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Hard work pays off for revitalised McIlroy

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Iain Carter | 15:21 UK time, Monday, 11 June 2012

Rory McIlroy's three wood dropped to the floor in frustration as his ball flew into the watery grave that signalled an end to his victory chance in Memphis last Sunday (link).

The resulting double bogey opened the door for Dustin Johnson and left McIlroy in a share of seventh place.

Although that errant tee shot ruined the Northern Ireland youngster's opportunity to win, he could still reflect on having had the week he needed ahead of his US Open defence. He is competitive once again.

Recently McIlroy has been cramming like an underprepared student at exam time.

But now, after adding Memphis to his schedule, flying in coach Michael Bannon to be with him in the US and taking an extra three and half days to practice at the US Open venue, he looks ready to sit this week's major paper.

All will be well, provided there is enough left in the tank after this energetic response to missing three cuts in a row.

A repeat of last year's astonishing US Open victory at Congressional is surely asking too much, but McIlroy's game certainly looks in shape for him to contend at Olympic Club.

"Rory McIlroy remains firmly on course for a stellar career." Photo: Getty

And a year on it is well worth putting that triumph on the outskirts of Washington into its proper context. This was an extraordinary performance that has wrongly been diminished by some observers who claim the course was too easy to be a genuine US Open test.

Admittedly, heavy rains in the build-up to the 2011 Championship softened the course, which at 7,574 yards was the second longest in US open history. McIlroy finished a record 16 under par, his next closest rival Jason Day was a mere eight under.

But the Australian runner-up's score is not far off what you would expect to win on a softened US Open par 71 layout. In 1997, when it was 361 yards shorter, Congressional was rated par 70 and Ernie Els won at four under.

Par is always a subjective area, but had it remained 70 (as it might have, given the advances in driving distances in the past 15 years) then only eight players would have broken par at last year's US Open.

It's also worth remembering another closing hole double bogey suffered by McIlroy. It came in his second round at Congressional and gave him a halfway total of 131, a single stroke outside Sir Nick Faldo's record for the halfway mark in a major.

That was about the only record McIlroy failed to smash 12 months ago but more importantly he secured an early maiden major victory; one that can prove the foundation of a glittering career.

This is a view echoed by golf's ultimate record breaker Jack Nicklaus who, with 18 majors to his name, has won more of golf's biggest titles than any other player.

"He's got the monkey off his back right now," Nicklaus recently told CNN's Living Golf. "It's gone, now he can go play golf. He doesn't have to worry about people saying; 'he's a really good player but he's never won.'"

It was Nicklaus who urged McIlroy to make a scouting mission to Olympic Club last week and the defending champion heeded the old master's call.

Nicklaus is convinced more major titles are just around the corner for the current world number two. "The next one will come when it's ready to come," he said.

"And when they do, I'm going to have to start worrying about him, rather than Tiger!" added Nicklaus, who is not prone to unwarranted hyperbole, and looked like he was only half joking.

Thankfully McIlroy has a maturity beyond his years and has more than enough about him to not be carried away by such high praise.

It is rarely easy to adjust to immediate super-stardom but the boy from Holywood, County Down, has so far done so with remarkable success.

In the 22 official tournaments he has played since winning the 2011 US Open he has won twice, had five runner up finishes and four other top fives.

He has not contended in any subsequent majors but it is worth noting that neither did Tiger Woods after winning the Masters in 1997.

Woods was 21 when he enjoyed that breakthrough and in the following year his record was very similar to McIlroy's. He had three wins from 22 official events, two runner-ups and two more top fives.

The American didn't win the second of his 14 majors to date until the 1999 PGA, the 11th he played after claiming that first green jacket.

So regardless of what happens at Olympic Club, McIlroy remains firmly on course for a stellar career.

The rejuvenated Woods, who recently won Nicklaus's Memorial Tournament, appears the better bet this week, especially with the San Francisco weather forecast set fair and the course expected to play fast and firm.

