McIlroy leaves another Tour field in his dust

By Rex HoggardMay 18, 2015, 12:07 am

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – You know how American Pharoah lapped the field on Saturday at the Preakness by seven lengths? Yeah, this was better than that.

While Rory McIlroy wasn’t vying for the second leg of the Triple Crown – or even the fourth leg of the career Grand Slam, that will have to wait until next April – his seven-stroke masterpiece was still an ominous work of art.

With apologies to American Pharoah, the 3-year-old only had to navigate a sloppy Pimlico track for his title; whereas McIlroy had to weather four trips through Quail Hollow Club’s demanding “Green Mile,” which the world No. 1 played in 1 over for the week.

But that doesn’t scratch the surface of McIlroy’s performance at Quail Hollow.

His Saturday 61 was a course record, breaking the old mark he set when he won here in 2010, and he etched 54- and 72-hole scoring records, shattering the latter by six strokes.

It was, by any measure, a signature performance somewhere just south of those eight-stroke romps at the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA Championship.

Not that the Northern Irishman was exactly caught up in the hyperbole following a closing-round 69 that was, by McIlroy’s own assessment, good enough.


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“Sort of boring, really,” he said of his 11th PGA Tour victory. “In terms of there wasn’t as much excitement on the back nine. I finished with six 3s the last time I won here. Would have been nice to finish with six 3s again.”

It’s always more with this kid.

But what this victory lacked in fireworks it made up for in foreshadowing, with McIlroy comparing his current run, which includes May victories at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play and now the Wells Fargo Championship, to his late-summer tear in 2014 when he won bookend majors (Open Championship and PGA Championship) around a World Golf Championships high card (Bridgestone Invitational).

For others, it was more akin to his PGA walk-off in 2012 at Kiawah Island where he overpowered the course and all takers.

“He just has that killer instinct. He wants it so badly,” said David Feherty, the CBS Sports on-course reporter who walked with McIlroy in ’12 at the PGA and on Sunday at Quail Hollow. “There weren’t two of those on Noah’s Ark, I can tell you that much.”

There was a time when some openly asked if McIlroy was mean enough to win events with such cutthroat efficiency, a time when his periodic competitive lapses (see PGA Tour season, 2013) were grounds to question any comparisons to Tiger Woods.

But with each passing milestone those excuses begin looking thinner than Quail Hollow’s parched fairways.

In the last three weeks, McIlroy has played 265 competitive holes on Tour with progressively better results.

Although he said on Sunday it’s his complete game that makes performances like this week possible, what separates him from the pack on these occasions is an utter fearlessness off the tee. For the week, he had 42 drives of 300 yards or more and yet still batted well over .500 (31 of 56) in fairways hit.

There were cracks on Sunday, most notably a three-putt bogey from 56 feet at the second hole which was his first three-putt in 167 holes on Tour, and as he stepped to the 16th tee to begin the “Green Mile” he took a mental note that he was just four strokes clear of Patrick Rodgers at the time.

But a 364-yard drive and tap-in birdie at No. 16 quickly robbed the landscape of whatever drama was remaining.

Beginning the day, McIlroy’s plan was simple – birdie the four par 5s and two “reachable” par 4s. Six birdies, he reasoned, would be hard to beat considering the field had already spotted him a four-stroke advantage heading into the final turn.

But then simple is what an older, wiser McIlroy seems to do best. Like last year at Hoylake, when his trigger words for the week were “process” and “spot.”

This week it was an 11th-hour meeting with putting coach Dave Stockton Sr., who spent all of three minutes working with McIlroy on Wednesday. This time the message was stay down and with the putt through impact.

“Rory likes to keep things simple, like last year at the Open Championship, and that’s what we did,” said Stockton Sr., who reconnected with McIlroy after a 13-month hiatus.

Perhaps most impressive of all, however, is how much the 26-year-old relishes his status atop the pack.

Following his WGC-Match Play victory he acknowledged that he checks the Official World Golf Ranking to see his lead every Monday. High-profile victories in recent weeks by Jordan Spieth (Masters) and Rickie Fowler (The Players) have only intensified McIlroy’s desire to dominate.

“It does push me. I think you see guys that you knew well, guys that are your peers and they’re winning golf tournaments, big golf tournaments, that you want to win,” McIlroy said. “I felt like as the best player in the world I want to go at it every week and just show that.”

Whether by seven lengths or seven strokes, McIlroy’s play this week was more than just a single victory, it’s a sign of what’s becoming the norm for golf’s fiercest racehorse.

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”