Tiger owns majors, but Rory owns the media

By Jay CoffinMarch 6, 2013, 7:47 pm

DORAL, Fla. – Tiger Woods has 12 things Rory McIlroy desires. Rory McIlroy has one thing Tiger Woods needs.

The major math is simple: Woods 14, McIlroy two. The difference between the two numbers are the only assets Woods has that McIlroy should covet. Consequently, Woods should desire McIlroy’s ability to be more forthright and forthcoming.

Never was this more obvious than Wednesday at the WGC-Cadillac Championship when McIlroy sat in front of a gaggle of reporters and answered every question with an honest, thoughtful answer. The world No. 1 was getting peppered with questions regarding his ill-timed WD last week at the Honda Classic, yet handled the heat with the greatest of ease.

“I realized pretty quickly it wasn’t the right thing to do,” McIlroy said. “No matter how bad I was playing, I should have stayed out there.

“I regret what I did. It’s over now and it won’t happen again.”

Most left the interview giving McIlroy the benefit of the doubt.


Video: McIlroy at Doral, apologizes for Honda WD

Photos: Rory McIlroy through the years

WGC-Cadillac Championship: Articles, videos and photos


It was refreshing to see the 23-year-old do what he’s done so many times over the past couple years. At The Masters 11 months ago, McIlroy faced the media before the tournament and poured out his soul regarding heartbreak he experienced at the 2011 Masters when he dominated the first 63 holes and butchered the final nine.

About an hour after McIlroy won the 2011 U.S. Open he was sitting in a fairly empty interview room in the media center waiting for reporters to file in when he busted loose by taking photos of himself with his first major trophy. He had put himself under a Twitter ban for the week and it was finally time to let the excitement of the moment take over and start firing away.

That’s McIlroy, honest to a fault. That’s why last Friday’s explanation that a bothersome wisdom tooth was the reason for walking off the course at PGA National didn’t pass the smell test. If he’d have been as honest in his statement as he was to the reporters he spoke with as he exited, there wouldn’t have been as much of a fuss.

McIlroy righted a wrong. He was contrite. The only time we’ve seen Woods be contrite was following his 2009 difficulties, where being remorseful was the only option.

Sure, Woods commands an audience each time he speaks, but McIlroy commands the room when he’s on that podium. McIlroy genuinely cares what other people think and lets people know that he cares what they think. He gets it.

“Look, we, as in me and all you guys, are hopefully going to have a working relationship for the next 20 years, so I don’t want to jeopardize that by being closed,” McIlroy said Wednesday. “I feel like I’ve always been open and honest and given you guys all my thoughts and everything.

“I don’t want it to be that way where there’s friction between me and the press because at the end of the day, you guys are here because you’re reporting what we do on the golf course all over the world.

“It’s not like I want there to be a strained relationship,” McIlroy said, “because it’s going to be a long one. I hope.”

Add that to the top of the list of words Woods would never speak.

Time will tell if it’s possible to be personable and win major championships at a record clip – Jack Nicklaus largely did it, Nick Faldo did not. Perhaps McIlroy won’t achieve Woods’ heights because he’s too nice a dude. Perhaps he doesn’t have the same killer instinct that has resided in Woods the last two decades. We shall see.

Last week at the Honda Classic, Woods was asked if he had any advice for McIlroy and the pressure that goes with being the game’s top-ranked stud.

“You've just got to be more, just got to think about it a little bit more before you say something or do something,” Woods said. “It can get out of hand, especially when you get into social media and start tweeting and all those different things that can go wrong.”

Translation: Rory, don’t go overboard with information.

For years, PGA Tour players have answered questions about Woods ad nauseam and most have expounded on Woods’ importance to the Tour and have thanked him for essentially raising purses, putting more money in their collective pockets. Yet, Woods stood there Wednesday at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and wasn’t able to muster a thoughtful answer about McIlroy’s recent difficulties.

“I really haven’t read much,” Woods said. “I’ve seen a couple things on the ticker, but I’ve been watching other sporting events.

“I’m sure that most of you guys have taken it to him pretty good.”

Some did. But McIlroy walked away earning more respect than he had a week ago.

Call it a pretty good day’s work.

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

“I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

“He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''