Category Archives: Rory McIlroy
• McIlroy was upset McDowell discussed managerial split
• ‘I had a good chat with Graeme. Everything is good’
Rory McIlroy has sought to resolve his problem with Graeme McDowell after the world No2 became irritated at his fellow Northern Irishman for speaking out publicly about issues with the pair’s management company.
McIlroy is on the verge of splitting from Horizon, the Dublin-based management firm he has been signed to since leaving International Sports Management in October 2011. McIlroy has refused to admit as much in public but McDowell, who remains a Horizon client, told reporters of the imminent break-up during last weekend’s World Match Play Championship in Bulgaria.
“I spoke to Graeme on Tuesday afternoon,” McIlroy said. “We got back to the hotel and had a good chat. Everything is good. I am great friends with Graeme. He has been like a big brother to me on tour. I remember playing practice rounds with him at the Dunhill Links, for example, back in 2007, when I got my card. He really showed me the ropes out here for a couple of years; it’s great to have friends on tour and he is obviously somebody that I consider a very good friend.”
When pressed on what seemed a visible strain between the pair at the start of this week, McIlroy added: “It is what it is and it’s water under the bridge, and away we go.”
Contractual issues between McIlroy and Horizon mean the golfer is unwilling and unable to elaborate on the reasons behind their parting of the ways, which has been rumoured since the Masters in April.
McIlroy is expected to control more of his own affairs in conjunction with one former Horizon employee and a lawyer. During his time with the company he won one of his two majors and earned a lucrative equipment deal with Nike.
“I can’t really comment on it,” McIlroy added. “I don’t want to get myself in a position I don’t want to be in. The truth will all come out one day and I guess you’ll just have to be patient. I can’t comment on speculation at this point. You guys [the media] know that something is up, that’s fair enough, but at this point I can’t really say much more.”
Earlier, McIlroy had bizarrely claimed in a television interview: “If you want to be in the circus, you have to put up with the clowns.”
• Second round of 68 puts Westwood on six under overall
• McIlroy recovers from indifferent start to post 71
Lee Westwood surged up the leaderboard after a four-under-par 68 on day two of the Wells Fargo Championship but his Ryder Cup team-mate Rory McIlroy failed to build on his fine opening round in North Carolina.
Westwood moved into a tie for second – alongside McIlroy and one behind the early clubhouse leader, Scott Gardiner – on six under overall at Quail Hollow, after starting on the back nine and beginning with a birdie on the par-five 10th. Although he then dropped a shot on the 3rd, a run of five birdies in eight holes briefly took him to the top of the leaderboard before he dropped back with a bogey on the 7th.
McIlroy, who was in a share for the lead on five under overnight, also started on the back nine but dropped two shots to approach the turn in 38. But the Northern Irishman’s fortunes changed thereafter at the course where he won his first professional title in 2010, with three birdies on the way home to finish with a 71.
Gardiner enjoyed a productive day and ended on seven under. The Australian picked up four successive birdies en route to five under for the day to give him the edge over Westwood, McIlroy, his compatriot Rod Pampling and Jason Kokrak of the United States.
Lucas Glover, the 2009 US Open champion, is one of six players in a tie for sixth on five under overall. Elsewhere, Australia’s Brett Rumford remains in contention for back-to-back European Tour wins despite a late surge from Finland’s Mikko Ilonen in the second round of the Volvo China Open. Rumford birdied his final four holes at Binhai Lake Golf Club in Tianjin to set the clubhouse target of nine under par, which was matched by Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat. However, Ilonen then completed a flawless 63 to claim a three-shot lead.
China’s Ye Wo-cheng, the youngest player in European Tour history at 12 years and 242 days when he played his opening round, shot a second consecutive 79 to finish 14 over par and miss the cut.
• Golfer could be spared choosing between Britain and Ireland
• McIlroy may have to represent nation he played for as amateur
Rory McIlroy may have the decision over which country he represents at the 2016 Olympic Games taken out of his own hands, with legislation potentially stating he must turn out for Ireland.
McIlroy, from Holywood in Northern Ireland, has spoken of his unease over having to make a choice between Great Britain and Ireland when golf returns to the Olympic roster. The world No2 has even floated the possibility of dodging political sensitivities by opting not to play in Rio at all.
Now Peter Dawson, the chief executive of the Royal & Ancient, has revealed McIlroy may be spared the decision.
Dawson said: “I think because Rory’s history of playing for Ireland at amateur level and, I think at World Cup level, that there may be a regulation within the Olympic rules that would require him to stay with that. It’s quite ambiguous really but there is a rule that a player who has represented one nation at a previous world championships from certain countries, that carries with you.”
