and Sweden (Henrik Stenson). Not until the seventh place is there an American, and no, the name isn’t Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson.

Sean O’Hair and Nick Watney were the only Americans in the top 10 on Sunday. Woods tied for 23rd. Mickelson, who could have taken over the No. 1 ranking for the first time in his career with a win on the Old Course, tied for 48th. Neither was ever in contention.

“I’m not going to win all of them,” Woods said. “I’ve lost a lot more than I’ve won.”

The results at St. Andrews are part of a trend that could spell trouble for the Americans at the Ryder Cup, which will be played in Wales in October. Golfers from Britain and Northern Ireland won three straight PGA Tour events last month and four of five, including Graeme McDowell’s win at the U.S. Open.

Of the top 25 at St. Andrews, 13 were European players.

“We’re going to have a great team,” England’s Paul Casey said. “It doesn’t guarantee a victory, but I think we’ll be pretty good.”

Europe has won five of the last seven Ryder Cups.

HALLOWEEN COSTUME: John Daly finally has some competition for worst outfit.

Rickie Fowler did his best imitation of a giant pumpkin in the final round of the British Open on Sunday, decked out in hazard-cone orange from head to toe. Shoes, pants, belt, necklace, cap – even his Rolex had orange accents.

“I went to Oklahoma State,” Fowler said, explaining the reason for his Day-Glo outfit. “Not many people wear orange. It’s a good way to stand out.”

Actually, Fowler didn’t need any help for that. He finished his first British Open in a tie for 14th at 4 under after posting his second 67 of the week Sunday. He also made one of the best shots of the day, holing a putt of almost 130 feet from off the green for birdie on the 17th hole. Fowler tossed the ball into the crowd after he fished it out of the cup.

“That was pretty cool,” he said. “I think it’s the longest putt I’ve ever made.”

A little payback, too.

The PGA Tour rookie had only played two other majors before coming to St. Andrews, tying for 60th at the 2008 U.S. Open and missing the cut last year. He shot a 79 on the Old Course on Thursday thanks, in part, to a double-bogey on 17 after he four-putted from off the green.

Scrambling just to make the cut, Fowler rebounded with a 67 on Friday. He was below par each of his last three days, and had just two bogeys – none Sunday.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

Getty Images

Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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