Entries in Rory McIlroy (55)


Newsday (N.Y.): Old Man Lehman gets a hole-in-one

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. -- In a game that suddenly seems dominated by 20-somethings such as Nick Watney, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, there's room for 51-year-old Tom Lehman.

Lehman, who qualified for this 92nd PGA Championship by winning the Senior PGA, made a hole-in-one during the third round Saturday at the 223-yard 17th hole with a 4-iron. He shot a 1-over-par 73 and is at 1-over 217 for 54 holes.

When the PGA Championship was held previously at Whistling Straits in 2004, Hale Irwin, also a senior, and Robert Gamez had aces.

19th hole

Y.E. Yang won the tournament last year at Hazeltine, beating Tiger Woods head to head. But Yang, who didn't get his second round completed until Saturday morning, finished with a double-bogey 6 and a 76. His two-round 148 total missed the cut by three shots . . .

Martin Kaymer of Germany, now based in Scottsdale, Ariz., after coming from the European Tour, is tied for fourth at 207 and no less importantly has retained his PGA Tour eligibility for 2011. "That was my plan,'' said Kaymer, who had a 5-under 67 in the third round. "I'm excited to play here next year.'' . . .

The weather forecast for the final round is good after the possibility of a brief rain overnight . . . Chris Wood of England shot a 68 in the second round after a 78 in the first round, but he still missed the cut of 145 by a stroke . . . When someone told 21-year-old McIlroy of Northern Ireland that he seemed immune to pressure, McIlroy, tied for second heading into the fourth round, said, "I wouldn't say it's a stroll in the park, but the crowds are so far back from the fairways, you don't feel the atmosphere, which I suppose helps a little bit.'' . . . Dustin Johnson, in contention for a third straight major this year, said of Whistling Straits: "The course is intimidating off the tee, but you do have some room to maneuver the ball and get it in the fairway.''

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Copyright © 2010 Newsday. All rights reserved.

Newsday (N.Y.): Mickelson had it going, then finished poorly

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- Phil Mickelson, who had a chance to overtake Tiger Woods as No. 1 in the world rankings, will not. He did shoot 70 Saturday, but that left him at 2-under-par 214.

"I'm disappointed in myself,'' Mickelson said, "because I let a good round slide. I putted great [he briefly was 4 under] and then I made those bad swings on 16 [double-bogey 6] and 17 and played them 3 over par.''

On 16, trying to play safe off the tee with a 5-iron, he hooked it so badly the ball hit the road that runs along the right side of the hole and bounced into the big, grassy area that's home to concession stands, the merchandise tent. It was miles out of bounds.

Pants on fire

There was an interesting remark from Henrik Stenson about the weather. "The wind,'' he said, "feels like it's trying to rip your pants off, and that's no good.''

Stenson, of course, is the Swedish pro who stripped down to his underwear before wading into a water hazard to play a shot in the 2009 WGC-CA Championship at Doral. Entering the third round at 2 under, Stenson, his pants on, shot a 5-under 67 to move into a tie for fourth at 7 under.

Casey at the bat

A year after a rib muscle forced him to miss three months of the season, Paul Casey is in contention to become the first Englishman to win the British Open since 1992. His 67 put him within four strokes of Louis Oosthuizen. "Sitting here right now, I'm ecstatic," Casey said. "You know, even right now, occasionally I feel the muscles in the ribs. In no way do they affect my golf. But it's a small reminder that quite often you take for granted a lot of things, and nothing is better than an Open Championship at the home of golf."

Chip shots

John Daly's trousers were the wildest of the week, a red-and-black stripe variation of a Cincinnati Bengals helmet pattern; he had a 74 for even-par 216 after starting with a 66 Thursday . . . Rory McIlroy, who led the fist day with a 63, then shot 80, rallied for a 69, despite a double-bogey 6 on 17 the Road Hole . . . Mark Calcavecchia started the day in second place at 7 under, but he began bogey, bogey, and then took a 9 on the par-5 fifth hole that included two penalty shots. But after a 43 on the front nine, Calcavecchia had a 34 on the back for a 77 and 2-under 214.

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Copyright © 2010 Newsday. All rights reserved.

Newsday (N.Y.): Oosthuizen brilliant again as Rory fades, Tiger hangs on

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- This was the British Open so many expected, a tournament at the mercy of nature with wind so strong that play had to be suspended for more than an hour.

This was the British Open no one expected, a young South African dominating after two incredible rounds.

What a Friday along the North Sea, when calm became calamitous, when Rory McIlroy was 17 shots worse than he had been Thursday; when Tiger Woods tumbled down, if not quite out; and when Louis Oosthuizen beat both the weather and everyone else in the field for the first two rounds of this 139th Open.

