Rory clips Tiger by a shot in Duel at Jinsha Lake

By Ryan LavnerOctober 29, 2012, 8:58 am

Rory McIlroy led from the opening hole and topped Tiger Woods by a shot Monday in a wildly entertaining exhibition in Zhengzhou, China. More fascinating than any of the shots struck at Jinsha Lake, however, was the uncensored interaction between the top two players in the world.

Players were wired for sound during the pay-per-view, made-for-TV event, which only enhanced the experience for the viewer. If you didn’t mind eavesdropping, it was wonderfully enlightening.

Tiger and Rory talked equipment. After walking off the fourth tee, McIlroy grabbed Woods’ Nike iron and swung a few times. Later, they talked golf balls and spin rates. (Rory-to-Nike conspiracy theorists … unite!)

They talked swing changes. On the 10th hole, Woods admitted to “struggling with Sean (Foley),” his swing coach, saying, “I’ve been hitting my short irons so (expletive) far.” He went on to explain how he rarely took a divot with his short clubs under former coach Hank Haney, but now, though, “all of a sudden, I’m taking divots.”

They talked Honda Classic. McIlroy won the tournament in March, of course, and moved to world No. 1 in the process, while Woods closed with a stirring 62 to tie for second. “All that fist-pumping for nothing,” woofed McIlroy.

They talked Malaysia. Woods said he lost eight pounds last week in Kuala Lumpur, and that the heat was so suffocating, “it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I had sweat dripping off my shirt when I was over the ball.” Apparently, he also lost his pin sheet on Saturday, which could help explain the third-round 69 that dropped him off the pace. (He eventually finished joint fourth.)

They talked scheduling. Woods noted that this was his first full season since 2005; that he likely will dial back his number of events next season; and that, post-British Open, U.S. players are plenty busy – maybe even too busy – with the FedEx Cup and all of the late-season jet-setting.

They talked English Premier League soccer and Kiawah Island and Ryo Ishikawa, who two years ago shot 58 the same week Rory fired 62. “Smoked your (butt),” Woods quipped.

Indeed, there was no shortage of barbs, quick and pointed.

And the golf was pretty stellar, too.

They played in 3 hours, 15 minutes, chatted up and down each fairway and required little time over the ball – perhaps to avoid the incessant clicks from cellphone-wielding fans. No doubt, it was a stark contrast to their most recent encounter, two weeks ago at the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final, when Woods rarely engaged with his opponent and dusted a listless McIlroy, 64-70.

On Monday, with a light fog hovering over Jinsha Lake Golf Club for much of the exhibition, McIlroy shot a bogeyless 67 to edge his boyhood idol by one. It was just the third time in 11 rounds that the Northern Irishman has defeated Woods in head-to-head play, though it’s ill-advised to form any concrete conclusions from an 18-hole match.

“It was pretty close,” said McIlroy, who a day earlier finished second at the European Tour’s BMW Masters. “Tiger made a few birdies on the back nine, and I just tried to keep my nose in front.”

Woods, despite outdriving the 23-year-old on almost every tee shot, never led during the match. He pulled within a shot after a stellar birdie on the 14th, but proceeded to miss makeable birdie putts on 16 and 17, then sailed his approach on the final hole into the back bunker.

“We had a great match,” Woods said afterward. “It was a lot of fun, and I think everyone here enjoyed it. It’d be fun if we can do something like this again.”

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Watch that time Tiger throttled Ames, 9 and 8

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 20, 2018, 4:54 pm

Nine and eight. Three words that live in golf lore. Just say them and any golf fan can tell you what they mean.

In the 2006 WGC-Match Play, Tiger Woods faced Stephen Ames in the opening round. Ames, when asked prior to the event about his chance of winning, infamously said, "Anything can happen, especially where he's hitting it."

What happened on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at La Coasta Resort & Spa, was the most lopsided result in tournament history: 9 and 8 Check out the highlights below:

After his win, Woods was asked if Ames' comment had motivated him. Woods replied, "9 and 8."

Woods eventually lost, 1 up, to Chad Campbell in the third round. He then won his next start at Doral and went on to finish the season with six consecutive Tour wins, including The Open and PGA. He also won his first start in 2007 to make it seven consecutive Tour titles.

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Schedule change, caddie change for Casey at Match Play

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 4:12 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Paul Casey originally planned to skip the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, opting for two weeks off before the Masters.

