McIlroy maturing on and off course

By Bailey MosierMay 6, 2012, 1:30 am

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – When Rory McIlroy earned his maiden PGA Tour victory at Quail Hollow in 2010 at the age of 20, he was but a boy.

Today, two years later and one day after turning 23, McIlroy is still a boy. But with each passing year, each fairway he finds, each sub-par round he posts and each lesson he learns, McIlroy continues to blossom into a man. A man who is both talented and vulnerable. Proud and humble.

After opening with 70-68, McIlroy fired a third-round 66 that vaulted him within two shots of the lead through 54 holes at the Wells Fargo Championship. His round included eight birdies and only two bogeys; one after he failed to get up and down at the par-3 sixth and the second when he missed a 4-foot putt at the par-4 16th.

His bogey at 16 came after a monstrous – and very manly – 377-yard drive. His approach took dead aim at the pin and came to rest 15 feet away. His birdie attempt hit the hole and rolled 4 feet past. The 4-footer coming back for par lipped out. Tap-in for bogey. Talent and vulnerability.

McIlroy sits two back of Webb Simpson headed into Sunday’s final round but finds himself closer than where he was on the eve of the final round in 2010. Two years ago, he trailed the 54-hole leader by four. McIlroy posted a 62 that Sunday that included birdies on his final three holes en route to a four-stroke victory over Phil Mickelson.

McIlroy hopes he doesn’t have to work that hard again this year.

“Hopefully I won’t have to finish with three 3s to win tomorrow,” McIlroy said. “I’ve had some great experiences on this course. Hopefully I can make a few more tomorrow.”

To say McIlroy fancies Quail Hollow is an understatement. His final-round 62 in 2010 still stands as the course record. Saturday’s round wasn’t quite as low, but included eight fairways, 16 greens and 27 putts.

“I really like this style course,” McIlroy said. “Tree-lined golf courses that really appeal to me, and (I’m) just happy to be back here.”

Despite the records he’s set, despite his commanding win at the U.S. Open and despite his ping-pong match with Luke Donald for the golf world’s highest perch, McIlroy says he lacks an intimidation factor held by some of the game’s other greatest players, such as that which Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els possess.

“Maybe that comes with time,” McIlroy said. “ I don’t think I’m quite at that stature yet, but hopefully one day.”

Proud and humble.

Winning again at Quail Hollow will be no small task. Simpson, Ryan Moore and Rickie Fowler are among the names at the top of the leaderboard. But if McIlroy can continue the week’s trend, he feels pretty good about his chances.

“I felt Thursday wasn’t great, Friday was a little better and today I saw more positive signs out there.” McIlroy said. “I feel like I’ve got a lot to build on for tomorrow.”

Also weighing on his mind is the opportunity to regain the No. 1 ranking from Luke Donald. McIlroy needs only a top-7 finish this week to again ascend to the top.

With so much to consider, so many expectations to fulfill, any distraction would be welcomed. A warm welcoming from his family, all the better.

McIlroy turned 23 yesterday and was surprised by his parents who flew in from Florida to help their son celebrate his special day. McIlroy assures us the merriment was kept to a minimum.

“I walked in for dinner and they were sitting there,” McIlroy said. “(We had a) low-key dinner and now they’re going to hang around the weekend. It’s nice to have them here.”

It’s McIlroy’s birthday week and his chance at another Wells Fargo title, but he wants to give his parents something in return.

“Hopefully I can give (my parents) a present tomorrow.”

Alas … a boy becoming a man.

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

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.