Accepting captaincy would be 'difficult decision' for Clarke

By Will GrayJanuary 11, 2013, 1:38 pm

With the expected announcement of Europe's 2014 Ryder Cup captain only days away, Darren Clarke added yet another wrinkle with comments at this week's Volvo Golf Champions.

'I played my best golf for about 18 months toward the end of last year,' the Ulsterman explained to the British publication The Sun. 'If they asked me to do it at Gleneagles (in 2014) it would be a difficult decision.'

After largely struggling on the course since his British Open triumph in 2011, Clarke showed glimpses of his former game at the tail end of 2012, including a tie for eighth at the Australian PGA Championship. He has been mentioned for months as a co-favorite for the 2014 captaincy along with Dubliner Paul McGinley, although 2010 captain Colin Montgomerie has recently joined the consideration largely based on comments made by Clarke last month that the European leader would need a 'huge presence' to oppose U.S. skipper Tom Watson.

In 2005, the European tournament committee announced two captains at once, naming Ian Woosnam the 2006 captain and at the same time handing the 2008 team to Nick Faldo. Many, including former captain Bernard Gallacher, believe a similar situation could play out next week with McGinley and Clarke. 

'I would go for Paul at Gleneagles and Darren in America (in 2016) where he is very well known,' explained Gallacher, who served as European captain three times from 1991-1995. 'I think a twin appointment would be perfect. There is a precedent and it is a good way out when two players are in the running.'

What appeared to be a two-man race for many weeks became somewhat muddled with the re-emergence of Montgomerie. Henrik Stenson - who first added Montgomerie's name for the 2010 captaincy during the Scot's whirlwind nomination process - was rather tepid toward the notion of McGinley serving as captain in 2014, possibly paving the way for a second run for Montgomerie.

'Whether Gleneagles is Paul's only chance, I'm not sure,' Stenson told reporters this week in South Africa. 'There are a lot of other great European players who have not been appointed European Ryder Cup captain.'

The short list of contenders will likely not change in advance of the European Tour's tournament committee meeting Tuesday in Abu Dhabi. Despite the various reports circling, European bookmaker Betfair lists McGinley currently as their 5-6 favorite, according to the Irish Golf Desk. Montgomerie is next at 5-2, while Clarke is listed only slightly further back at 11-4.

Getty Images

Watch: Pieters snaps club ... around his neck

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 1:19 pm

After opening in 3-over 75, Thomas Pieters was in no mood for more poor play on Friday.

Unfortunately for Pieters, he bogeyed two of his first three holes in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship and then didn't like his second shot at the par-5 fourth.

Someone - or some thing - had to pay, and an innocent iron bore the brunt of Pieters' anger.



Pieters made par on the hole, but at 5 over for the tournament, he was five shots off the cut line.

It's not the first time a club has faced Pieters' wrath. 

Getty Images

Woods would 'love' to see Tour allow shorts

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:59 pm

Players on the European Tour are allowed to wear shorts during practices and pro-ams.

The PGA of America permitted players to show some leg while prepping for last year’s PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods would like to see the PGA Tour follow suit.

"I would love it," he said Thursday in a Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf. "We play in some of the hottest climates on the planet. We usually travel with the sun, and a lot of our events are played in the summer, and then on top of that when we have the winter months here a lot of the guys go down to South Africa and Australia where it's summer down there.

"It would be nice to wear shorts. Even with my little chicken legs, I still would like to wear shorts."

Caddies are currently allowed to wear shorts on Tour, during events.

Getty Images

Feasting again: McIlroy shoots 65 to lead BMW PGA

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:04 pm

Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET

Rory McIlroy made seven birdies and no bogeys on Friday for a 7-under 65 and the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship.

After opening in 67, McIlroy was among the early groups out on Day 2 at Wentworth Club. He made three birdies and no bogeys on the par-35 front nine on Friday, and then went on a run after the turn.

McIlroy made four consecutive birdies, beginning at the par-5 12th. That got him to 12 under, overall, and gave him a clear advantage over the field. With two closing par-5s, a very low number was in sight. But, as he did on Day 1, McIlroy finished par-par.

"I've made four pars there [on 17 and 18] when I really should be making at least two birdies, but I played the other par-5s well," McIlroy said. "It all balances itself out."


Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship


McIlroy has made 14 birdies and two bogeys through two rounds. At 12 under, he has a three-stroke lead over Sam Horsfield.

"The work has paid off, to some degree," McIlroy said of his practice with swing coach Michael Bannon. "I still feel like I'm hitting some loose shots out there. But, for the most part, it's been really good. If I can keep these swing thoughts and keep going in the right direction, hopefully this is the type of golf I'll be able to produce."

This event has been feast or famine for McIlroy. He won here in 2014, but has three missed cuts in his other three starts. This week, however, he’ll be around for the weekend and is in position for his first European Tour victory since the 2016 Irish Open and his second worldwide victory of the year (Arnold Palmer Invitational).

"I have the confidence that I'm playing well and I can go out and try to just replicate what I did the day before," McIlroy said about his weekend approach with the lead. "On the first tee box tomorrow I'll be thinking about what I did today. Trying to just keep the same thoughts, make the same swings. I went a couple better today than I did yesterday. I'm not sure I'll keep that progression going but something similiar tomorrow would be nice."

Getty Images

Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."