Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2 Rory McIlroy

By Jason SobelDecember 28, 2011, 1:00 pm

[Editor's note: Click here for the Top 10 Newsmakers selection process and article release dates.]

Two of the most memorable and relevant shots of the 2011 golf season were struck by the same player two months apart, utterly symbolic in their dichotomies.

The first occurred at the Masters Tournament. Final round, 10th hole. Holding a four-stroke advantage, the leader pulled his tee shot so far left that many longtime observers claimed they had never seen a ball travel to that outer part of the Augusta National course. Result: He made triple bogey and not only lost that lead, but posted a score of 80 to finish in a share of 15th place.

The second occurred at the U.S. Open. Final round, 10th hole. Holding an eight-stroke advantage, the leader delicately placed his tee shot on the par 3 about 4 feet above the hole, then spun it back to within inches, inciting raucous approval from the Congressional crowd. Result: He tapped in for birdie and easily cruised to an eight-shot victory for his first career major championship title.

The player in question, of course, is Rory McIlroy. And there’s a terrific chance that the latter never would have happened if it wasn’t preceded by the former.

After falling apart on the game’s grandest stage, the 22-year-old accepted the defeat and took it in stride. If his Sunday play wasn’t exemplary, his post-round interview certainly was.

“I just unraveled,” he explained. “Hit a bad tee shot on 10, and then never, never really recovered. You know, it's going to be hard to take for a few days, but I'll get over it. I'm fine.

“It's a Sunday at a major, what it can do. This is my first experience at it, and hopefully the next time I'm in this position I'll be able to handle it a little better. I didn't handle it particularly well today obviously, but it was a character-building day, put it that way. I'll come out stronger for it.”

It didn’t take long, either. Just two months later, at the very next major, the U.S. Open turned into the McIlroy Monument in the nation’s capital, as the precocious youngster stamped his place amongst the greats with a momentous wire-to-wire triumph that recalled memories of a young Tiger Woods.

Afterward, the Masters bounce-back wasn’t far from his mind.

“I felt like I got over the Masters pretty quickly,” he said. “I kept telling you guys that and I don't know if you believed me or not … Nice to prove some people wrong.”

This will be remembered as a year that McIlroy proved he can not only be dominant on the course, but off of it, as well. He made international headlines for breaking up with his longtime girlfriend and starting a relationship with Caroline Wozniacki, the world’s No. 1-ranked tennis player. He created news by severing ties with super-agent Chubby Chandler, electing to be represented by the group that handles good friend Graeme McDowell instead. And he ascended to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, his seemingly predestined jaunt toward the top spot still on the ascension.

More than anything, though, McIlroy’s year will be most memorable for his Masters snafu and U.S. Open supremacy. He was clearly one of the season’s biggest newsmakers – and will continue to serve in that role for a very long time.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. 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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. 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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.