McIlroy considers week a success, despite losing No. 1

By Mercer BaggsAugust 16, 2015, 11:40 pm

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Rory McIlroy didn’t win and he lost his No. 1 ranking, but he considers his performance at the PGA Championship a mild success.

“I guess for myself, if I'm looking at it as a whole, I feel like I've done well to come back and shoot the scores that I have. I feel like I progressed each and every day,” he said.

“I'm walking away pretty happy with how the week went. Obviously, it isn't a win and didn't get myself into contention, but considering six weeks ago I wasn't able to walk, it's not a bad effort."

McIlroy shot four under-par rounds (71-71-68-69) at Whistling Straits and managed to escape without re-injuring his ankle. He finished in 17th place, 11 shots behind winner Jason Day.

McIlroy, the defending PGA champion, was competing for the first time since rupturing a ligament in his left ankle while playing soccer. After five weeks on the sidelines, and two missed title defenses in a major and WGC event, he returned with expectations of competing.

Those went unfulfilled. Another expectation, that of what it would take to win this championship, was a bit short-sighted.

“I thought, between 10 and 15 under would have a great chance to win, but obviously the standard is just so high these days,” he said. “I didn't see close to 20 under par winning this tournament.”


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McIlroy will take the next two weeks off and return for the second FedEx Cup playoffs event at the Deutsche Bank Championship. He’ll have another week off thereafter, as the Tour has a bye week between the second and third cup events.

The plan during that down time?

“I probably next week won't do much work on my golf; I'll just keep doing the rehab and doing everything I need to then,” he said. “And then the week after I'll start to practice and build up again and get ready for Boston."

McIlroy admitted there was some swelling in his ankle after rounds, but that it was nothing significant. "It should look like a normal ankle in two, three months," he said. As for his game, there also needs to be a little rehab, a little fine-tuning to get back to the form that led to victories in this year's WGC-Match Play and Wells Fargo Championship.

“I just need to sharpen up," he said. "I feel like ball-striking-wise, tee to green, it's there. And it's sort of been there all year. If anything,  just around the greens and being more efficient, really.”

When McIlroy returns it will be as world No. 2, according to Golf Channel calculations. After finishing his round, with Spieth still on the course and fighting to claim his third major of the season, McIlroy was asked how much being No. 1 meant to him, and his thoughts on possibly being bumped from his perch.

 “I feel like I'm playing well, but if he does go to No. 1 today, it's very deservedly so,” McIlroy said. “Winning two majors, winning a couple other times this year, had a chance at the Open, has a chance, obviously, today. And if he was to get to No. 1 today, I'd be the first one to congratulate him because I know the golf you have to play to get to that spot, and it has been impressive this year."

And he did just that after Spieth finished solo second to earn the top spot.

McIlroy will have plenty of motivation when he competes again in New Jersey. But reclaiming world No. 1, he says, won't be his primary focus.

“I've always said that winning golf tournaments takes care of all of that stuff," McIlroy said. "Right now I'm focused on just getting my game the way I think it has to be to win tournaments like this."

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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x