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: Nov 7, 2010
Posted on: July 28, 2011 12:06 pm

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

Good for McIIroy, the commentators have a bully pulpit to share their biased opinions without much qualification.  If Townsend was more honest he would have said "there you go, in the drink out of the bunker, just like I did when I tried to make it on tour."

Commentators should just stick to what they know.  Leave the insightful stuff to John Madden.

Since: Nov 7, 2010
Posted on: July 28, 2011 11:58 am

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

Great post.  Its not fair that the commentators get to cast their opinions out there in a one-way media outlet with no real option for the players to defend their actions.  Sounds like the commentator's opinions are generally wrong since he was a failed golfer in his own right.

Since: Jan 8, 2009
Posted on: July 28, 2011 11:53 am

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open


Since: Dec 6, 2009
Posted on: July 28, 2011 11:34 am

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

This media person did exactly what he set out to do.  He caused a controversy and is now in the spotlight.  He caused a perfectly polite young man to make a rude comment and now the story isnt about McIlroy, it is about him.  Media people, including Hollywood,  have a sickness.  They need the story to be about them.  They need to be on TV, radio or in magazines because that is how they gain exposure.  More exposure creates more interest in their services, which makes them more money.  

This is a pathetic attempt by a has-been to stay in the spotlight.  We'll see how the Golf Channel handles this.  If they continue to have this rube follow McIlroys group, they as much to blame.

Since: Feb 2, 2008
Posted on: July 28, 2011 11:31 am

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

Yep, use that line that will get you an "F" in school. "...that many believed crossed the line." I'm sure your journalism professor - if you actually graduated - is thrilled at that.

So Townsend gets respect from his peers. Well, tell me about how much respect he gets from the people that really count. I.e. that does not include the media. If he had great respect among the players, I'd take his comments a little more seriously.

I'd also take his comments a little more seriously if Rory had shot a 75. He shot a 71 for Christ's sake and is only 4 shots back of the lead. If Rory goes on to win the Irish Open, will he get an apology from Townsend? Because surely it means that Townsend shot himself in the foot.

Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: July 28, 2011 11:26 am

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

This begins the Tigerization of Rory.  Right now he gets a pass for being rude (he's brash) inconsiderate (he's young).  Wait till he has one personal failing and suddenly  all of the media will turn on a dime and start noticing all the bad behavior that they had previously given him a pass on.  I knew the hype on this kid was bogus.  The media kept saying he was the anti-tiger - respectful and a good kid and plays the right way.  Now we see he is just like Tiger - great golfer but not a very likeable human being.

Since: Apr 19, 2010
Posted on: July 28, 2011 11:18 am

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

The guy is the #4 golfer in the world playing the way he plays.  Why should he change and why should he care what some nobody thinks?  The new generation golfers are all risk takers.  They have grown up watching Phil and Tiger hit incredible shots from horrible positions and that's how they have modeled their games.  No caddy will change that and neither will a few comments form a commentator.

Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: July 28, 2011 11:15 am

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

Good for the young Irishman.  Stand up for yourself.  Never met an Irishman afraid of doing that anyway....

I don't care what sport it is, a higher percentage of commentators/sports writers make ridiculous comments all the time.  From Football to Baseball to Golf to etc....

"How can you make that throw into double coverage, what are you thinking!!"

"3 and 2 count, called 3rd strike and they have to swing if it's can't go down looking in that situation!!"

Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: July 28, 2011 11:02 am

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

If Rory makes the shot the same writer would say "Rory has brass balls and ice water in his veins"

Since: Jun 4, 2009
Posted on: July 28, 2011 10:49 am

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

Good for Mcllroy, all he did is say what most of the other golfers AND the fans think on a regular basis when a commentator makes a stupid statement like this. There are some classy commentators out there, and I'm not familiar with Townsend so I wont' say he isn't one of them. However if want to say provocative things to get yourself noticed, such as saying that a golfer that won a major within the last couple months has "some of the worst course management I has ever seen", then you should be ready for some backlash. That statement is idiotic. Mcllroy is right, it sounds like this guy is thinking "well if I were out there, I wouldn't have taken that shot". Which is true, because your not good enough to be out there in the first place Townsend. Point Mcllroy.

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