Woods, McIlory look to build momentum

By Doug FergusonMarch 7, 2012, 10:44 pm

DORAL, Fla. — Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are at Doral to build momentum in different ways.

McIlroy is the new No. 1 in golf after winning the Honda Classic. He is not concerned with how long he can stay there as much as he is winning the Cadillac Championship in his last tournament before Augusta National.

“This is a World Golf Championship, and it’s my last event before the Masters,” McIlroy said. “I’d love to give myself a chance to win here again this week, and go into that three-week break with a lot of confidence.”

Woods is coming off a 62, the lowest final round of his career, hopeful that it’s the strongest sign yet that he is close to a full return to form that made him No. 1 longer than anyone. 

For both, last week is nothing but a memory, albeit a happy one.

“Doesn’t count,” Woods said Wednesday before going out for a practice round on the TPC Blue Monster at Doral. “That tournament is over with, whether you missed the cut or won the tournament. It’s over. Now we’re on to a new week, a new golf course, and have to learn it and be ready by Thursday. 

What remains to be seen is which moment is more meaningful going forward.

Not only was it the best score for Woods in more than two years, it was nearly nine shots better than the average score in the final round at windswept PGA National. He ended his big charge with a 5-iron that was exquisite, finishing 8 feet away for eagle.

But he still didn’t win, and hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since September 2009.

Woods is coming up on a stretch of courses he knows well. He is a three-time winner at Doral, and it’s the only tournament he regularly plays that he has never finished out of the top 10. Two weeks later is Bay Hill, where he has won a record 10 times.

And while statistics can be meaningless, especially this early in the year, Woods took note of the fact that he’s No. 1 in total driving, which is a combination of accuracy (No. 5) and distance (No. 14).

“Now it’s on to other aspects of the game,” Woods said. “You have to take up and focus on the weaknesses, make them strengths. And we’ve done that, and we still have some more weaknesses to look at and to fix.”

There appears to be little wrong with McIlroy in so many ways.

Not long after Woods won the 1997 Masters by a record 12 shots, he began to revamp his swing. McIlroy was asked what he was doing to his swing, and he said he was trying to get it closer to last summer when he shot a record score to win the U.S. Open.

Now, it’s about getting better.

 The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland allowed himself a few moments Sunday night on the plane to New York, where he spent a few days with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, to soak in his achievement at going to No. 1 in the world.

And he also conceded that it was a little unnerving, a lot more satisfying, that it was Woods that challenged him at the Honda Classic. Woods’ birdie-eagle finish put him one shot off the lead, and McIlroy had six holes left. He then birdied the 13th, saved par on three of the next four holes and won by two shots.

“To be honest, I was probably thinking to myself, `Could it not just have been anyone else?”’ McIlroy said to laughter. “The way I did it Sunday, with Tiger making the charge, it was almost more satisfying to do it that way, knowing that I held up under pretty intense pressure when I needed to.

“Closing out tournaments, and knowing what you need to do at the right time, all just comes with experience,” he said. “And I feel like I’ve had a lot of experiences where I could have won tournaments and I haven’t. And it’s taking what you need from those close finishes and trying to do something a little bit better.”

McIlroy moves into the marquee grouping of this World Golf Championship, based on the world ranking. He will play the opening two rounds with Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, the two players at No. 1 before him.

Woods will be on the opposite nine, with defending champion Nick Watney and Sergio Garcia.

There is talk of a potential rivalry, which is possible despite Woods and McIlroy being a generation apart. Jack Nicklaus was rivals with Arnold Palmer, who was 10 years older, and then Tom Watson, who was 10 years younger.

Rivalries aren’t always determined by head-to-head meetings as much as how often players win. That’s why Woods and Phil Mickelson established the best rivalry of their generation.

“I’m going to let other people make the comparisons,” McIlroy said. “I’m not going to try and compare myself to anyone else. I’ve never said that I want to be the next anyone. I just want to be the first Rory McIlroy, however good that turns out to be. Then, I’ll try my best to win tournaments and to win majors and to be the best player in the world.

“There’s still a long road ahead, and I feel like I can accomplish a lot more.”

Lost in this discussion is Mickelson, who returns from a two-week break after playing as well as anyone. Mickelson shot 64 in the final round to win at Pebble Beach (with Woods at his side shooting a 75), then lost in a playoff at Riviera. 

Mickelson has never been No. 1, and he has no problems with McIlroy at the top. Still, he looks at a broader picture of Donald and Westwood, former PGA champion Martin Kaymer, and even Mickelson as players capable of taking over.

“We have not had somebody play to the level of Tiger, and so we have four, five, six guys that are battling for the No. 1 spot, it seems, monthly,” Mickelson said. “I don’t know where it will all settle, but certainly he’s a worthy No. 1.”

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. 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.

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.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.