This should also suit world number one Luke Donald, who prospered in similar conditions in winning the BMW PGA at Wentworth, and Lee Westwood, whose accuracy will always make him a danger at US Opens. Both Englishman, though, have still to shed the major-less monkey identified by Nicklaus.

A Woods victory would continue the current trend of American winners on home soil. It has been a remarkable season for Uncle Sam on the PGA Tour.

Hunter Mahan and Jason Duffner - like Woods - have won twice; Bubba Watson claimed the Masters and Matt Kuchar won the Players' Championship.

But the same can't be said in the team environment and it would be remiss not to mention Great Britain and Ireland's stunning Curtis Cup victory at Nairn last Sunday.

It means, for the first time, all four transatlantic trophies sit proudly on this side of the pond and the fact that the Curtis Cup can rest alongside the Ryder, Solheim and Walker Cups is a fantastic achievement for the amateur women of Britain and Ireland.

The famous US Open trophy has lived in Northern Ireland for the past two years, with McIlroy succeeding Graeme McDowell as America's national champion.

Whether it remains in European hands is the most intriguing question posed by this week's second major of the year.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    good blog Iain. Wee Rors is back on form after a short blip. how good would it be this week to see Tiger and Rory both on top form on the final day back 9.

  • Comment number 3.

    Great blog Iain, covered several bases there and a very enjoyable read.

    Biggest well done for having all four of the coveted team trophies on our side of the pond, a great achievement and proves that we have great world class players but also up and coming youngsters in the game.

    Mcilroy will be unhappy at his demise at the last hole, and yes he had a brilliant tournament and he will be happy with a return to form, he will not have wanted to end like that. Better to double bogey the first hole then come rampaging home and miss out by two shots, than do it on the last hole - he has that in his head going to Olympic and it will be a good test of his mental strength. But he is defending champion and that should excite and intensify the young starlot.

    Still the Woods comparison lingers, but I think it is far too soon to compare Rory to possibly the greatest golfer ever, if not of his generation. Rory has 30-40 years left in the game to achieve great things - but I hope his coaches are keeping his head level, one step at a time and defending the US Open would be a great start.

    Wodds will be dangerous at Olympic, I think after Rory's winning score last year they will set the course up ultra tough, and that will mean those whose powers of recovery and grinding are superior may bode better than the pure ball strikers of the game. For this reason I expect Donald to do well but Westwood I fear will struggle on the pacy putting greens.

  • Comment number 4.

    Well he is "kind of" back in form, but I would have thought the fact that he completely wazzed it up at the business end of the tournament would be a concern. In a slightly different scenario, LW closed it out clinically and risk-free in Europe.

    Good to see you out here early Bilo!

  • Comment number 5.

    The way Dustin Johnson played, with his effortless power and decent short game, he could just flick it around at San Francisco and win.

    Then there is the sweet swinging, waggletastic Jason Dufner in the form of his life, and a resurgent Tiger, Gandalf-like Mickelson and a lovestruck Wozzilroy to contend with.

    However, this time it will be Westwood and Donald who battle it out, with an inspired display of putting by Westy proving the difference between them as he curls in a winding 25 footer at the last to triumph by one solitary stroke...........................................maybe?

  • Comment number 6.

    Just, if I may, to raise an unrelated point; Am I the only golf fan who thinks that it is plain wrong for a 14 year old to be playing in a professional golf tournament, let alone a Major ? 14 year olds aren't allowed to work, are they ? At worst, this is a sponsor's 'dream' - lots of attention as a 14 year old plays with the Pros, and at best it is a prodigy testing himself....but at the same time denying a place to a proper golf pro, who has a family to feed and ranking points to gain. Seriously now, if I worked down a mine or even a factory and brought my 14 year old in to work for a couple of days, I think that Social Services would be on my case - and rightly so. 16 should be the absolute minimum age to be playing professional sport (and the same goes for tennis).

