How McIlroy recovered from catastrophe at Augusta

By Jason SobelApril 3, 2012, 6:39 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. – For such a young man, Rory McIlroy owns some powerful perspective. It’s what allowed him to rebound from last year’s torturous Masters calamity to win the U.S. Open two months later; it’s what allows him to return to Augusta National Golf Club this week without being haunted by demons.

“It wasn't the end of the world,” he says of letting a back-nine lead on Sunday slide into a T-15 result. “It's only golf. It's not like anyone died out there.”

Actually, it is. In a way.

No, sliding one arm into a sleeve of the green jacket only to have it ripped away certainly isn’t as grave nor somber a situation as death – not even close – but in coping with the loss, McIlroy in effect demonstrated the same five-step grieving process as someone overcome by personal tragedy.

Step 1: Denial and Isolation

According to bereavement research, the first reaction to dealing with loss is to deny the reality of the situation. It is a normal reaction to rationalize overwhelming emotions.

It was only natural for McIlroy to deny that his opportunity to win a first major championship title was quickly slipping away. Even as he was in the process of posting a triple-bogey on the 10th hole, it was difficult to believe that he wasn’t still the leading contender.

Then again, there may be no place more isolated for a Masters leader than the cabins to the left of No. 10; a place so isolated, in fact, that longtime observers can’t recall a competitor ever hitting his drive that far left.

“I can't believe how close the cabins are,” he says now with a laugh. “They are only 50 yards off the tee.”

Step 2: Anger

For most professional golfers in the same situation as McIlroy, the anger associated with losing such a vaunted title could last weeks or months or years or even an entire lifetime.

For him, it lasted no more than four holes.

“I knew my chance to win the tournament was over by the 13th,” he maintains. “I had five holes where I just sort of played and thought about it and, you know, could almost reflect on what happened straightaway.”

You can doubt McIlroy’s anger dissipated so quickly, but review the video now and you’ll see that when he walked off the final green as part of the final pairing, he can be seen not only talking with caddie J.P. Fitzgerald, but laughing.

Step 3: Bargaining

Feelings of helplessness and vulnerability are often accompanied by a need to regain control.

There’s no doubt that in the days following his loss, McIlroy endured several “what if” scenarios. What if he didn’t pull that drive on No. 10? What if instead of having his ball carom way left, it kicked back right toward the fairway? What if he had been able to salvage bogey instead of triple?

In order to help him cope, Rory did what nearly any grieving young person would do. He called his mom.

“It was the first time that I had cried in a long time about anything,” he recalls. “And yeah, I suppose I sort of let it all out that morning and I definitely felt better after it.”

Step 4: Depression

He had already committed to a European Tour event in Malaysia the week after the Masters, and Rory figured that competing far away from Augusta would help put the defeat out of mind for a little while.

Of course, staying in a hotel room in a foreign land leaves a man alone with only his thoughts. McIlroy was still thinking about what had taken place when he received a phone call of encouragement that he says resonated more than any other.

“The one from Greg Norman that I got a couple days after,” he reveals. “I was in Malaysia in my hotel room and, you know, he just gave me a call and he talked to me about it. I think it was great coming from him, because he had sort of been in the same position.

“I'm sure he knew how I felt. And he said a couple things to me that I found very useful and sort of put into practice, especially weeks like this where there's so much hype and there's so much buildup just to try and create this little bubble around yourself and just try and get into that and sort of don't let any of the outside interference come into that.

“That was big for me. It was just great to get the phone call from him, because I think he knew more than anyone else how I was feeling at that point.”

Step 5: Acceptance

Coming to grips with a loss is never easy. Coming to grips with losing the Masters is made eminently easier when it is soon followed by winning the U.S. Open.

McIlroy’s acceptance of his failure to claim the green jacket was undoubtedly soothed by his convincing eight-stroke victory at Congressional Country Club two months later, but a year after the fact he sounds like a different player, even a different person than the one who failed to win here.

“I learned a lot,” he says of the experience. “I think one of the things I learned was that as a person and as a golfer, I wasn't ready to win the Masters, wasn't ready to win a major. … It was a huge learning curve, learning experience and, you know, I took a lot from it and was able to put some of the things I learned into practice very quickly, and that's what resulted in winning the U.S. Open a couple months after.”

McIlroy has likely never viewed his grieving process as a psychological five-step method, but review his advancements from last year’s final round at the Masters until today and you’ll find someone who has dealt with the loss in much the same way as someone coping with tragedy.

With that experience now behind him, though never forgotten, don’t be surprised to see McIlroy once again vault himself into a scenario in which he has a chance to win the Masters. Don’t be surprised, either, if the result is much different this time around.

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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


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


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.