McIlroy not fretting over slow start, increased scrutiny

By Randall MellFebruary 26, 2013, 8:20 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Rory McIlroy says he isn’t fretting over his slow start to the 2013 season.

The No. 1 ranked player is looking for some good mojo at his new American home to jump start the new year. 

He didn’t just win The Honda Classic last year. He vaulted to No. 1 in the world with the title. The Northern Irishman relished the South Florida atmosphere so much he bought a $10-million home two months ago in Palm Beach Gardens, just 10 minutes from PGA National, home to the Honda Classic.

McIlroy is looking to turn around some sluggish momentum this week. He started the year with a giant new endorsement deal with Nike and promptly missed the cut at Abu Dhabi in his 2013 debut. He followed that up last week getting bounced from the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

McIlroy isn’t surprised there’s scrutiny over his equipment switch. CBS and Golf Channel analyst Nick Faldo called it dangerous. NBC’s Johnny Miller called it a gamble.

“It's fine, I knew coming in it was going to be a bit of a process, and I knew there were going to be comments if it didn't happen for me right way,” McIlroy said. “I'm only two tournaments into the season. I've still got more than 20 to go. So it's not like I'm in any rush. It’s not like I'm pushing for answers, or I'm looking for answers. Everything's there. It's just a matter of putting it all together.”

McIlroy said he is adjusting to new equipment, but his issues at Abu Dhabi and Match Play weren’t about the equipment.

“It's more about how I'm swinging the club,” McIlroy said. “That's the real concern, not concern for me, it's not a concern, but I would like to get back to where I was, say, the middle of last year. Because if you put my swing now up the way I was swinging it last year, it's chalk and cheese. So that's the real thing that I'm working on.”

McIlroy said he got himself into some bad habits.

For the swing analysts out there, here’s McIlroy’s breakdown of what’s out of sync in his swing: “Yeah, basically, the club is going a little too far on the outside on the way back, and, coming into the ball, it's a little bit too far on the inside, so it's getting underneath the plane. So, the club's pointing right in the delivery position, and it's either starting there, and staying there, which is what happened last week. Or, I'll try and save it with my hands, and I'll turn it over too much.  That's the big thing.  It's just about trying to get it more on line on the way back and lift it. Basically the club gets trapped behind me and I get stuck, and from there, it's difficult.  Your timing needs to be perfect to be able to save it, and when it's not, you're just slightly off.”

Getty Images

Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
Getty Images

Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

Getty Images

Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

Getty Images

Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”