  • Comment number 7.

    can people stop touting woods as even the near greatest ever..Hes 4majors just to equaling the reat jack, has a poor long game and relies mainly on his scrambling ability. he certaily doesnt play the game beutifully despite the results.


    Rory mccilroy is far more naturally talebted player tha woods, with the difference being that woods is better mentally than macilroy.

    If rory can get near the mental focus of woods he would wipe the floor ith the unolikable woods..

  • Comment number 8.

    #4 posted: Well he is "kind of" back in form..

    I tend to go along with that. It was certainly a great impovement over his previous 3 results and shows that he is mentally back on track, but the T56 driving accuracy statistic at Memphis is probably the most relevant one going into a US Open.

  • Comment number 9.

    #7

    "hes a poor long game"

    TW is ranked 22nd in driving accuracy and ranked 1st in "total driving" which im assuming collates distance and accuracy.

    "relies mainly on scrambling ability"

    ranked 41st in sand saves but 3rd in scoring average and 7th in GUR.........

    Why do people come out with nonsense remarks without absolutely no forthought whatsoever??

    If you don't like TW that is entirely your opinion and you are absolutely entitled to it, but don't let your personal opinion cloud your mind about his golfing game.

  • Comment number 10.

    #7 froch carl - Are you being a mischievous little imp here?

    I don't think anyone could quibble that TW is up with the very greatest in the game. Maybe not the most talented, but a fantastic mental game (see Lee Trevino quote - “Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course...the space between your ears.”).

    I know I'm partially agreeing with you but the fact is that being a great golfer is partly down to talent and partly down to the mental side. Being the most naturally talented golfer of all time doesn't make you a great without the "brain stuff".

  • Comment number 11.

    7 froch carl.

    I anticipate that you are going to get some people disagreeing with your post!

    Whatever you say about Tiger Woods as a person, or about the finer points of his game, the fact is that he is 2nd in the all time list of major winners and jt 2nd in the all time list of tournament winners. Logically, you can only put Jack Nicklaus (more majors) or Sam Snead (more tournament wins) ahead of him.

    Whaetever Rory's potential or his progress vs Woods at a similar age, it is only potential for now, until he has bagged the titles.

    Re McIlroy, I would agree that he is 'kind of' back. I didn't see the finish, but it's not exactly major winning form to stick your final tee shot in the soup when you're in the lead. I think he woudl have needed birdie to win (or tie?) in the end but to make a DB under those circumstances isn't a good sign.

  • Comment number 12.

    Is BMG having a lie-in today or what?

  • Comment number 13.

    Ooops - I was a few seconds too late

  • Comment number 14.

    Iain - is it true that you are already busy with next week's blog, to be entitled:

    "Hard work pays off for revitalised Fletcher"???

    And can I politely ask whether you have any comments on golf days. Charity golf days. You know?

  • Comment number 15.

    I must agree with post #9

    Claiming Woods has been relying on his short game of late just shows how little golf #7 has watched he has 2 wins this year both acheived with a shaky putter and an absolutley dominant long game and as post #9 correctly states he is currently the number 1 driver on the PGA Tour. Im not a Woods fan but this year he is looking ominously good and whilst I dont think his short game will allow him to compete this week I think hes got a great chance at the Open at Lytham especially if you remember how he won at Hoylake.

    Pick for this week Lucas Glover no idea why just think hell have a big week and Rory to miss the cut you cant drive as badly as he has the last few weeks and compete in a US Open. Fairways and Greens will be at a premium and level par will be up there all set up for a glorious ride to victory from Westie then

  • Comment number 16.

    12 - haha, although I guess the joke is on me. I hearby pledge to not waste any more time on this blog, apart from to do my predictions (which I am busy working out)

    So there!

  • Comment number 17.

    Worth pointing out that Tiger is number 1 in driving stats because he actually rarely uses his driver. The 2 tournaments he has won this year he has loads of previous at and can play virtually blindfolded. The times he has had to get his driver out have been when things have gone awry, and he'll certainly need it this week.

