McIlroy lavished with praise by Irish politicians

By Associated PressJune 20, 2011, 4:41 pm

BELFAST, Northern Ireland – An open-top bus parade is expected to honor U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy when the player described as golf’s heir apparent to Tiger Woods returns to Northern Ireland later this week.

The 22-year-old McIlroy’s record-shattering win at Congressional not only gave his tiny country a second successive victory in the tournament, but brought tributes from British Prime Minister David Cameron and enraptured his hometown of Holywood.

After residents had packed into Holywood Golf Club early Monday to watch him play, signs of McIlroy’s victory were all over town by lunchtime - from pictures of him hanging in shop windows to images of his face on cup cakes at the bakers.

McIlroy’s absence meant his uncle Colm was the center of the media spotlight, toasting his nephew’s victory by spraying champagne over the 18th tee at Holywood Golf Club.

“The pressure he was under was immense,” Colm said. “The way he won it - he just took the whole field out basically, won by eight shots, broke all U.S. Open records; the rest of them were just spectators.”

Since The Masters began in 1934, McIlroy is the second youngest major champion next to Woods.

It was a victory that united politicians in a country that has been scarred by sectarian violence for decades. Usual business in the Northern Ireland Assembly was suspended to allow members to pay tribute to McIlroy.

“I stand here tired but elated,” said Democratic Unionist Party legislator Peter Weir, who represents Holywood.

Many in the Stormont assembly highlighted the humble background of McIlroy, who emulated compatriot Graeme McDowell’s U.S. Open win 12 months earlier.

“Rory McIlroy’s emphatic win in the US Open is one of Northern Ireland’s greatest sporting moments,” First Minister Peter Robinson said. “Over the past four days, Rory played perhaps some of the best golf we have ever witnessed.

“To have led from the first day of the tournament to the last shows a maturity and composure far beyond his years.”

Another politician, Karen McKevitt, likened McIlroy’s game to that of Tiger Woods: “We have got our own Tiger. Our Celtic Tiger.”

The victory could even provide a much-needed economic jolt for an island beset by economic troubles.

“This is, apart from a personal triumph, a great victory for tourism in Northern Ireland,” Ulster Unionist legislator Leslie Cree said. “He is going to be a great ambassador for sport and a great ambassador for tourism.”

 

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Casey: RC teams planning Lyle, Celia tributes

By Rex HoggardSeptember 22, 2018, 3:58 pm

ATLANTA – Throughout this season Paul Casey has been in regular contact with European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn, with most communication being via text messages that the Englishman said always included an eclectic range of emojis.

But when the Dane decided to make Casey one of his four captain’s picks, it had to be a phone call.

“He called on Monday (Sept. 3). I was in the parking garage at the Philadelphia Marriott,” Casey said this week at the Tour Championship. “It was rewarding, emotional, so many things.”


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Since being named to the team, Casey said his communication with Bjorn and the other members of the European team has been via WhatsApp, which allows the team to share ideas and finalize plans for next week’s matches. Casey said the exchanges have mainly featured good-natured teasing and a some silly pictures, with a few serious moments.

The European team, in coordination with the U.S. team, is planning to honor Jarrod Lyle, a former PGA Tour player who died last month following his third bout with leukemia, next Thursday in France. There is a public memorial service planned for Lyle on Thursday in Australia.

Casey also said the team is coordinating a plan to also honor Celia Barquín Arozamena, a top college player from Spain who was murdered this week in Iowa.

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Another 59: Nesbitt makes PGA Tour Latinoamerica history

By Nick MentaSeptember 22, 2018, 3:17 pm

For the second time in as many days, the golf world witnessed a professional sub-60.

Drew Nesbitt fired a 12-under 59 on Saturday in the second round of PGA Tour Latinoamerica's Brazil Open.

Nesbitt's round included a bogey, eight pars, five birdies, and four eagles - three of which came on one nine and one of which was an ace at the par-3 second, his 11th hole of the day.

The Canadian closed with three straight birdies, including this one at the ninth, to record the first 59 in the tour's history.

Perhaps more impressive than breaking 60 was that Nesbitt found a way overnight to shave 20 strokes off his first-round 79.

"I knew I had to shoot a low round if I was going to make the cut," he said. "The first hole of the day, I happened to knock it in from 100 yards and get my day started pretty quickly. ...

"My goal, obviously, was just to make the cut. To do it shooting 59 was absolutely incredible. You can't really ask for anything more than that."

With rounds of 79-59 for a 4-under-138 total, Nesbitt sits in a tie for 32nd through two rounds, 10 off the lead held by 2015 champ Alexandre Rocha.

"This is a golfer's dream, to shoot a sub-60 round and to do it in a tourmament and to do on this tour especially makes it that much more special," he said.

On Friday, Oliver Fisher became the first player in history to break 60 on the European Tour with a 12-under 59 at the Portugal Masters.

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 22, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods is in the final group on Saturday at the Tour Championship. He's out at 2:30 p.m. ET with Justin Rose and we're tracking him.


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Stricker shares first-round lead in South Dakota

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2018, 12:48 am

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Steve Stricker shot a 7-under 63 on Friday to share the first-round lead at the Sanford International.

The 51-year-old Stricker was 8 under through 17 holes at chilly, rain-softened Minnehaha Country Club but closed with a bogey to fall into a tie with Jerry Smith, Brandt Jobe and David McKenzie.

Stricker only got to play seven holes in the pro-am because of rain that prevented the field from getting in much practice.

''You've just kind of got to trust your yardage book and hit to the spots and then try to make a good game plan on the way into the green, too, not really knowing where to hit it or where to miss it up there on the green. Sometimes it's good, too,'' Stricker said. ''You go around and you're focused a lot more on hitting it to a specific spot and not knowing what lies ahead in the course. So I guess today was the ultimate 'Take one hole at a time' because we didn't really know anything else, what was coming.''


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Stricker has two wins and has not finished worse than fifth in six starts this season on the over-50 tour as he continues to play a part-time schedule on the PGA Tour. Next week, he will be one of U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk's assistants at the matches outside Paris.

McKenzie, a 51-year-old Australian, had two eagles on the back nine, holing a wedge from 116 yards on the par-5 16th.

''We got told ... to play faster on No. 16, and so my caddie just said, 'Hit it in the hole so you don't have to putt it,' so I just did what he told me,'' McKenzie said.

Smith had eagles on Nos. 4 and 12.

''Honestly, I was just trying to hit some good shots and I really wasn't with the irons,'' Smith said. ''I just really didn't like the way I hit them today. You know, just the putter was the big difference for me. I just felt good with it all day, especially say outside of 10, 15 feet, where I felt like I was a lot.''

Scott McCarron, Lee Janzen and Paul Goydos were one shot back. McCarron came in second in the Charles Schwab Cup money standings behind Miguel Angel Jimenez, who is not playing this week.