McIlroy has twice played for Ireland at the World Cup. Dawson added: “Is the golf World Cup a world championship? Golf isn’t structured the same way as other sports … but I would very much like to take this burden of choice away from the player if we can possibly do it because it’s not fair to him. I think he has made it pretty clear in one of two pronouncements that he’s worried about it and the last thing we want is players worrying about this.”
Dawson also highlighted his unhappiness with certain elements of the golfing fraternity in the United States, who have voiced their strong opposition to the proposed ban on anchored putting strokes. The ban, due to come into force in 2016, was subject to a comment phase which closed at the end of February.
The R&A and United States Golf Association will make an announcement on whether or not they will proceed with the ban later this year. “We have had some quite strong remarks from the PGA Tour and particularly from the PGA of America,” Dawson said. “A comment period turned into a campaign, which was a bit unusual.
“The PGA of America know my views about this. I’m disappointed at the way that campaign was conducted. It put rule-making on to the negotiating table. People have taken position that they will now have to back off from or maintain.”
Dawson stressed that the prospect of legal action against golf’s ruling bodies, should they prohibit anchored strokes, is not one which fazes him.
“The game of golf doesn’t need legal action, that’s for sure,” said the chief executive. “It would be disappointing were that to happen. Threats of legal action don’t affect rule-making. Rule-making is done on what the rules people consider is in the best interests of the game.”
The Masters 2013: Rory McIlroy hopes to repeat history by winning a major after Augusta disappointment
World No2 Rory McIlroy hopes to repeat previous triumphs, by winning a major after a disappointing Masters. Continue reading
We bring you the best images from the closing stages at Augusta National as the world’s best golfers vie for the green jacket amid smattering rainJonny Weeks Continue reading
Paul Hayward: Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen confirms potential to finish as leading European as the British fall away again . Continue reading
World No2 rues bad third round after finishing on 69 and will seek to break his season duck in Quail Hollow . Continue reading
The world No2 carded a 79, which followed his 77 in the third round in 2012, and the 80 he shot in the fourth round in 2011
The words “Big Miss” became such a mantra for Tiger Woods’s former coach Hank Haney that he used them for the title of his book. Haney worked with Woods between 2004 and 2010, and he felt that the most common mistake people made when they talked about Woods was thinking of him as a go-for-broke golfer rather than a man who is always playing the percentages. “What Tiger abhors, what he has built his career on avoiding, are the kind of mistakes that produce bogeys or worse, wild tee shots, loose approaches, blown short putts,” Haney wrote. “These are the stuff of high scores, and after such a round a player or a caddie will often lament the ‘Big Miss’.”
On Saturday, for the third year in a row, the “Big Miss” hit Rory McIlroy at the Masters, and boy was he was left lamenting it. “The margins are so very small on this course,” McIlroy said. “I don’t know what I am going to do.” To be honest he sounded a little lost for an answer or an explanation. “I feel like I played smart enough, I mean, I’m playing it the way you should play it. My strategy is right, it’s just sometimes my execution is off.”
This time it came on the 11th. He was only one under par at the time, a sound enough score in a crowded field, four shots and one hot streak off the lead as it then stood. And then it happened. McIlroy drove into the trees, just as the defending champion Bubba Watson had a few hours earlier.
And, just like Watson, he pulled out a wedge and put his second straight into the water, to the satisfaction of the few sadists who gather at Amen Corner especially to watch such scenes, and the exasperation of innumerable fans.
From there McIlroy chipped way over the green, leaving himself coming a long way back to make a triple bogey. The sages gathered in the grandstand knew, as soon as they saw the pin position, that the 11th was going to be a battle for everyone who came that way on the third day of the Masters. It was not one that many players won. There were only three birdies on it all day long, stacked up against 18 bogeys, four double bogeys, and that one solitary treble – McIlroy’s.
Then the Big Miss hit again at the 15th. His second shot there pitched on the green, then rolled right back into the water. That left him with a double bogey, which took him to six over for the round. McIlroy grumbled about the fickle wind, saying its gusts had been responsible both times. His reason may have been right, but his response was not. Exasperated, he threw his ball back into the pond at the 17th, then screwed his next drive wide to the right so he ended up making another bogey. That dropped him back to 45th place, or “palookaville” as one of the patrons put it.
