Tag:rory mcilroy
Posted on: February 26, 2012 11:19 pm

Winners and losers from a great match play week

Hunter Mahan leads our list of winners from the Accenture Match Play. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

The Accenture Match Play is our first really big tournament of the season, and with so many talented people involved, it brings us our first winners/losers of 2012. So who killed, and who tanked? Read on and see ...


Hunter Mahan -- Obviously. Mahan played some incredibly inspired golf, beating some big names in the game and stepping up to Rory McIlory, who was playing for something much bigger than just the Marana trophy. Also, with his recent Presidents Cup success, Mahan has shown he’s a match play titan, and is music to Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III’s ears. 

Ping Golf -- They had three of the top four finishers rocking their new equipment, and the talk of the week was Mahan’s new Nome putter that seemed to help Hunter knock in just about any big putt he needed to make. 

Mark Wilson -- This guy needs to be known more than he is, and this week showed that no matter how short he hits it off the tee, his iron play and short game are second to none. Wilson has won three PGA Tour events in just over 13 months. People need to start acknowledging him as an A-class player in golf. 

Sang-Moon Bae -- Look at the list of players Bae knocked off before losing to Rory Mcilroy; Ian Poulter, Charl Schwartzel, and John Senden. Sure, the last wasn’t the biggest name possible, but Bae made McIlroy sweat, and showed that he’s a name we must remember when major championship week rolls around. 


Rory McIlroy -- Yes, he made it to the finals, and yes, he nearly became the top dog in golf, but if McIlroy wants to be The Man, he must close these types of tournaments out. He has played some incredible golf over the last few months, but winning is everything, and his game in the finals seemed shaky at best. 

Tiger Woods -- Anytime Tiger isn’t in the hunt he’s considered a loser, but boy did he look lost this week with his golf swing. When the season started I thought Woods was close with his game. Now? I’m not so sure even he could be convinced he’s ready to win a PGA Tour tournament. 

Luke Donald -- You’re the number one ranked golfer in the world, and no matter who you’re playing, you can’t lose in the first round of a tournament you’re defending. Donald showed that while the rankings say he’s the best, his game might not agree. 

Rickie Fowler -- Another week, another disappointment. I think Fowler is a good player, but it seems his name rings louder than his game. Fowler lost in the first round to a veteran that admitted after his match that he’d spent the last week away from golf. Not the best endorsement for Fowler’s time to win PGA Tour events. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter.
Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:26 pm

Lee Westwood's drive ends up in fan's sweater

Lee Westwood's drive ends up in a tough spot. (Twitter)
By Shane Bacon

A lot of the game of golf revolves around where your ball ends up. It could be in a bunker, a cactus, a divot or in the hole. 

For Lee Westwood in his semifinals match against Rory McIlroy, one of his drives was very, very unplayable. On the 13th hole, Westwood missed his tee shot left, only to find it in the sweater of a fan watching the action. 

The photo to your right, taken by the AP’s Doug Ferguson, shows just what kind of shot Westwood faced when he walked up to his ball. 

Westwood’s caddied joked to the lady, “Would you mind walking 250 yards further” before getting a drop and making a par which lost him to the hole to McIlroy, but one fan will always have the memory of how the heck a golf ball ended up in her sweater. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter.   

Posted on: February 24, 2012 7:46 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 7:47 pm

Rory glory blocked by unsung Bae?

By Steve Elling

MARANA, Ariz. -- Rory McIlroy's path to the final four, not to mention the world No. 1 position, is blocked by a familiar face ... sort of.

Now the tournament favorite, McIlroy will face largely unheralded rookie Sang-moon Bae on Saturday in the fourth round of the Accenture Match Play Championship, and while Bae is a new face on the PGA Tour, he's been around for a while.

In fact, McIlroy played alongside the powerful South Korean at the 2009 Korean Open in the final round, in the final group, and watched as Bae blew past him with a 4-under 67 to win. McIlroy shot 72 and finished T3 after starting the final day tied for the lead.

Bae, now 25, was one back of the leaders after three rounds, and took control of the tournament when he made three birdies in a row starting on the 11th. Bae earned his PGA Tour card last fall by finishing T8 at Qualifying School after three solid years on the Japan Tour, including topping the money list last year.

McIlroy, 22, is seeing to become the youngest winner at both the Accenture tournament and a World Golf Championships event. He dispatched Miguel Angel Jimenez on Friday, 3 and 1. Bae outlasted John Senden, 1 up, despite the fact that he had never before played in a match-play event.

"It's match play, so I only try to focus on my game, that's it," Bae said.

With a win, McIlroy can supplant Luke Donald as No. 1 in the world. He had little trouble with Jimenez, his former Ryder Cup teammate. McIlroy knocked five approach shots within seven feet of the flag on the front nine and jumped to an early 3-up lead.

