McIlroy tops Woodland to win WGC-Match Play

By Nick MentaMay 3, 2015, 8:50 pm

Despite playing this week with less than his best, Rory McIlroy fought his way to the final and then topped Gary Woodland, 4 and 2, to win the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship. Here’s how the final two matches finished up Sunday in San Francisco:

Championship match

The victory is McIlroy's first in the United States since last year's PGA Championship and his second worldwide in 2015, after his win at the Omega Dubai Classic on the European Tour in February.

After taking the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last summer, the world No. 1 is now the ninth man to win multiple World Golf Championships, joining Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Ian Poulter, Hunter Mahan, Dustin Johnson, Darren Clarke, Geoff Ogilivy (three), and Tiger Woods (18). He is only the second world No. 1 to win the Match Play, joining Woods, who did it in 2002, 2003 and 2008. The almost-birthday boy, who turns 26 tomorrow, also gets in just under the wire, joining Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win 10 Tour events before the age of 26.

McIlroy, who lost in the final to Mahan in 2012, advanced to the championship match after playing his final three holes in the semifinals 4 under and rolling in a 44-foot eagle putt on the 18th green to put away Jim Furyk.

Woodland, No. 50 in the world, entered the final a combined 11 under on his previous 35 holes at TPC Harding Park, but stumbled out the gates against McIlroy before falling far behind. Woodland and McIlroy halved the first three holes with birdie-bogey-bogey before McIlroy took the fourth hole with a par and extended his lead to 4 up at the turn with the help of three straight birdies.

Woodland cut his deficit in half with wins on Nos. 11 and 12 but let a struggling McIlroy off the hook with back-to-back three-putts on 13 and 14. Rather than finding himself just 1 down through 13, when he missed a 4-footer for par and halved the hole with a bogey, Woodland one hole later fell back to 3 down with four to play.

The match finally reached its end when Woodland conceded on the 16th green.

In his last six majors and World Golf Championships, McIlroy’s record looks like this: 1, 1, 1, 9, 4, 1.

Consolation match

Playing ahead of McIlroy and Woodland, Danny Willett bounced back from his semifinals loss to beat Jim Furyk, 3 and 2, and earn special temporary status on the PGA Tour for the remainder of the season.

Willett, 48th in the world, earns the exemption by virtue of earning an amount of points greater than or equal to the amount won last season by the 150th finisher on the FedExCup points list (Johnson Wagner - 323). The third-place finish is the 27-year-old Englishman’s best result in the United States in 13 career starts and follows up a T-12 at another WGC earlier this year at Doral.

All square through 11 holes, Willett seized control with birdies on 12 and 13 to go 2 up in the match and take a lead he’d never relinquish.

Still 2 down three holes later, Furyk conceded the match on the 16th hole after losing his ball in a tree.

In addition to his newly acquired status, Willett earned an extra $126,000 for winning the consolation match.

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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