Notes McIlroy on Euro Ryder Cup Team

By Brian HewittOctober 17, 2007, 4:00 pm
Dont look now but Rory McIlroy, the 18-year-old sensation from Holywood, Northern Ireland, is sitting at seventh place in the Ryder Cup European points list.
Without sounding ridiculous, said Chubby Chandler, McIlroys agent and advisor to Darren Clarke, Ernie Els, Paul McGinley and Lee Westwood, I honestly believe he (McIlroy) has a chance of making next years Ryder Cup team.
McIlroy burst on the world golf scene this summer by firing an opening 68 at Carnoustie and finishing T42 as an amateur at the Open Championship. After the recent Walker Cup matches he turned professional and quickly won enough money to secure his 2008 playing privileges on the European Tour.
McIlroy came third at the recent Dunhill Links Championship and followed that with a T4 Sunday at the Madrid Open. If he finishes second or better at this weeks Portuguese Open, he will move into the top 60 on Europes Order of Merit and will qualify for the season-ending Volvo Masters at Valderrama.
Two Mondays ago McIlroy purchased what the Irish Independent newspaper labeled a luxury five-bedroom detached house not far from his family home in Holywood. This was not long after signing endorsement contracts worth more than a million dollars.
I came into a bit of money, McIlroy told the Independent. I will be in it (the house) by Halloween and hopefully have it done up by Christmas.
I dont plan on learning to cook, McIlroy added. Holly (his girlfriend) will be around to do that, hopefully.
The players were happy to learn that the Open will scale back its involvement with amateur players next year and take place at just one venue, the TPC Summerlin.
In the past this Las Vegas event has taken place at multiple venues with multi-round involvement with amateurs.
Next year there will be a little more involvement with celebrities, says tournament director Ian Knight, who used to work for the PGA TOURs Golf Course Properties Division.
Specifically, Knight is looking to recruit 11 big name celebrities and give the Wednesday Pro-Am an Oceans 11 feel that hearkens back to the day of original Las Vegas Rat Packers Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.
Big names, Knight says.
Much of this stems from the tournaments increased involvement with the local Shriners Hospital. It will be more of a pure event now, Knight says.
The Fall Series event to be played at Disney World, however, will keep its format. Tournament director Kevin Weickel said Wednesday, Disney is all about big dreams and magic.
So the amateurs will still play with the pros on Thursday and Friday. We expect to keep this format for many, many years, Weickel said.
This weeks Frys Electronics Open at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale is looking for another venue for 2008.
It was originally scheduled to take place next year at the The Institute Course in Morgan Hill, Calif., near San Jose.
But sources said earlier this week that the timing isnt right yet for The Institute Course to host the event. There have also been issues with environmentalists and officials at The Institute Course.
Next years site will be announced sooner rather than later, said a Frys official. But theres no timetable.
There has been a buzz surrounding The Institute Course ever since it was built because it lists its back tees at 7.952 yards. It can be stretched past 8,000 yards. And to date, no TOUR event has taken place on a track that long.
By way of perspective, if the par-3s average 200 yards and the par-5s average 600 yards, the par-4s would have to average 480 yards for a course to stretch out to 8,000 yards.
Speaking of long, Erin Hills near Milwaukee is 8,266 yards from the back blacks. The public course, which opened in August of 2006, carries a slope 152 and a course rating of 79.9.
Its a different style of golf, says assistant pro Chris Kaebisch. Different, indeed. From the back blacks, Erin Hills boasts six par-4s longer than 500 yards, including two weighing in at 535.
The USGA has paid several visits to Erin Hills. And there is speculation that they could bring a U.S. Amateur there as early as 2011 and a U.S. Open as early as 2017.
USGA course set-up guy Mike Davis was at Erin Hills last week and told me if a U.S. Open was played at Erin Hills tomorrow it would probably card out at closer to 7,600 yards. Its a site we continue to look at, Davis said.
Next years U.S. Womens Amateur Public Links will take place at Erin Hills. The tees for that event will be closer to 6,000 yards.
Erin Hills also has a 19th hole that is actually a golf hole. It stretches the course, for 19 holes, to 8,420 yards. A group of local club pros recently played Erin Hills from 8,420 yards in a one-day event to a par of 75 for the 19 holes. The low score was 80.
The design team for Erin Hills was Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry and Golf Digest architecture editor Ron Whitten. The course recently showed up on Golfweeks Best list of courses that opened in 2005-2007.
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.