Category: Golf
Posted on: February 21, 2012 6:33 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 1:23 pm

Matches we'd love to see at the Accenture

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy shake hands earlier this season in Abu Dhabi. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

We know, we know, predicting things in golf is absolutely impossible, but the interesting nature of match play has us thinking ahead. What are the best possible matches that COULD happen this week at the Accenture? These are our favorite possible matchups. 

Nick Watney vs. Tiger Woods (second round) -- Any match Tiger is in will be featured, but I’d love see a player like Watney go up against him Tiger in a fairly even match.

Graeme McDowell vs. Hunter Mahan (second round) -- I’m fairly certain Mahan would love a piece of McDowell in match player after what happened at the 2010 Ryder Cup, and it would be the featured round of Thursday.  

Sergio Garcia vs. Keegan Bradley (second round) -- I’d like this just for the pre-match ceremony where Garcia hands over the “Incredibly Long Pre-Shot Gold Medal.” He’s held it for so many years!  

Adam Scott vs. Dustin Johnson (third round) -- I just like the idea of zero University of Arizona girls going to class on Friday so they can head out and see Mr. Scott vs. Mr. Johnson. 

Lee Westwood vs. Tiger Woods (third round) -- A clash of titans before the quarter-finals? Yes please.  

Rory McIlroy vs. Sergio Garcia (third round) -- Probably the best chance for McIlroy to get upset out of his bracket, Garcia is headed in playing some seriously good golf, and two of the bigger names in the game would bring tons of attention to the Gary Player bracket. 

Martin Kaymer vs. Bubba Watson (third round) -- I think just about everyone would be excited to see this rematch of the 2011 semi-finals, just as long as Kaymer leaves the scarf at home. 

Rory McIlroy vs. Jason Day (quarter-finals) -- I have a feeling this will happen, and I’m absolutely jazzed about it. 

Ben Crane vs. Kevin Na (quarter-finals) -- Can an entire match be put on the clock? Can even the guy putting people on the clock be put on the clock? No chance this isn't the final match of the day. It has to be!   

Rory McIlroy vs. Tiger Woods (semi-finals) -- Do I really need to explain why this would be awesome? 

Luke Donald vs. Tiger Woods (finals) -- Because I’d really like to see Tiger get his first win in something like this, over a bunch of big names, the last being the world number one. I think that would really show just where he is with his golf game, and give the guy about a 400 percent boost, confidence-wise. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter.  

Posted on: December 7, 2011 2:59 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 3:03 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

ORLANDO, Fla. -- If you’ve ever been to the U.K. and dined in a restaurant – and lived to talk about it – you probably noticed a vaguely labeled, mysterious bottle parked near the salt and pepper shakers.

It’s something called Brown Sauce, and the Brits use it liberally to cover up the occasional shortcomings of their food selections.

Effective Wednesday, world No. 1 Luke Donald was sprinkling it on his transcript from the Dubai World Championship and being asked to eat his words.

Locked in a duel for the European Tour money title with world No. 2 Rory McIlroy, Donald said the young Northern Irishman, 22, was more talented than any player he had ever seen. It took, oh, about 10 seconds for those comments to go viral, prompting a barrage of incredulous attacks on Donald – who turned 34 on Wednesday – via his Twitter account.

Donald felt compelled to explain himself, too. First, here's what he said in his interview session on the eve of the European Tour's richest event and season finale.

"I’ve always said that of the guys I've played with, Rory has the most talent," he said. "I see him winning lots of tournaments and lots of majors."

That list of pairing partners would include Woods.

"I believe so, yeah, just in a pure talent," Donald said. "I know Tiger is very, very close and obviously I think Tiger's work ethic has always been tremendous, and his mindset, as well. I think his mindset is what has separated himself from the field when he was really at the top of the game. 

"But in terms of talent, I think Rory has more talent."

Woods, 35, has 71 career victories on the PGA Tour alone. Last weekend, McIlroy won his fourth worldwide title in Hong Kong.

"Rory showed the world how great he can be when he won the U.S. Open," Donald said. "That was an unbelievable way to play in a major event and finish it off like he did. He's young and has a great future ahead of him."

Woods has a more uncertain trajectory, to be sure, but Donald was carved up pretty good and spent some time Wednesday night trying to explain himself on Twitter. In reverse chronological order, so that the Tweets make more sense in written form, Donald defended his statements as some in the Twitter universe came at him with pitchforks in hand.

“A few people aren't understanding what I meant," he wrote. "The word talent and Rory to me means a free flowing swing who makes everything look so easy.

“TW has always been the best at getting the ball in the hole when it mattered the most. That's not just talent [that's] something else too....

“Talent can only take you so far, you need the right attitude (mindset) and application to perform at the highest level....

“… never try to disrespect Tiger in any way. He is still the greatest player I have played with.”

So, if we're splitting hairs correctly, Woods is the greatest because of his mental toughness, but Rory is the most inherently talented and physically gifted.

