McIlroy continues torrid play

By Jay CoffinAugust 8, 2014, 12:12 am

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – There are two distinctly different ways to analyze the PGA Championship leaderboard. Both ways include Rory McIlroy.

First, he’s not leading. We’re assured that this will not be the same wire-to-wire runaway feat that we witnessed a month ago at the Open Championship. Sure, McIlroy came from behind to win the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last week at Firestone, but this week he’s given others hope for another day.

The second way to dissect the leaderboard is a little more terrifying. Essentially McIlroy spotted the field two shots when he made a silly double bogey on a rather easy par 5 and after shooting 5-under 66 he’s only one shot behind leaders Lee Westwood, Kevin Chappell and Ryan Palmer.

Pick your poison.

“I think one of the big things for me, especially in major championships, is getting off to good starts and being right up there at the start,” Mcllroy said.

Seriously, the way McIlroy is playing right now is a sight to behold. Sure, the course was soft and there are myriad under-par scores. Sure, three dudes played better than him on this humid day. But none are chasing their second major title within the past month.

This is heady stuff.

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The 25-year-old now has recorded seven rounds of 67 or lower in the first round of major championships since 2010 (Westwood is the next closest with five). He’s a combined 22 under par over his last five major championship rounds. McIlroy’s scoring average in the last nine rounds is 66.89 and he’s been inside the top five of the leaderboard in eight of his last nine rounds on the PGA Tour. Ridiculous.

“Technically my swing is in a very good place,” he said humbly. “I think the big thing for me, I’m able to shift the ball both ways.”

McIlroy was extremely quiet for the first six holes and was 1 under par. The next nine holes, however, turned into a thrilling ride that makes some of Phil Mickelson’s rollercoaster rounds look rather ordinary.

A routine two-putt birdie on the par-5 seventh hole and another birdie from 7 feet had McIlroy turning at 3 under and squarely in contention.

When McIlroy bombed another trademark drive long and straight on the par-5 10th hole, he was thinking eagle over the approach shot of only 230 yards. But he hit a nasty hook that went screaming 30 yards left and out of bounds. McIlroy dropped another ball where he was standing and hit another hook that wasn’t as severe as the first. He found it, failed to get up and down and made a double-bogey 7. Bogey at the next hole dropped McIlroy back to even par.

“Very, very hot,” is how many would explain how well McIlroy is playing over the past month, but it’s how he described his temperament after that two-hole stretch that he played in 3 over.

“It sort of knocked me off track a little bit because it’s one of the only bad shots I’ve hit in a few weeks,” he said. “What I was really angry about was, OK, you make a 7, that’s fine, but you don’t compound that error and make a bogey on the next hole with a three-putt.

“Walking on to the 12th tee, I was muttering a few things to myself.”

Then McIlroy, as most great champions do, promptly rattled off four consecutive birdies, and closed with birdie on the par-5 last that looked like it could be an eagle before the 30-footer drifted an inch to the right at the last moment.

McIlroy’s driving prowess continues to be the star of the show. He was in complete control again off the tee and missed only two fairways. His iron play was a little scraggly – he missed five greens – but that was negated because he needed only 27 putts to negotiate the Valhalla greens.

“Obviously he’s playing great right now,” said playing partner Bubba Watson. “He’s probably playing the best of anybody, as the record shows the last few weeks. Very solid, very in control of everything.”

Nasty, rainy weather is expected to move through Louisville on Friday and could make the course softer, and prone to even more birdies. If, somehow, you think that doesn’t help young Rory, dial your memory back to the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional, the first of McIlroy’s three dominant major victories.

“No matter what happens I feel like it’s a great setup for me regardless if there is weather coming in or not,” McIlroy said. “You look at the three wins I’ve had (in majors) and I’ve started really well in each of them. It’s important and it’s great to get off to another one today.”

Which is an ominous sign for everyone else tomorrow.

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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.