When in early afternoon the wind gusted up to 41 mph, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, which runs the Open, said balls were being moved on the greens and it "had no option but to suspend play.''

Which it did for 65 minutes, turning golf into a long day's journey into night, which in Scotland in July doesn't arrive with total darkness until past 10:30 p.m. Late starters were out there for more than seven hours, and not everyone finished.

Oosthuizen went out at 6:41 a.m. So although he endured some rain and a lighter wind, he was long finished when the nasty gusts moved in, posting a 5-under-par 67. He had a 36-hole score of 12-under 132 and a five-shot lead over Mark Calcavecchia.

"I like playing in the wind,'' said Oosthuizen, 27, whose given names, after his grandfather, are Lodewicus Theodorus. He won't answer to either, however, always being known as Louis - or to his friends as "Shrek.''

In second place at 70-67-137 is Calcavecchia, 50, the Open winner in 1989. He was in the first threesome at 6:30 a.m., and if, like Oosthuizen, that meant arising at about 4 a.m., it also meant getting around the Old Course before being figuratively blown away.

That's what happened to McIlroy, who tied the course record of 63 Thursday and didn't make a bogey. On Friday, he shot 40-40-80, not making a birdie, and dropped from first to a tie for 38th.

"It could have been 82 or 82,'' McIlroy said. "I've never experienced shooting 63 and then going and shooting 80.''

Tiger Woods, with a birdie at 18, shot 73 for 140. The final putt dropped a bit before 10 p.m. After Tom Watson birdied 18 to finish at 75 for 148, the horn was blown to halt play, leaving 30 golfers to return Saturday.

"It was a tough day. For everybody,'' Woods said. "You just have to go out there and deal with it, whether you're on the good end of the draw or not the good end . . . I'm not exactly where I want to be, but after my start [he began bogey, bogey], I could have shot myself out of it.''

The projected cut was 145, and names such as Watson, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington and Geoff Ogilvy were among those above that score.

Oosthuizen won the Par-3 Contest at the Masters this year - then missed the cut in the regular event for a third straight time - but he won the Andalucia Open on the European Tour and said that changed his outlook, building his confidence.

The son of a farmer, Oosthuizen said he would not have been able to afford golf lessons as a child were it not for the foundation created by countryman Els to help young South Africans.

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Copyright © 2010 Newsday. All rights reserved.

Newsday (N.Y.): McIlroy leads, Woods in hunt at windless British Open

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- For a day, Mother Nature, that most fickle of ladies, was as gentle as the heather on the hills. After all, this is Scotland, where the witches in Shakespeare's "Macbeth" conspired in weather as nasty as their reputation, and the forecast for the first round of the 139th British Open was for wind and rain.

Instead, after a light morning drizzle Thursday, golfers shed their waterproofs, their sweaters and their inhibitions. Until early evening, the Old Course at St. Andrews was a charm, and the opening scores were virtually ridiculous.

"It will never get any easier," said Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy shot a 9-under par 63, equaling the lowest Open round ever shot on the game's most historic course, where the tournament is being played for a 28th time. And the "old" Tiger Woods even shot a 5-under 67.

In between were a 65 by Louis Oosthuizen, a South African whose name appears here and there, and 66s by John Daly, Andrew Coltart, Steven Tiley and Bradley Dredge. Among those at 67 was Lucas Glover, who won the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, and Lee Westwood, in search of his first major. Phil Mickelson shot a 73.

Linksland courses are defenseless without a brisk wind. For most of the long day - it doesn't get dark here until around 10:30 p.m. - there barely was a breeze. That meant there were a ton of birdies and in the case of the 21-year-old McIlroy, an eagle 2 when he drove the 352-yard par 4 ninth hole.

"You needed to take advantage of conditions," said McIlroy, who like Graeme McDowell, winner of last month's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, is from Northern Ireland. "It never is going to get any easier."

McIlroy equaled the lowest score ever in a major championship. His 33-30-63 (the eagle, seven birdies and no bogeys) was the 24th time the score was recorded in a major.

"Yeah," said McIlroy "it was a fantastic score."

He said McDowell's U.S. Open victory gave him a belief he could win a major, and then alluding to Padraig Harrington, from the Republic of Ireland, and McDowell, McIlroy quipped, "I wouldn't like to be the only Irishman at the Ryder Cup without a major."

McIlroy's hometown is Holywood, pronounced "Hollywood," But it's too early to be thinking of a cinematic story. "There are 54 holes to go," reminded Tiger.

