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

Rory makes wrong sort of waves at Irish Open

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.

Posted on: July 29, 2010 12:00 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 12:27 pm

Rules decisions that clearly don't Rock

For civilians who enjoy the game mostly from the comfy confines of their couches, D.Q. is mostly shorthand for Dairy Queen.

For tournament golfers, it's a red flag that means somebody screwed up royally and has been given a spiked foot in the rear end: Disqualified for a rules infraction.

That's what happened to England's surging Robert Rock in the first round of the European Tour's Irish Open on Thursday, moments after he signed for a 65 that gave him the clubhouse lead.

Rock, who finished second at the Irish Open last year and had a stellar T7 finish at the British Open two weeks ago at St. Andrews, was kicked to the curb for signing an incorrect scorecard. The new wrinkle here is that the numbers weren't wrong, just out of order when he mistakenly transposed scores on consecutive holes.

In this day and age, we should generally applaud anything that clings to the vestiges of tradition. But in an era of electronic scoring and gazillion-dollar purses, blowing a guy out the door for such a minor infraction -- no advantage was gained and the round was complete -- seems unfairly punitive.

On the PGA Tour, each group is accompanied by a roving volunteer scorekeeper, armed with an electronic device that beams scores for that particular pairing to a mainframe computer. Thus, when player finishes, his hand-written scorecard is compared to the scores kept by a playing partner and those listed in the computer.

With all the modern computer firepower at hand, and given the vast sums of money and professional livelihoods at stake, should an unintentional, minor bookkeeping error enough to cost a guy a week's pay?

Rock didn't gain any advantage with the error, which might represent the most head-scratching ruling since veterans Mark Roe and Jesper Parnevik were booted from the British Open a few years back after signing for the proper scores, but while writing their numbers on the other man's scorecard.

Sure, it's the letter of the law. It's the player's responsibility. Sergio Garcia got DQd from the PGA Championship in Tulsa when Boo Weekley screwed up his score.

The focus ought to be, first and foremost, to get the totals right. Rock rightly signed for a 7-under 65, which hours later was still within one stroke of the outright lead. You could shrug it off as saying that the punishment doesn't fit the crime, but was there a crime committed at all?

What would be said if this happened to Tiger or Lefty?
Category: Golf
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