    He won't win.

  • Comment number 18.

    "...three wood dropped to the floor..."? Come on, he threw it! Tiger has quite rightly been getting a lot of stick for throwing clubs, and so should Rory. It's not the first time. There is no place for that in the game.

  • Comment number 19.

    Once again young Rory played will inspite of a useless bag man, let me give you some examples missed cut 1,2 and 3. 1st cut at Players Rory has made it clear the course doesn`t suit his eye an ideal time to play conservative golf and just make the cut surely any average bag man would have given him either 3 wood or iron off most of the tees.2nd one at Wentworth slower greens and again a positional course play percentage golf get back into the groove.Last missed cut how any caddie worth his salt would not or did not step in and ask his man was he sure about the shot choice at the par 5, ball in a hazard 1 over to make the cut idiotic, finally at the St Jude on a par 3 Rory hits pitching wedge 157 to island green missed the putt very next hole 160 to pin 160!!! he gives him an 8 I mean 8 iron 170 at least this idiot is his caddie he is supposed to practise with him he knows how far he hits the club he gives him on the 15th Rory hits 2 iron which is very difficult to draw to far 301yds on the last tee he gets 3 wood which is a lot easier to draw quite a few yards pulls it in the drink game over even though he needed birdie to tie.These are only a few of the last tournaments this plonker of a caddie has costs Rory some shots.I doubt any other caddie on tour has such little input with their player get rid quick or it will be costly

  • Comment number 20.

    #17 Tiger heads stats using his driver and 3 wood individually aswell as the overall stats

  • Comment number 21.

    # 17

    as proved by #20 - yet another anti TW generalisation - just because you might see the odd skewed drive on Sky Sports News highlights does not mean he is a poor drive of the ball!!

    # 19 - Lee Westwood new caddy and wins the Nordea Masters - I think Rory should hire Don 247 as his caddy

  • Comment number 22.

    @17...Given the dog legs, tight fairways and the general way the course is set up, I think you'll find that the players will only use the driver on about 5/6 holes this week (maybe less!). This will play hard & fast, just the way TW likes it.

  • Comment number 23.

    #22

    no pun intended mattefc.......

    ;)

  • Comment number 24.

    19 Rich - don't you think you're overstating the importance of the caddy? I've never played professionally so can't be sure, but I guess even the most inclusive type of players (e.g Mickleson) still make their own decisions, and only go to the caddy as a kind of sounding board?

    Obviously this doesn't include Steve Williams who won those 13 majors singlehandedly, with a small amount of input from tiger :-)

  • Comment number 25.

    Also I'm not sure why Rory didn't use his 2 iron more if his driving was that bad. I didn't watch much but I saw him hit one 290yds down the middle!

  • Comment number 26.

    I think Lee Westwood is going to win this week. He's playing great golf and its his time i think. I've been supporting him on here for years now, come on Lee dont let me down again!

  • Comment number 27.

    @The Boike-Meister General...Haha i love that! Tiger was NOTHING without Steve Williams!

  • Comment number 28.

    I predicted McIlroy last week and was quite unhappy for 2 days after it, he cost me over £300 the plank ahaha. Noren didn't too badly either but was never really in contention with Westwood on that sort of form.

    US Open will be won by an American for me, so Kuchar and Woods have to be my picks this week, Dufner is playing well but as had his purple patch and will not be in the same form as a few weeks ago. Donald could challenge and maybe Kaymer as top European at 18/1 is a good bet??

  • Comment number 29.

    Not the blog I was hoping for although probably the one I expected.

    A minor mention of the weekend events at Nairn and it really was fantastic to see the GB&I girls winning the Curtis Cup with a great singles victory on the final day. The weather was rotten and the performances by both teams was exemplary. Going into the final down in the match was definitely a huge ak of the GB&I team but they pulled it off in some style. Congratulations to the whole team, captain, caddies and backroom team for a wondeful achievement.