Truth be told, no matter how Donald’s opinion is parsed, he’s hardly the first guy who has taken a stance on Woods lately, joining Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, Steve Williams and others who have offered less-than-glowing predictions about the former world No. 1’s future.

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: June 21, 2011 3:37 pm

McIlroy the British Open fave? You bet

Why should Las Vegas be different?

The oddmakers love Rory McIlroy, too.

With exactly three career victories as a pro on the two major tours, the record-setting 22-year-old has been installed as the favorite next month at the British Open, ahead of players with far more experience, not to mention far more wins.

But McIlroy has held a piece of the lead on three straight Grand Slam Sundays, and just won the U.S. Open with a record-shattering performance, and that counts for plenty.

Here is the line issued today from Golfodds.com and the Las Vegas Hilton sports book.

RORY McILROY            6/1
LEE WESTWOOD           10/1
LUKE DONALD            15/1
TIGER WOODS            15/1
MARTIN KAYMER          20/1
PHIL MICKELSON         25/1
JASON DAY              30/1
GRAEME McDOWELL        30/1
SERGIO GARCIA          30/1
DUSTIN JOHNSON         40/1
MATT KUCHAR            40/1
STEVE STRICKER         40/1
NICK WATNEY            40/1
HUNTER MAHAN           40/1
JUSTIN ROSE            40/1
PAUL CASEY             40/1
IAN POULTER            40/1
BUBBA WATSON           50/1
ADAM SCOTT             50/1
ERNIE ELS              60/1
JIM FURYK              60/1
K.J. CHOI              60/1
RICKIE FOWLER          60/1
ALVARO QUIROS          60/1
GEOFF OGILVY           60/1
Y.E. YANG              80/1
RETIEF GOOSEN          80/1
ROSS FISHER            80/1
CHRIS WOOD             80/1
DAVID TOMS             80/1
AARON BADDELEY         80/1
HENRIK STENSON        100/1
ANTHONY KIM           100/1
ZACH JOHNSON          100/1
MARTIN LAIRD          100/1
ANGEL CABRERA         100/1
STEWART CINK          100/1
PETER HANSON          100/1
JEFF OVERTON          100/1
DARREN CLARKE         100/1
BEN CURTIS            100/1
LUCAS GLOVER          100/1
BILL HAAS             100/1
RYAN MOORE            100/1
VIJAY SINGH           100/1
BO VAN PELT           100/1
SEAN O'HAIR           100/1
ROBERT ALLENBY        125/1
RORY SABBATINI        125/1
THOMAS BJORN          125/1
GARY WOODLAND         125/1
THOMAS AIKEN          125/1
RICKY BARNES          125/1
J.B. HOLMES           125/1
WEBB SIMPSON          125/1
JONATHAN BYRD         125/1
TIM CLARK             150/1
DAVIS LOVE III        150/1
RYO ISHIKAWA          150/1
SEUNG-YUL NOH         150/1
BEN CRANE             150/1
SHANE LOWRY           150/1
ANDERS HANSEN         150/1
RHYS DAVIES           150/1
ROBERT ROCK           150/1
CHAD CAMPBELL         150/1
MARK WILSON           150/1
KEVIN NA              150/1
SPENCER LEVIN         200/1
RYAN PALMER           200/1
KYUNG-TAE KIM         200/1
JUSTIN LEONARD        200/1
JOHN DALY             200/1
DANNY WILLETT         200/1
GREGORY HAVRET        200/1
PAUL LAWRIE           200/1
JERRY KELLY           250/1
DAVID DUVAL           250/1
TOM WATSON            250/1
PETER UIHLEIN         250/1
TODD HAMILTON         500/1
MARK O'MEARA          500/1
Category: Golf
Posted on: June 21, 2011 12:27 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 11:00 am

Yet another Tiger parallel for telegenic Wee Mac

Prodigies come and go, often without making much of a splash at all.

But when they do, it's often interesting, if not entertaining, to note the parallels in the trajectories of the ones who made the climb.

Witness Rory McIlroy.

Like Tiger Woods, he was identified at a very young age as a can't-miss kid and began appearing on television shows in Ireland as a lad, just as Woods did on the Mike Douglas Show over 30 years ago.

Here's an unbelievably charming clip of McIlroy appearing on the Kelly Show, shortly after he won a huge under-10 event in South Florida against international competition, while trying to chip golf balls into his mom's washing machine, like he did at home to hone his wedge game.

When world No. 1 Luke Donald saw the clip on Tuesday morning, he tweeted, "Classic! He still has that same chipping motion."

At the end of the clip, the impressed show host says, with an arm wrapped around McIlroy, "The Americans have Tiger Woods, and we have young Rory. And believe you me, this kid can hit a ball. I've seen it."

Hey, so have we. He just won the U.S. Open by eight shots and set or tied 12 scoring records.

Here's the link: http://youtu.be/6D7ReWQMGho

That's not all. Here's a terrific BBC clip from the Wee Mac archives as well: http://t.co/sftUJW8

Category: Golf
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