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Latest News

McIlroy ready to get back to work at St. Andrews

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 9:20:00 AM

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – The photo went viral on Twitter, Rory McIlroy wearing a mini-kilt and red wig and nothing else as Europe celebrated another Ryder Cup victory.

Just don't ask him for details.

''Honestly? Honestly ... I don't remember,'' McIlroy said on Wednesday. ''The timeline gets a bit fuzzy about midnight.''

Far more vivid was his play at Gleneagles, which the British Open and PGA champion referred to his best of the year. McIlroy started 3-3-3-3-3-2 in dismantling Rickie Fowler, part of an early surge that kept the Americans from any thoughts of a comeback.

McIlroy contributed one point on the final day, and two other points over the course of the Ryder Cup. More than points, however, the 25-year-old from Northern Ireland established himself as a team leader at such a tender age.

He was coming off back-to-back major titles, with a World Golf Championship in between. He is the undisputed No. 1 player in golf.

''I felt like it was my time ... to step up and be one of the leaders of the team, especially after the season I've had, and being the world No. 1,'' McIlroy said. ''I needed to go out there and set an example and lead by example, and just happy I was able to do that on Sunday.''

That wasn't the case during the early days of Tiger Woods.

Woods lost to former factory worker Costantino Rocca at Valderrama. It wasn't until his fifth Ryder Cup that Woods won more matches than he lost. He has played on only one winning team in seven appearances.

That doesn't take away from Woods' status as the best player of his generation, arguably ever.

But it mattered to McIlroy.

''My record in the Ryder Cup is important to me,'' McIlroy said. ''The three Ryder Cups, I haven't been beaten in the singles. I'd love to keep that record going throughout my career. And I slightly improved my record at the Ryder Cup this year (6-4-4). At the age of 25, to have won three Ryder Cups and four majors is something I'm very proud of – eight years younger than anyone else.''

He was referring to Tom Watson, a month past his 34th birthday when he won a third Ryder Cup to go along with eight majors. Then again, Jack Nicklaus was 29 and already had the career Grand Slam before he could even play in his first Ryder Cup.

His record outside the Ryder Cup is pretty good, too, and that's where McIlroy returns his focus over the next couple of months.

Boy Wonder could use a break, though there are few spots better to play golf than the Dunhill Links Championship, which starts on Thursday over a three-course rotation of St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns. McIlroy will be playing with his father, Gerry.

Three other Europeans from the winning team are playing – Victor Dubuisson, Stephen Gallacher and Martin Kaymer.

McIlroy already captured the PGA Tour money title and he can wrap up the Race to Dubai with a victory this week. If not, he has three more events left on the European Tour schedule before defending his title in the Australian Open. He wants to finish strong, though nothing can take away from this year.

There also is a quick detour to Bermuda for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.

''I'm going to go out with the main objective just to enjoy the last couple of months of the season – still practice pretty hard and work hard, but at the same time, it's been a long season. There's been a lot of intense tournaments, and it's the point of the season where I'm letting it wind down a little bit.''

It was the Dunhill Links that effectively kicked off his career.

McIlroy was 18 when he finished third at the tournament on a sponsor's exemption, allowing him to earn his European Tour card without going to qualifying school. He also posted a record-tying 63 on the Old Course at St. Andrews in the opening round of the 2010 British Open (followed by an 80 the next day).

With two rounds on the Old Course, assuming he makes the cut, it will be an early look ahead of the Open next year.

''I always said I felt like St. Andrews was my best chance to win an Open Championship. Obviously, I proved myself wrong this year,'' McIlroy said of his wire-to-wire win at Royal Liverpool. ''It would be great to come back and defend it here.''

What to call Woods' signature sandwich?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 8:34:00 AM

In case you haven't heard, Tiger Woods is opening a restaurant.

While not much about “The Woods Jupiter: Sports and Dining Club” is known at this time, thanks to Golf World's Jim Moriarty and the power of Twitter, when the doors do open for business, Tiger won't have any trouble filling out a menu. Moriarty posed the question below, asking for signature sandwich names.

And the Internet - as it has done time and time again - delivered.

Got any others? Leave them in the comment section below. And go make a sandwich, your mouth must be watering.

All business in Round 1 of inaugural Big Break Invit'l

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 8:32:00 PM

LAKE OCONEE, Ga. – From the beginning, the Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation has made it very clear – this week is all business.

“No glass breaks. No wall flops. This is real golf,” the promos on Golf Channel echoed in the weeks leading up to the inaugural event. Turns out, players were listening.

Years removed from their stints on "Big Break," many of the competitors in this week’s field have gone on to grander stages, performing on the game’s top tiers, oftentimes with documented success.

When you watched them on the reality competition, their games were raw. Now, they’re well-done.

Through one round of the modified stableford format, "Big Break" Disney (2009) alum Tony Finau leads the men at plus-29. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, because Finau is coming off a successful season on the Web.com Tour, where he recorded a win at the Stonbrae Classic and finished seventh on the season-long money list. He’s secured his PGA Tour card for next season, which begins next week at the Frys.com – an event he’s scheduled to attend.

On the women’s side, Gerina Piller ("Big Break" Prince Edward Island, 2009) leads with a score of plus-25. This shouldn’t surprise you, either; Piller has been an LPGA member since 2010 and competed in the Solheim Cup in 2013.

Perhaps there’s something that the Solheim Cup and the Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation have in common, because hot on Piller’s heels is another Solheim veteran in Ryann O’Toole, who's two strokes back at plus-23.

“I drove the ball really good and I struck the ball really well, as well,” O’Toole said. “Between the two, I just tried to stay in the moment with each shot, put myself in position.”

Or perhaps, there’s something about this event that sets up well for recent developmental tour graduates. Three ladies who secured their LPGA cards for next season are all in great position after Tuesday’s round. Jackie Stoelting ("Big Break" Florida champion, 2014) is plus-22. Sadena Parks ("Big Break" Florida, 2014) is plus-19. Mallory Blackwelder ("Big Break" Ireland, 2011) is T-8 at plus-17.

Or, just maybe, victory on the PGA Tour is the key to success this week. That would explain why Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey ("Big Break" IV, 2005), who won the 2012 McGladrey Classic, is tied for fifth at plus-23.

I don’t know the winning formula for winning the Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation, but what I do know, is the golfers got the memo – this week is all business.