    As for Rory - well he did make the cut and did feature in the last day but he really threw it away in the end. He was in position 'A' on the 17th after a massive drive but a very poor second shot landed him in a greenside bunker from which he only managed a par 5 when he was looking for an eagle or birdie at worst. That put the pressure on him for the 18th and he blew it big style.

    His approach play was not up to its usual standard and definitely needs more work. One of the few positives from his failure to win was Gummy Bear making another duff prediction (Rory WILL win).

    Will he win back to back US Opens? Somehow I doubt it as history shows that it is exceptionally difficult but if he gets some further work in with Michael Bannon then who knows? With so many different winners of Majors over the last three years we may well be looking at another 'outsider' for victory this month.

    If Westwood or Donald get off to good starts they should feature strongly but, Dustin Johnston could be a threat as could Justin Rose, Lucas Glover or Jason Duffner.

    Either way it should be an intriging tournament with someone relatively unknown hogging the headlines on day one before disappearing again.

  • Comment number 30.

    7.At 09:55 12th Jun 2012, froch carl wrote:

    That is the most outrageous comment i have ever seen in any of the blogs over the past year! Clearly this guy is a Troll doing what a Troll does best!

    Mcilroy is starting to panic now because all he has done since his US open win last year is enjoy the high life and spend as much time as possible with his tennis playing girlfriend (who's form as also suprisingly dipped over the last year). He has tried to rally over the last few weeks to gain some sort of form so that he doesnt look like a mug when trying to defend his trophy.

    Verdict - Mcilroy yet again misses the cut

  • Comment number 31.

    #20 and #21 I'd like to see where you've got these stats from that breakdown which club he's used to drive. His average drive length is 295, suggests to me he's only using his driver 50% of the time. He'll need it more than that at Olympic. If you're so sure he'll be fine off the tee, why not get stuck in at 8-1, a price which is now drifting alarmingly it should be noted.

    I'm wondering which one of us is actually watching a few clips on SS News and which one understands the PGA Stats.

  • Comment number 32.

    Ian, you say "a repeat of last year's astonishing US Open victory at Congressional is surely asking too much..." but I would think being World #2 it is exactly what you should 'ask'. Given the current top 4; not being in the mix on Sunday constitutes failure I would have thought - all 4 are in very good form and by all accounts a golfers year is based solely on the majors so I would suggest "a repeat" is not too much to ask of Rory with the caveat that LD, LW and TW should also be expected to contend - very closely.

    Froch Carl - you may well be on the wrong blog... try typingsillyrandomwords.com for fellow pointless ramblings...
    Matt - nicely 'not responded' to the above!

  • Comment number 33.

    Hi mickysausage

  • Comment number 34.

    Hello BiloMcSausage

  • Comment number 35.

    In his prime, Woods was a machine. Eating, Drinking, Sleeping and Winning Golf tournaments was pretty much all he did.

    Clearly Rory has a bit more personality about him. He enjoys the celebrity lifestyle, and celebrity girlfriend which is why I would imagine dips in his form are more likely than those of Woods.

    However, Woods has had several bad injuries as well as a self-imposed break so assuming Rory is as good as Tiger (and the timeline suggests he is) then I would not be surprised to see the major's tally creeping close to Tigers in 10 or 15 years.

    Realistically that means Rory has to win at least one major every season. If he does dominate in similar fashion to Woods, he should do that - and some seasons he may win 2, but it's a tough act to follow. Especially considering he's only really competed in 2 majors thus far.

    One other point. Rory does not seem like he has the will to win the smaller events (certainly he has only a handful of wins thus far). Perhaps that will change, but last week was a case in point. Clear chance to get a W on the back 9 and mssed out. I don't imagine a 23 year old Tiger would have flown home empty handed.

  • Comment number 36.

    Mcilroy's caddie always get loads of grief when Rory doesn't play well but you never hear 'didn't his caddie do well this week' when he wins.

    Sounds like a bit of a thankless task but i suppose he gets a fair bit of cash so i'd probably swap places with him!

