McIlroy goes from glory to misery

By Associated PressJuly 17, 2010, 12:39 am

135th Open Championship ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Rory McIlroy received quite a whipping from the Old Course on Friday.

A day earlier, the 21-year-old from Northern Ireland had tied the major-championship record by shooting a 9-under 63 in the first round of the British Open.

But with the wind howling – so much so that play was actually suspended for about an hour – McIlroy went tumbling down the leaderboard during the second round.

He signed for an 80.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy reacts to one of many missed putts Friday. (Getty Images)
No player had ever shot such a high score after going so low the day before in a major tournament.

“It was just very, very difficult out there,” McIlroy said. “I just let it get away from me a little bit.”

His frustration nearly boiled over at the 18th hole, when he drove up next to the green then watched his uphill putt fail to clear the ridge and roll back down. He broke into a pained smile, as if he couldn’t believe what was happening, and lined up for another whack.

This time, it held about 5 feet from the cup. McIlroy put down his marker, snatched up the ball and looked ready to scream. He gathered himself and made the par putt.

At least he’ll make the cut with a 1-under 143 total.

That was about the only thing he could take from this long, lost day at St. Andrews.

“There’s a lot of big players that have missed the cut this weekend,” said McIlroy, who went from a two-stroke lead to trailing new leader Louis Oosthuizen by a staggering 11 shots. “So at least I’m here for the weekend, which is a positive.”

The round took a turn for the worse for McIlroy when British Open officials decided to suspend play because howling winds were causing balls to wobble on the greens.

He was off to a solid start when the horn sounded, with pars on the first three holes. When he returned to the course after a delay of 1 hour, 5 minutes, he was not the same golfer.

“I don’t think they should have called us off the golf course,” he said. “When we got back out there, the conditions hadn’t changed. The wind probably got a little bit worse. It probably wasn’t a smart move.”

Suddenly, the shots that had flown so straight the day before began flying off into the tall grass lining the fairways. McIlroy had a 7-iron into the fourth green and wound up with a bogey. He bogeyed three of the next four holes as well, made the turn with a 40 and knew he was in big, big trouble.

“I felt as if I played the first three holes quite well, solid, and then I hit a good tee shot on 4 and then they called us in,” McIlroy said. “It might have been a little bit to do with it. I’m not trying to make any excuses. Even from then I didn’t hit it well and didn’t put myself in the right places to try and make any birdies or make some sort of a score.”

The round totally fell apart at the par-3 11th, which played into the teeth of the wind. He couldn’t keep his tee shot on the green, failed to get it out of the hollow on his first attempt, and wound up taking a double bogey.

“You couldn’t feel how strong the wind was at the tee box,” McIlroy said. “That was probably one of the toughest holes on the course today. I just didn’t hit it hard enough. You couldn’t hit it hard enough. It was straight back into the wind and up that hill.”

He isn’t ready to give up totally on his chances of contending for the claret jug. While Oosthuizen is five strokes clear of the field, this is only the second time in nine major appearances that he’s even made the cut. Who knows how the obscure South African will react to being a contender for the first time in an event of this magnitude.

Then again, McIlroy knows he’ll be largely at the mercy of the weather. If the wind keeps blowing the way it did Friday, there’s not much chance of making up such a large deficit by firing at the pins in hopes of making a bunch of birdies.

So he looked for what few positives he could take from the day – closing with three straight pars. Perhaps he discovered a bit of mental toughness he didn’t know he had, the kind of fortitude that will come in handy later on.

“I could have let the round get away from me, if I’m quite honest,” he said. “I was starting to get very frustrated. But I did well to par the last three holes. I’m just going to go back now and have a bit of room service and get some sleep and get ready for tomorrow.”

 

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Elway to play in U.S. Senior Open qualifier

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 10:25 pm

Tony Romo is not the only ex-QB teeing it up against the pros.

Denver Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway will try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open next week, according to the Denver Post.

And why not? The qualifier and the senior major will be held in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. Elway is scheduled to tee off May 28 at 12:10 p.m. ET. The top two finishers will earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Open, June 27 to July 1.

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Jutanugarn sisters: Different styles, similar results

By Associated PressMay 23, 2018, 10:20 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn play golf and live life differently.

The sisters from Thailand do have the same goal in the LPGA, hoping their shot-to-shot focus leads to titles.

The Jutanugarns are two of six women with a shot at the Volvik Championship to become the circuit's first two-time winner this year. The first round begins Thursday at Travis Pointe Country Club, a course six winners are skipping to prepare elsewhere for next week's U.S. Women's Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama.

''Everybody has a chance to win every weekend,'' Moriya said. ''That's how hard it is on tour right now.''

Ariya competes with a grip-it-and-rip-it approach, usually hammering a 3-wood off the tee.

Moriya takes a more calculated approach, analyzing each shot patiently.

That's perhaps fitting because she's 16 months older than her sister.

''It's funny because when we think about something, it's always the different,'' she said. ''But we pretty much end up with the same idea.''

Off the course, they're also different.