Woods was pleased with his 67, if not satisfied, dropping a shot at the famed 17th, the Road Hole, and then failing to birdie the 357-yard 18th despite nearly reaching the green with his drive.

"It felt awkward, because there was absolutely no wind whatsoever," said Woods, "and you never play a links golf course with no wind. You knew with the conditions we had, you had to go get it."

Woods won the last two Opens at St. Andrews, in 2000 and 2005, and despite the struggles of his now-familiar marital infidelity and the departure of his swing coach, he looked like a golfer who could justify favoritism by the British bookies.

"It's getting better every week," said Woods of his game. "I'm hitting shots I haven't hit in a long time. It's building.

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Copyright © 2010 Newsday. All rights reserved.

Scotland Sunday Herald: Woods aside, a triumph for Europeans

GOLF: Harrington and Co proving strength of our Tour with displays in Minnesota, writes Art Spander in Hazeltine

The weather turned yesterday, making Minnesota seem more like Britain, a bit cooler, a bit darker. But even in the blast furnace heat of the first two rounds the US PGA Championship was a fine place to be for the numerous representatives of the European Tour.

The fourth Major of the year, the 91st PGA, out on the prairie west of Minneapolis at Hazeltine, was in effect two tournaments, one being played by Tiger Woods and another involving everybody else.

In the Tiger Tournament, Woods was playing in his usual grand style -- usual if you forget the missed cut in The Open at Turnberry, that is. By the end of Friday's second round, he had built up a four-shot lead and as defending champion Padraig Harrington put it: "If Tiger plays the golf he's capable of this weekend, he'll be a winner.'' In the other competition, there already were a great many winners, players such as Harrington, the Irishman, Ross Fisher and Ian Poulter of England, Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark, Lee Westwood of England, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland and even Scotland's Alastair Forsyth.

All made the cut along with Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain, Thomas Levet of France and Francesco Molinari of Italy, an indication that even if the Euro Tour doesn't have anyone quite like Tiger -- and nor does any other tour on the globe - it still boasts a wealth of talent. Harrington, playing with Woods for the first two rounds, as he did last Sunday in that controversial final round of the WGC Bridgestone when the two were put on the clock and Harrington self-destructed, was tied with Woods for a time on Friday. Then Harrington made four bogeys on the back nine.

But even though he stumbled to a 35-38, he hit the shot of the day, and maybe of the tournament, a 301-yard 3-wood from a bunker onto the green of the par-five 642-yard 15th hole.

Harrington said: "Tiger told me he would have paid to have seen it. So I asked him for 50 bucks.'' Poulter was on two-under 142 after 36 holes and would have been closer to the top of the leaderboard but for a double bogey at the first, his 10th."It's been great,'' he said. "The crowds are fantastic out there. This is as busy a Major as I've seen all year, so it's good fun.'' Fun is a word one rarely hears associated with championship golf but this has indeed been an enjoyable tournament, due in no small part to those who have packed the enormous galleries here in an area which rarely sees the top pros.

Fisher, who briefly led the final round of The Open at Turnberry before taking that horrendous triple-bogey eight at the fifth, was tied with Tiger on Friday until bogeys at 17 and 18.

"In some ways I'm disappointed but overall I'm delighted,'' said Fisher. "I was hitting fairways, I was hitting greens but finishing bogey, bogey always leaves a little bit of sour taste. But you know, I'm still in there with a good shout.'' Fisher has made some tremendous progress - a run at The Open, a run at the PGA a month later.

"Every golfer wants to be at the Major championships,'' said the 28-year-old. "This is what we all dream of, right from when we were kids. I want to go out there and perform, not only for myself but at the same time to give the fans something to shout about.'' Fisher and Harrington were paired yesterday in an interesting twosome, the kid with potential alongside the only player not to back down where matched up against the Tiger. Harrington may have fallen apart last weekend, but that was the result on one errant shot into a pond, not being intimidated by Woods.

"It's irrelevant,'' Harrington responded when someone ask if he was unhappy that he wasn't playing a fourth straight round with Woods, who yesterday was with Vijay Singh two groups ahead.

"It's not bad to have a day off. Hopefully I'll see him again on Sunday," Harrington added.

McIlroy, widely expected to be the next great thing, was on level-par 144 after 36 holes and picked up a shot through the first seven yesterday.

"If I can iron it all out,'' said the 19-year-old, "I can get myself back where I was in the middle of the second round. I'm definitely a lot happier about my game than I was on Monday or Tuesday, so there are a few positives to take from it all.'' There are more than a few positives to take from the way the European Tour members have played this week in America. The only negative is they continue to chase that guy Tiger Woods. Then again, so does everyone from every corner of the world.

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