McIlroy provides more motivation for Woods

By Damon HackSeptember 17, 2012, 7:41 pm

More than a decade ago, Earl Woods told the story of a young Tiger Woods and the things that motivated him.

He talked about an 11-year-old Tiger making birdies through a rainstorm, never once complaining as other players trudged back to the clubhouse.

He talked about Tiger’s view of competition and how he never looked for excuses or for his opponents to make mistakes.

“Tiger was always taught, ‘Play the course,’” Earl said in the spring of 2002. “He’s looking to beat the damn course.”

Photos: Tiger Woods through the years

Photos: Rory McIlroy through the years

From 1997 to 2009, Tiger did exactly that, maybe at the highest level the game has ever known. He won 14 majors with two coaches and three swings. He made 142 straight cuts, golf’s version of Joe DiMaggio’s untouchable hitting streak. 

And even when Vijay Singh supplanted him as No. 1 in the world in 2004 – or when Phil Mickelson picked up consecutive majors from 2005 to 2006 – few doubted that the best player in the world, at his best, was still Tiger Woods.

Over the last five weeks, Rory McIlroy has upended that truth, winning a second major by eight shots and back-to-back FedEx Cup playoff events against stacked competition.

There goes Rory, running wind sprints with the New York Knicks. There goes Rory on Jimmy Fallon. (How Tiger of you, Rory!)

Rory’s rise to No. 1 feels different than Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald or Lee Westwood’s spells atop the world golf rankings. Kaymer won the 2010 PGA and now resides outside the top 30. Donald and Westwood, for all their talents, remain unfulfilled on professional golf’s four biggest weeks.

Rory is a big-game hunter. The career grand slam could be his by July.

Tiger has already proven he can win again, but the golf world has undoubtedly shifted. His name on a leaderboard does not inspire fear as it once did. His putting is streaky, his body fragile enough to be one awkward swing away from the disabled list.

And yet to dismiss Tiger, even at 36 and with Rory ascendant, seems like a fool’s game.

Tiger does not have to be the best player on the planet to win more majors. But does he have to be the best to win five more?

That is what is so intriguing about the coming years and the intersection of Rory’s emergence and Tiger’s ambitions.

For the longest time, Tiger’s motivations could be defined in simple terms – to break Jack Nicklaus’ record for majors and become the greatest golfer of all time.

To beat the damn course.

In March, before his victories at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Memorial and the AT&T National, Tiger started to subtly reveal other motivating factors. He began showing fellow Tour players video of his son, Charlie, swinging a club. Charlie and Tiger’s daughter, Sam, were in the gallery at the Honda Classic (where Tiger shot 62 on Sunday to lose to Rory by two shots).

Rory’s ascendance has given Tiger one more thing to think about, at the Tour Championship, the Ryder Cup and beyond.

Tiger was taught to beat the course, and on some days he will.

But from now until the end of his chase, someone cut from a similar cloth will be standing in his way.

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.