Those plans changed when he removed the Arnold Palmer Invitational from his schedule and returned home to England last week to attend the funeral of a family friend. That adjustment also prompted a caddie change this week, with Scott Vail stepping in for the Englishman’s normal caddie, John McLaren.

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“We looked at tickets and it just didn't make sense for Johnny to fly back. We try and base our schedule around playing the best golf possible, but also having quality family time,” Casey said on Tuesday at Austin Country Club. “For Johnny to break up a nice three-week break with his family, there was no point to ruining that.”

This isn’t the first time Casey, who won the Valspar Championship two weeks ago, has needed a replacement caddie. At last year’s Travelers Championship, McLaren took a similar break and was replaced on the bag by Shannon Wallace. Although it’s not uncommon for caddies to take a week off, McLaren does have one stipulation.

“The only rule we have is that if Johnny is not going to work, he picks my caddie. So he picked the caddie,” said Casey, who is 20-12-1 in 12 starts at the Match Play and has advanced to the championship match twice.

Westchester Country Club hosted the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship. (Getty) Getty Images

Westchester selected to host 2021 U.S. Women's Am

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 20, 2018, 3:20 pm

The USGA announced Tuesday that Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y., has been selected to host the 2021 U.S. Women's Amateur. The tournament will be held Aug. 2-8, 2021.

The club's West Course first hosted the event in 1923, and it boasts a storied history of professional tournaments as well. The PGA Tour hosted the Westchester Classic, later known as the Buick Classic and eventually The Barclays, at Westchester from 1967-2007, including the first-ever FedExCup playoff event, won by Steve Stricker in 2007.

The course was also the site of the 2011 Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship, won by Fred Couples, and the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship, won by Inbee Park.

"The USGA is thrilled to bring the U.S. Women's Amateur to Westchester Country Club for the second time," Stuart Francis, USGA championship committee chairman, said in a release. "One of the USGA's three oldest championships, the Women's Amateur consistently identifies the world's top female players, and we are confident Westchester will provide the ultimate test for the championship's 121st playing."

First held in 1895, the Women's Amateur is open to players with a USGA handicap index not exceeding 5.4. Sophia Schubert won last year's event at San Diego Country Club, while this year's tournament will be held at The Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs.

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Stock Watch: Park rises again, under the radar

By Ryan LavnerMarch 20, 2018, 12:48 pm

Each week on, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


Rory (+10%): The massive drives, the fist pumps, the unmistakable strut – McIlroy finally found the spark that he needed to play confident, aggressive golf. Bring on Augusta and his shot at history.

Tiger (+7%): It was another forgettable end to a final round, but let’s not lose sight of the big picture: Five events into his comeback, Woods has now carded 10 consecutive rounds of par or better – all on tough tracks – and can be viewed as a legitimate threat at the Masters. Remarkable, really.

Inbee Park (+5%): Fighting injuries and questioning whether she should retire, the Queen ‘Bee routed a top field in just her second start back. Stud.

Bryson (+3%): When The Machine operates properly, he’s one of the best ball-strikers in the world. Yes, he’s still painfully slow, but there’s no denying his talent – his runner-up against a star-studded field should help him tremendously.

Laura Davies (+2%): Fifty-four years old and nursing an Achilles injury, she turned back the clock with one of the coolest performances of the young season, on any tour. She’s still got tons of game.


Henrik Stenson (-1%): Maybe he’s just destined to go winless at Bay Hill. In the past four years, he’s had three excellent chances to win there and came away empty-handed each time.

Rickie (-2%): Hanging near the lead, Fowler closed his third round bogey-double, then shot 74 in the final round to drop out of the top 10. Sigh.  

P-Reed (-3%): His whiny protest to a rules official about a free drop – “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth” – got even juicier when the Ryder Cup partners were drawn in the same group at the Match Play. Get your popcorn ready.

Ted Potter Jr. (-5%): His impressive victory at Pebble Beach over DJ, Phil and J-Day is looking more and more like a fluke each week. He’s now missed four consecutive cuts.

Fan behavior (-7%): Another week, another player complaining about increasingly hostile spectators. The Tour has (frustratingly) remained quiet on the issue, but the tipping point will come when one of these dopes affects the outcome on the 72nd hole.