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4:36PM

McIlroy and Rose get the most of Silverado 

By Art Spander

NAPA, Calif. — No comments about those golf pros having it tough, being forced to play out here because several were allowed to go to Turkey for a tournament that offered big guarantees, which are not allowed on the PGA Tour.

Yes, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Charl Schwartzel, major champions all, are entered in the Frys.com Open, which starts today at Silverado. And while golfers prize their freedom — "independent contractors" is the description employed — it isn’t as if they’re being forced to wash dishes in the clubhouse.

“I didn’t know anything about the golf course,” McIlroy said Wednesday after his pro-am round. “Expected vineyards, wine, good food. Got all those boxes ticked (Tuesday) night. So...”

So, he’s not ticked but agreeable. “I’ve always loved playing in California,” said Rory, who back in May won the WGC Cadillac match play at San Francisco’s Harding Park, maybe 60 miles south of here.

“I love the climate and the fresh air and the surroundings,” he explained. “I’ve always felt quite comfortable here. It’s nice to come back.”

To the state, that is — large as California might be, with the only resemblance among the Olympic Club in San Francisco, where he competed in the 2012 U.S. Open, Pebble Beach and Sherwood in Southern California is that each has 18 holes.

At the moment, for the Frys, McIlroy is the man. He’s third in the world rankings, dropping from first because of the spectacular years of Jordan Spieth, who won two majors, and Jason Day, who won one, and respectively are first and second.

McIlroy, who spent the last two weeks home in Northern Ireland, if goofing around with the national team in the World Rugby Championship, looks back wistfully at the previous season — the Frys is the opening event of 2016 — because he didn’t win a major.

“I would say it was a good season; it wasn’t a great season,” he said. “I feel like I’m at a point in my career where a great season is defined by major championships.”

McIlroy has four of those, two PGAs, a U.S. Open and a British Open, and the two he won back-to-back in 2014 elevated him to No. 1 in the world. Thus, as do people such as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, neither of whom is at the Frys, Rory is competing against himself and his record as much as the other golfers.

McIlroy is 26 and worldly, as might be expected from someone who has played everywhere from Dubai to China to, well, Napa. He’s quite sharp, with a wonderful sense of humor. During the PGA at Whistling Straits, he pointed out that eras in golf used to mean about 20 years, but now they last about five minutes.

This might have truly been the Rory era, or at least his year had he not missed more than a month, and a chance to defend the British Open championship, because he tore ligaments playing soccer in July.  But as long as he is off the tee, there’s little doubt that McIlroy once more will be among the best.

“It’s about reassessing your goals,” said McIlroy, “and not being too disappointed. I think it’s not about being disappointed if you didn’t reach a certain goal but picking yourself back up and moving forward and looking ahead. If you don’t play well, you can always play well the next week.”

Rose played well for three of the four weeks of the 2015 majors but didn’t win any of them. He was 14 under par at the Masters and PGA and 11 under at the British and had nothing better than a second place, that at Augusta behind Spieth.

“I have a system,” said Rose, winner of the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion. “I have a heavy training week and do all the things always two weeks prior to when I want to peak. This year I did a good job preparing for the majors and peaking for them. I had three top sixes (sixth in the British, fourth in the PGA). So I’m doing a pretty good job of targeting.”

Rose made a special trip after the pro-am to see Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, who was playing, as was teammate Andre Iguodala. Although born in South Africa and raised in England, Rose, 35, lives much of the year in Orlando and watches the NBA’s Magic.

“The one American sport I probably watch most,” said Rose. “In New Orleans this year, I went to one of the games, Golden State playing New Orleans, and I saw (Curry) play for the first time. I was just struck by his confidence.

“He started the game really hot. Kind of went cold in the middle of the game and had a great buzzer-beater right at the end of the game. My caddy, during the New Orleans tournament, we got off to a good start. Felt like I went a little bit cold. My caddy said, ‘Remember, Steph. He just kept wanting the ball and kept shooting. Do the same. Just see the putts going in.’

“That kind of sparked a little run for me. Somehow that got back to Steph. The following week we fly to San Francisco. It’s match play week. I take a day off and am walking in Union Square. Who do I bump into? Steph Curry. He was out shopping with his wife. Heard about my sort of giving him some love. I just wanted to go over and say hi in more familiar surroundings for me than downtown San Francisco.”

And all because Rose and Rory have to be at Silverado.

7:26AM

Global Golf Post: McIlroy Back, Just Not All The Way

By Art Spander
Global Golf Post

SHEBOYGAN, WISCONSIN — Jordan Spieth said it succinctly and approvingly. "It's good to have him back," was the observation. He was talking about the man with whom he partnered the first two rounds at the PGA. He was referring to Rory McIlroy. And yes, for the sake of golf, the sake of McIlroy and even the sake of Spieth, it was good to have him back.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2015 Global Golf Post

9:23AM

S.F. Examiner: McIlroy sends Match Play out in style

By Art Spander
San Francisco Examiner

Sporting days by the Bay don’t come much better than this. Not for Tim Lincecum and the Giants. Not for Stephen Curry and the Warriors. Maybe most of all, not for Rory McIlroy and the game of golf, which again is a game that he is very much in control.

Oracle Arena in Oakland, AT&T Park in San Francisco and TPC Harding Park — in history and weather so much a part of the cool, gray city — offered us a Sunday beyond compare.

Read the full story here.

© 2015 The San Francisco Examiner 

9:36AM

S.F. Examiner: Match Play at Harding Park is test of character

By Art Spander
San Francisco Examiner

San Francisco? Herb Caen’s cool, gray city of love? Rudyard Kipling’s town of mad people? Golf capital of the universe? Indeed, all of the above.

Last week, it was the ladies at Lake Merced Golf Club, the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. Thanks, girls, you were great, and mostly, in this place of wind and chill, so was the weather. Please, no reference to the comment Mark Twain never made, that the coldest winter he ever spent was, well, enough already.

Read the full story here.

© 2015 The San Francisco Examiner 

4:13PM

Bleacher Report: Why Has Team Europe Dominated Team USA at the Ryder Cup?

By Art Spander
Featured Columnist

GLENEAGLES, Scotland — Losing is the great American sin. A Harvard-educated author of young adult fiction, John Tunis, said that first. Losing is what America has done in the Ryder Cup.

With Tiger Woods. Without Tiger Woods, who is not on the team that this week in the rolling countryside of Perthshire will face Europe. With a deficit going into the last of the three days of play. With a lead, as was the situation last year at Medinah

Read the full story here.

Copyright © 2014 Bleacher Report, Inc.