Blog Entry

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

Posted on: July 28, 2011 10:14 am
Edited on: July 28, 2011 11:29 am

Reigning U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy splashed a shot into the water on the final hole of the Irish Open on Thursday morning, then waded into a controversy of a different sort entirely.

After leading for much of the back nine, McIlroy hit a risky shot from a fairway bunker on the 18th on Thursday that flew into a greenside pond, leading to a double-bogey and a 71 that left him four shots off the early lead.

Jay Townsend, a longtime commentator for the BBC who is also working this week on the European Tour Productions broadcast of the event airing on the Golf Channel in the States, was unsparing in his description of McIlroy’s sloppy round.

“McIlroy's course management was shocking,” Townsend, a former tour professional, wrote on his Twitter account.

He wasn’t through.

“Some of the worst course management I have ever seen, beyond under-10 boys' golf competition," Townsend continued.

McIlroy, 22, quickly thumbed out a feisty response that many believed crossed the line.

McIlroy quickly replied: "Shut up ... you're a commentator and a failed golfer, your opinion means nothing!"

It means something to the broadcast networks that employ him, and Townsend has been plying his trade for years, gaining a great deal of respect from his peers. Twitter followers immediately began weighing in with suggestions that McIlroy’s caddie, J.P. Fitzgerald, didn’t have enough spine to talk his man out of risky decisions.

Townsend then Tweeted that McIlroy, “should hire Stevie Williams, as I thought J.P. allowed some SHOCKING course management today.”

Later, when McIlroy called him out, Townsend wrote, “Sorry, but I stand by my comments.”

McIlroy followed with, “Well, I stand by my caddie.”

Townsend, assigned to follow McIlroy's threesome all morning, first questioned McIlroy's decision to hit a driver off the 18th tee during the Golf Channel's tape-delayed broadcast in the States. McIlroy, ranked No. 4 in the world, shoved the drive into a fairway bunker as others laid back off the tee.

To which another commentator in the Golf Channel feed, Denis Hutchinson, replied, "You don't want to tame him down too much," as he applauded McIlroy's youthful spontaneity.

That notion didn't sit well with Townsend.

Just after McIlroy yanked his approach shot and the ball was still in the air, headed toward a certain watery grave, Townsend said, "There you go, that's why you don't hit it in the bunker -- watch this. You guys talked about 'refreshing,' the way he plays. He plays silly. Several times already today."

A Golf Channel spokesman had no comment on Townsend's remarks, verbal or written.


Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: July 31, 2011 5:08 pm

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

Rory, Rory, Rory!!!!!!  I totally agree with Rory...These failed golfers, turned announcers, should be put in their place once in a while...If someone said that about Woods, half the press would commit suicide..Well NBA and the Golf Channel anyway---maybe that would be a good thing....

Do we really need golf announcers anyway?  We can tell if its a good or bad shot...We don't need this obvious 'he didn't want to do that' kind of critique do we? 

I love it...Keep it up Rory...Calling that guy a 'Failed golfer'----absolute classic--4 stars--perfect 10.....

Since: Nov 9, 2008
Posted on: July 31, 2011 5:00 pm

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

Mcllroy's comments were dead on in regard to Jay Townsend. But really who the hell cares about Jay Townsend? He's like a MLB Umpire who believes HE is an integral part of the game and therefore must also be a factor in the game. Townsend should be demoted and removed from the air as he's not the story... players are.  

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: July 30, 2011 11:37 am

Townsend overstepped his bounds first.

Townsend's comments were unprofessional and sounded as though he had a personal stake in the outcome.  Rory responded like almost any young man would.  Does anyone remember when Sergio Garcia acted like a punk at the Ryder Cup?  He is now one of golf's finest sportsmen.  Rory will grow, just as Sergio did.  
Townsend really should know better and should show more professionalism.  If he wants to write inflammatory opinions, he should do it under a fake name as an amateur in a forum like this one.  As a professional journalist, though, he really needs to show some objectivity and raise his standards.  Acting like an adult would really help, too.

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: July 29, 2011 10:08 pm

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

Wait, Rory can't state his opinion against the mighty media hordes? They have their platform, he has his.  When you twitter, you take the risk of being a twit. The social media cuts both ways. The media should grow up. Rory is a kid and he struck back. In 5 years, he'll learn to ignore trolls and useless media talking heads. Right now, he might be a tad sensitive with his personal life going through changes and his new found fame.

Don't you think this clown went a bit too far with his comparison to school boy play? I think it's great Rory reminded him of his failures. Maybe the next time, while being critical, he might show a tad more restraint and class himself. He didn't curse the guy out, he simply zinged him good. Glad to see the kid is feisty.

Go Rory!

Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: July 29, 2011 9:31 pm

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

I agree.  That was horrible.  It was an inappropriate response to commentary that I thought was a little over the top - I guess this dude is like the Europeeon Johnny Miller?  You can question the course management with out the "10 and under wee lads" comment.  As I have said earlier.  I think Rory feels that he has to seperate himself frome the field by hitting shots that 95% of them cannot hit.  Rory is young, strong, healthy, and flexible, and LOOOOONG.  He does hit a different caliber of tee shot than most of the field.  He hits it high and straight.  If Rory Boy wants to have a little fun, and entertain the fans by "going for it " on occasion, then so be it.  He gambled and lost.  It was one hole.  The problem is that the response to an offense often lands the responder in hot water.  It's like in the NFL.  Somethime at the end of a play an offensive lineman may block a couple seconds after the whistle, or a player may hit another player late.  Then the player that was hit retaliates.  The yellow flag goes in the air, and the guy that was hit late in the first place is costing his team 15 yards.  Rory should have people around him warning him about Twitting when he's pissed (that means "angry or mad" in America, not drunk, but Rorrrs probably had few pints in him as well as being upset).  The point is now Rory has made an arse out of himself.  He's going to be roundly criticized.  It hasn't been a good start to being the reigning US Open Champion for Rooorrrrry.  I say Tiger will win again twice before Rooorry does.  

Since: Nov 29, 2006
Posted on: July 29, 2011 11:17 am

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

Sorry, but Rory is 100% right on this one. Townsend could have simply questioned the course management, but he kept going back to the welll, and wouldn't let it go. He kep going on and on. And the comment about the ten year old was just over the top, and personal. McIlroy just returned the favor. Anybody who sees it any other way is a hypocrite. Can you imagine ANY announcer saying something like that about Tiger? If that would have Tiger, and an American announcer, he would have been fired. And every pundit on TV would have crucifed the announcer.

Since: Jul 3, 2011
Posted on: July 29, 2011 9:23 am

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

I do not fault Rory at all for this comment.  In fact, i respect him more now as he stood up for his caddie whom Townsend has been bashing for years.  Maybe the "failed golfer" part of his comment was a little bit uncalled for but hey, Townsend DID write that he should hire Steve Williams.  If Rory would have pipered a driver right down the middle, knocked one to 2 feet, and made Biride.......i am sure Townsend would have been saying, "what a great decision to hit driver".  Yes, he put the driver in the bunker but who is to say that if he hit an iron or fairway wood that he wouldn't have made a 10 after putting it in the rough or into a divot or anything else.  Golf is a game of risk and reward, risk and failure.  For me, playing it safe bites me in the behind more often than not.

Since: Mar 7, 2010
Posted on: July 29, 2011 1:43 am

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

I like Rory but...

he shouldn't get that big an ego that quick.  People (especially well-respected golf analysts) will criticize his game.  And replying, "shut up, you failed!"is a response that will make me not like Rory.

 maybe he was having a bad day, but what is he going to say when an everyman heckles him on the course?  "shut up, you failed, I'm a pro golfer, and I won a major"?

"That's great kid, now don't get cocky,"  Han Solo.

Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: July 29, 2011 12:35 am

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

I think the over-reaction that occurred following Rory's US Open win is hurting Rory.  It has undoubtedly put undue pressure on the lad.  
Tagging McElroy as the next Tiger, and the next big thing in golf was a typical, knee-jerk reaction by the press, and it was too much.  The course was basically plating like regular tour event, and he got hot.  It was impressive.  It was an awesome individual performance.  It was ONE tournament and Rory's 3rd win.  He's got so many distractions now - He probably feels like he has to play up to the image that has been perpetuated in the press.  Rory is other-wordly.  He is Tigeresque!  He doesn't have to lay up like all the other players.  RORY's LONG AND STRAIGHT.  If you lay back short of the bunkers, you face a 190 yard second shot.. If he could have gotten by the last bunker, he would have been well inside 150 yards.  It was a risky shot, but he probably feels like he has to seperate himself from the field.  He's the US open Champion.  He plays to a higher standard.  I dont; see him winning again for a while.  In fact I'd take even odds on Tiger winning before Rory - 

Since: Jan 13, 2008
Posted on: July 28, 2011 11:28 pm

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

All of these professionals and commentators use twitter to say things they'd never say to the other person's face.  Townsend gets paid to say things like this.  Rory should know this, and every professional golfer is guilty of questionable course management.  Why?  Because a lot of times they get away with their questionable decisions, some more than others mind you.  Had Rory pulled a fairway wood or iron for the tee shot and had the same result, the commentator would have asked why didn't he hit the driver?  Yes, Rory overreacted.  He shouldn't have tweeted anything.  He should just go out tomorrow and let his game do the talking for him.

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