A great year, but McIlroy isn't finished

By Jason SobelAugust 20, 2014, 7:54 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. – Welp - so much for the Rory McIlroy Era.

This so-called superstar hasn’t won a damned thing in a week and a half. Hasn’t broken par in a competitive round. Hasn’t even made a single birdie.

In today’s “What have you done for me lately?” society – “the tyranny of now,” as it’s been called – we not only expect more from a player like McIlroy, we demand it. And quite frankly, he hasn’t delivered.

Never mind the fact that he hasn’t played during this time. That’s a mere footnote to this story.

OK, maybe not.

Maybe it’s time to turn off the sarcasm font and get serious.

After all, if McIlroy can win the Open Championship followed by the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational followed by the PGA Championship and still be wearing his game face entering this week’s Barclays, then the rest of us should be able to maintain a modicum of sincerity, as well.


The Barclays: Articles, videos and photos


Judging by his demeanor so far, it doesn’t appear as if quenching his thirst by drinking out of each of those trophies has diminished his hunger for winning more of them.

McIlroy is just the fifth player since 1980 to win three consecutive PGA Tour starts and this week will attempt to join Tiger Woods as the only players to win more than three in a row.

If that statistic alone isn’t enough to motivate him for the upcoming stretch run, then he’ll rely on something slightly less tangible instead.

“I think it would be a shame,” he offered, “if I'm playing this good golf and to just say, ‘Look, you know, I've had a great year, it's been an awesome summer;  I'm going to just see what happens for the next few weeks and not really work hard.’ But I want to finish the season well. I want to be up there in contention week in, week out. I feel like the season I had, it deserves a finish like that.”

Those only sound like uncharacteristically wise words from a 25-year-old if you fail to consider exactly which 25-year-old is the source.

McIlroy’s maturity level on the course is equaled by his wisdom off of it, which might help to explain why he hasn’t parlayed these three recent victories into a devil-may-care attitude. In fact, getting back into competition may be the only normalcy he’s seen in a while.

“Obviously I'm coming off the back of a few good weeks and I'm just trying to keep it going for as long as I can, try and keep the momentum going, and actually I'm happy to be back on a golf course and into sort of a regular routine again,” he explained. “The last week or so has been pretty hectic. It's nice to get back to what I do and get back into some routine, and excited to get playing again.”

There’s an interesting dichotomy between McIlroy’s attitude now and at this point last year. Back then, he was wrestling with a trying campaign that hadn’t yielded a win yet, more than eight months after public criticism following his switch to Nike equipment.

Having seen the game’s highs and lows so recently, he was asked Wednesday which generated more internal pressure: Attempting to succeed after months of failure or on the heels of so much previous success?

“You haven't won for a while and you're almost trying too hard in a way, where it seems when you get on a run like this and momentum is on your side, everything just sort of falls away,” he said. “Like a lot of things fell my way at the PGA a couple weeks ago that helped me win there.

“Both scenarios bring their own pressures, but I think it's definitely when you're on a run like this, it's definitely easier to get the job done rather than if you haven't won in a while.”

While we’re on the subject of comparison, this current run much more resembles that of his 2012 late-season rally, when he claimed the PGA Championship and two FedEx Cup playoff events, only to finish second in the overall points standings.

For others, it might be difficult to remain motivated to win the PGA Tour’s end-of-year series after joining history with a pair of major titles, but McIlroy is continuing to use these impending events as further motivation.

“It's a big four weeks coming up. It's one of the only things that I haven't achieved in this game is winning the FedEx Cup. I came close in 2012. It would be great to finish off what has been my best year to date with a victory there.”

Those aren’t the words of a player ready to pack it in and keep filling up his trophies. They sound like a guy ready to win more of ‘em.

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PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm

Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.