Only a couple of hours earlier a buzz had been running around the course as word spread that McIlroy had made a birdie on the 3rd to move to three under par. The kid was in contention. A large gallery gathered around him in time to watch an exquisite tee shot at the awkward par three 6th, setting up a putt for birdie that pulled up just a few inches short of the hole. As he said himself: “The first six holes I played nearly perfectly.”
Then things began to go awry. At the 7th he sliced his drive into the trees and had to play a low, hard drive from out of the pine needles. It ran right up into the bunker that guards the front of the green. His first shot hit the lip and rolled back down to his feet, but his second was good enough to leave him a simple putt for a bogey. No big deal, he said to himself. “That was fine. I was only a few shots off the lead going into the 7th hole, and then all of a sudden I play the 7th through the 11th in five over par and basically my chances for the tournament are done.” His round of – you’ll wince when you read this – 79, followed his 77 in the third round in 2012, and, of course, the infamous 80 he shot in the fourth round in 2011. It could be that the scars from that round are so severe they are still healing. The fact is that McIlroy’s most consistent performance at the Masters was when he made his debut here, back in 2009. His worst round then was a mere one over par.
McIlroy could probably learn a little from Lee Westwood, who says he has spent all week “plodding around the course, like you have to when it is tricky here.” Westwood, like Woods, just wants to avoid making the Big Miss. He went around in 73, which left him two under par, tied in 10th place. His trouble is there are plenty of good players between him and the Green Jacket. Only, the world No2 is not among them.
• Relief for three Englishmen following tough second round
• ‘Very proud’ Rory McIlroy ready to mount serious challenge
There was sweet relief at the 18th for three Englishmen. Lee Westwood, Justin Rose and David Lynn all birdied the final hole to end up on three under par, tied together in seventh place.
The last pin was one of the very few to be in a forgiving position on the second day and the three were among a large group who were grateful to take advantage of it after enduring a tough time around the rest of the course. Rose’s approach shot was typical, pitching on the slope in the middle of the green, stopping, then rolling back down towards the flag while the crowd roared it on.
“There’s a lot of Sunday pins out there today,” was how Rory McIlroy put it. “So I don’t know where they’re going to put them for the next two days.”
He finished his round on two under overall, leaving him one stroke worse off. All four are well placed going into the weekend then but each is looking to improve in different areas.
Westwood, for instance, said he had not played the par-fives as well as he had on the opening day. Otherwise he felt his round was “solid” in the conditions. “I did what I needed to do, I didn’t hit the wrong places too often. I was plodding my way around the golf course like you have to when it gets tricky around here.”
Rose had been four under at the turn but made consecutive bogeys around Amen Corner, one of many players who were baffled by the gusts of wind rushing around down at the bottom of the course. He said he was frustrated by his putting. “I just need to warm my blade up,” he said.
“I haven’t made a putt in two days and I am where I am. So I’m very encouraged by that. I’m trying to stay patient right now. And typically when I’ve won tournaments that’s what’s happened.
“My putter has heated up on the weekend and I’ve been able to take advantage of my good play.”
McIlroy, on the other hand, could not have been happier with the way he was playing on the greens. His 70 included 25 putts, as opposed to the 32 he took in the first round. “The improvement in the putting from last night to today has been a big thing,” he said. “I’m committing to my lines a lot better. I think what pleased me today was just not letting it get away from me.
“I was two over through three holes and having par putts on the next four from outside six feet and being able to turn in even par was something I was very proud of today.”
Lynn and McIlroy reckoned that anything under par was a good score, because the conditions were so difficult. The highlight of McIlroy’s day was an eagle three on the 8th, made possible by a wonderful five-wood approach shot from 275yds. He believes he is now at close enough quarters to mount a meaningful challenge over the closing 36 holes.
“I’m comfortable,” he added. “I’m comfortable with my game, I’m happy with this position going into the weekend.” But then plenty of players will be thinking that same thing.
Lynn, four under overnight, made back-to-back bogeys on the 6th and 7th. “I learned a big lesson going for the flag at 7,” he said. “I managed to get out with a five. Let’s try and play smart from now on.” By “smart”, Lynn admitted moments later, he really meant “boring”. It was, he said, “nice to salvage one at the last” given that he had been so patient all day.
That was a theme for Westwood, too. “It just feels like that kind of day and the kind of week where nobody’s going to run away with it,” he said. “It’s a difficult golf course to shoot really low on so, if you can, you just keep plodding away and picking up the odd birdie now and again, making sure not to make too many mistakes.”
We look at the glorious greens and sweeping fairways at one of the most beautiful and challenging courses in the worldSteven Bloor Continue reading