McIlroy says he can handle pressure of stardom

By Associated PressJune 22, 2011, 2:51 pm

LONDON – Newly crowned U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy is confident he can handle the pressure that comes with being considered the apparent heir to Tiger Woods.

Comparisons were naturally made between McIlroy and Woods after the 22-year-old Northern Irishman swept to his first major victory in record-breaking style at Congressional on Sunday.

His status will undoubtedly soar as a result but McIlroy said Wednesday he will try to stay as grounded as possible to keep his career on an upward curve.

“With success comes expectation and I know the expectation on me is going to be pretty high,” McIlroy said.

“I expect big things from myself but as long as I can keep the commitment and dedication and put the hard work in, I don’t see why there’s any reason not to handle it OK.”

McIlroy won the U.S. Open by an eight-shot margin, reviving memories of Woods’ first grand-slam title – a 12-shot victory at The Masters in 1997 at the age of 21.

Considering McIlroy had previously won just two tournaments in his professional career, it was a surprise how easily he blew the field apart over the four days.

“Last week was fantastic, incredible,” he told Sky Sports. “The golf I played, I’d never played before in my life. I just hope I can keep it going.”

McIlroy returned to Britain on Tuesday and was back 24 hours later at his hometown club in Holywood, near Belfast, the course where he was groomed to be a star.

These are good times to be a golf fan in Northern Ireland – 12 months ago, McIlroy’s compatriot Graeme McDowell came back from the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach armed with a first major title.

McIlroy said McDowell’s victory was inspirational.

“I remember going up to Portrush and seeing Graeme when he came back home, and it’s nearly exactly a year later that I’m doing the same thing,” McIlroy said. “What Graeme did last year at Pebble Beach definitely inspired me to go on and believe that I can win major championships, to follow in his footsteps and bring the trophy back to Northern Ireland.

“To think that no European had won it in 40 years before Graeme and then the two of us won it back to back. Growing up in tough (golf course) conditions, like the U.S. Open usually is, probably helped us but I don’t think you can explain having two back-to-back U.S. Open winners from a country of 1 1/2 million (people).”

McIlroy is taking the next three weeks off. His first event back is the British Open at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, southeast England, starting July 14.

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 23, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods has a three-shot lead entering the final round of the Tour Championship and is alongside Rory McIlroy in the final group. We're tracking him.


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Rose tries to ignore scenarios, focus on winning

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:59 am

ATLANTA – No one has more to play for than Justin Rose on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

The Englishman will begin the day three strokes behind front-runner Tiger Woods after a third-round 68 that could have been much worse after he began his day with back-to-back bogeys.

Winning the tournament will be Rose’s top priority, but there’s also the lingering question of the FedExCup and the $10 million bonus, which he is currently projected to claim.


Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“The way I look at tomorrow is that I have many scenarios in play. I have the FedExCup in play. I have all of that to distract me,” Rose said. “But yet, I'm three back. I think that's my objective tomorrow is to come out and play good, positive golf and try and chase down the leader and win this golf tournament. I think in some ways that'll help my other task of trying to win the FedExCup. It'll keep me on the front foot and playing positive golf.”

Although there are many scenarios for Rose to win the season-long title, if Woods wins the Tour Championship, Rose would need to finish fifth or better to claim the cup.

There’s also the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking to consider. Rose overtook Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world with his runner-up finish at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. He will retain the top spot unless Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka or Johnson win the finale and he falls down the leaderboard on Sunday.

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McIlroy needs putter to heat up to catch Woods

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:29 am

ATLANTA – Although Rory McIlroy is three strokes behind Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship and tied for second place he had the look of a man with a secret when he left East Lake on Saturday.

Trying to play catch up against Woods is never ideal, but McIlroy’s confidence stemmed from a tee-to-green game that has been unrivaled for three days.

“I definitely think today and the first day were similar,” said McIlroy, whose 66 included birdies at two of his final three holes. “I gave myself plenty of chances, and I think the biggest thing today was only just that one bogey. Got to put your ball in the fairway, put yourself in position, and for the most part, I did that today.”


Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


For the week McIlroy ranks first in strokes gained: off the tee, third in strokes gained: approach to the green and second in greens in regulation. But to catch Woods, who he will be paired with, he’ll need a much better day on the greens.

The Northern Irishman needed 30 putts on Day 2 and ranks 23rd, out of 30 players, in strokes gained: putting.

McIlroy skipped the first playoff event, opting instead for an extra week at home to work on his swing and the move has paid off.

“I hit the ball well. My wedge play has been really good,” he said. “I've done a lot of work on it the last few weeks, and it seems to have paid off.”

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Glover trails Straka at Web.com Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 12:19 am

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Sepp Straka moved into position Saturday to earn a PGA Tour card in the Web.com Tour Championship, shooting a 7-under 64 to take the third-round lead.

With the top 25 earners in the four-event Web.com Tour Finals getting PGA Tour cards Sunday, Straka birdied the final three holes to reach 18-under 195 - a stroke ahead of Curtis Luck, Lucas Glover and Denny McCarthy at Atlantic Beach Country Club.

''It's always good to get an extra birdie in late. I got three of them to finish, which was nice,'' Straka said. ''It's very bunched up there, so you can't really take off, you've got to keep the pedal down and see where you end up at the end.''

Straka entered the week tied for 80th in the card race with $2,744. The 25-year-old former Georgia player from Austria won the KC Golf Classic in August for his first Web.com Tour title. He finished 31st on the money list to advance to the four-tournament series.

''My ball-striking is really good,'' Straka said. ''It's been good all week. It's been really solid. I really haven't gotten in a whole lot of trouble and have been able to capitalize on a good number of chances with the putter. Hit a couple of bad putts today, but some really good ones to make up for it.''


Full-field scores from the Web.com Tour Championship


Luck also shot 64. The 22-year-old Australian went into the week 16th with $41,587.

''Obviously, it just comes down to keeping that momentum going and trying not to change anything,'' Luck said. ''That's the really important thing and I felt like I did that really well. I played really aggressive on the back nine, still went after a lot of shots and I hit it close a lot out there.''

Glover had a 68. The 2009 U.S. Open champion entered the week 40th with $17,212.

McCarthy shot 67. He already has wrapped up a card, earning $75,793 in the first three events to get to 11th in the standings.

The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.