The 22-year-old Ariya appears careful and guarded when having conversations with people she doesn't know well. The 23-year-old Moriya, meanwhile, enjoys engaging in interesting discussions with those who cross her path.

Their mother, Narumon, was with her daughters Wednesday and the three of them always stay together as a family. They don't cook during tournament weeks and opt to eat out, searching for good places like the sushi restaurant they've discovered near Travis Pointe.

Their father, Somboon, does not watch them play in person. They sisters say he has retired from owning a golf shop in Thailand.

''He doesn't travel anymore,'' Moriya Jutanugarn said.

Even if he is relegating to watching from the other side of the world, Somboon Jutanugarn must be proud of the way his daughters are playing.

Ariya became the first Thai winner in LPGA history in 2016, the same year she went on to win the inaugural Volvik Championship. She earned her eighth career victory last week in Virginia and is one of two players, along with Brooke Henderson, to have LPGA victories this year and the previous two years.

Moriya won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles, joining Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam as the two pairs of sisters to have LPGA victories.

On the money list, Ariya is No. 1 and her sister is third.

In terms of playing regularly, no one is ahead of them.

Ariya is the only LPGA player to start and make the cut in all 12 events this year. Moriya Jutanugarn has also appeared in each tournament this year and failed to make the cut only once.

Instead of working in breaks to practice without competing or simply relax, they have entered every tournament so far and shrug their shoulders at the feat.

''It's not that bad, like 10 week in a row,'' Moriya said.

The LPGA is hosting an event about five miles from Michigan Stadium for a third straight year and hopes to keep coming back even though it doesn't have a title sponsor secured for 2019. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan told reporters he's confident Ann Arbor will be a long-term home for the circuit.

''I can't tell you the specifics about how we're going to do that,'' Whan acknowledged.

LPGA and tournament officials are hosting some prospective sponsors this week, trying to persuade them to put their name on the tournament.

Volvik, which makes golf balls, is preparing to scale back its support of the tournament.

''We're coming back,'' said Don Shin, president of Volvik USA. ''We just don't know in what capacity.''

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Wise: 'No hard feelings' over Nelson missed kiss

By Will GrayMay 23, 2018, 10:18 pm

Aaron Wise left the AT&T Byron Nelson with his first PGA Tour trophy and a seven-figure paycheck. But lost in the shuffle of closing out his breakthrough victory in near-darkness was his failed attempt for a celebratory kiss with his girlfriend on the 18th green.

Wise appeared to go in for a peck after his family joined him on the putting surface, but instead he and his girlfriend simply laughed and hugged. After the moment gained a bit of online notoriety, Wise told reporters at the Fort Worth Invitational that the young couple simply laughed it off.

"Yeah, I have been giving her some s--- about that," Wise said. "A lot has been made about it. It's really nothing. Like I was saying, she was just so excited to surprise me. I was kind of ruining the surprise a little bit that she was shocked, and she didn't even see me going in for the kiss."

At age 21, Wise is now one of the youngest winners on Tour. He explained that while both his girlfriend and mother flew in to watch the final round at Trinity Forest Golf Club, where he shared the 54-hole lead and eventually won by three shots, he took some of the surprise out of their arrival in true millennial fashion - by looking up his girlfriend's location earlier in the day.

Still getting used to his newfound status on Tour, Wise downplayed any controversy surrounding the kiss that wasn't.

"No hard feelings at all," Wise said. "We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was."

Mmm Visuals / Lancaster Country Club

Giving back: Chun creates education fund at site of Open win

By Randall MellMay 23, 2018, 8:04 pm

South Korea’s In Gee Chun is investing in American youth.

Chun broke through on the largest stage in women’s golf, winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago, and she’s making sure Lancaster, Pa., continues to share in what that brought her.

Chun is preparing for next week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek outside Birmingham, Ala., but she made a special stop this week. She returned to the site of her breakthrough in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Wednesday, launching the In Gee Chun Lancaster Country Club Education Fund. She announced Tuesday that she’s donating $10,000 to seed the fund. She’s expected to raise more than $20,000 for the cause in a fundraising dinner at the club Wednesday evening. The fund will annually award scholarships to Lancaster youth applicants, including Lancaster Country Club caddies and children of club employees.

“I’m excited to be back here,” said Chun, who put on a junior clinic during her stay and also played an outing with club members. “Winning the U.S. Women’s Open here in Lancaster gave me the opportunity to play on the LPGA and make one of my dreams come true.”

Chun also supports a fund in her name at Korea University, where she graduated, a fund for various “social responsibility” projects and for the educational needs of the youth who create them.

“Education is very important to me,” Chun said. “I would like to help others reach their goals.”

Chun made donations to the Lancaster General Health Foundation in 2015 and ’16 and to Pennsylvania’s J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust last year. Lancaster Country Club officials estimate she has now made donations in excess of $40,000 to the community.

“We are grateful In Gee’s made such a wonderful connection to our community and club,” said Rory Connaughton, a member of Lancaster Country Club’s board of governors. “She’s a special person.”