  • Comment number 37.

    "This was an extraordinary performance that has wrongly been diminished by some observers who claim the course was too easy to be a genuine US Open test.

    Admittedly, heavy rains in the build-up to the 2011 Championship softened the course, which at 7,574 yards was the second longest in US open history. McIlroy finished a record 16 under par, his next closest rival Jason Day was a mere eight under.

    But the Australian runner-up's score is not far off what you would expect to win on a softened US Open par 71 layout. In 1997, when it was 361 yards shorter, Congressional was rated par 70 and Ernie Els won at four under."

    "He has not contended in any subsequent majors but it is worth noting that neither did Tiger Woods after winning the Masters in 1997.

    Woods was 21 when he enjoyed that breakthrough and in the following year his record was very similar to McIlroy's. He had three wins from 22 official events, two runner-ups and two more top fives."

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Doh Ian, at least one was busying changing his swing and practicing while Rory has admitted to taking his eye of the ball in his practice regime. Stop this stupid comparisons, Rory is Rory, Rory isn't tiger, Rory needs to start winning at a rate of knot to be mentioned in the same breath as Nicklaus or Woods.


    As for Congressional, the fairway there is slightly more generous than most US Open venues and When Ernie won there, 5 players were under par, When Rory won on the rain soaked greens, there was 20 players under par [ http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/season=2011/tournamentid=2011040/leaderboard/index.html ]. 15 players extra under par is a big variation in US Open terms.

  • Comment number 38.

    Bmg thanks for the early mention have been busy preparing for the proper big golfing event due to take place next week. Do you want the rights to the commentary?? Or are you going to add it into the sequel novel gettin the hole 2( first one still available on Amazon)( other companies available).
    Ian stop ducking the golf day Manina will find you and as you have a broken leg you wont be able to run away. Shame you are not getting a trip to the states can I go in your place?
    Guys a message from our head Blogger and prediction league guru JIMMY there will be no update this week as he is on a jolly but please post predictions as normal as the good soul he is said he will catch up on his return.

  • Comment number 39.

    Could be a great week for England and English golf with Lee Luke and Justin Rose all playing well and you can never rule out mr clothes horse Poulter Either. Though a shame about Casey,I wonder if he has taken an axe to that snowboard yet as it sure is costing him. Although a streaky putter for me a while back he really looked like he could push on and win majors. He could have and probably should have won the open at St Andrews.

  • Comment number 40.

    Another adequate blog, though devoid of any real colour or passion.

    I think the key difference between McIlroy after last years US Open and Woods after his first Masters is two-fold, one Woods changed his swing completely and still won tournaments, and two he didn't accept that as an excuse for not performing as he wanted at the major's.

    Therein lies Woods's greatest strengh and McIlroy's biggest weakness, Woods doesn't accept anything he deems to be a weakness in his game or team, it might lead to criticism about how he does conducts those decisions, he wasn't happy with his 1997 swing, so changed it and got it right by August 1999 and then won 5 of the next 6 major's, he wanted a new caddy twice, first changing to Williams then to LaCava, whereas Rory will almost accept weakness with a smile, J P stays on the bag because he is a good man to travel with, he fails at the Open, it's ok because it's only one week a year, Wentworth and Sawgrass failures, he says the course's don't suit his eye, when did we ever here Jack, Arnold or Tiger say that, even more so Mickleson who is driven to win US Open & Open to disprove the myth his game doesn't suit their courses.

    Rory has so much talent but I worry he isn't tough enough on himself and those around to match the bar set be Snead, Jack, Tiger, Hogan et al

  • Comment number 41.

    predictions

    mcilroy will finish top 20
    donald will go missing and hide at a major again
    westwood i think has a good shot,but putting under pressure to win a major is his biggest weakness and lets be real it is the most important shot in the game
    woods i think will self destruct again
    and it will be won by a complete randomer,again

  • Comment number 42.

    "35.At 13:41 12th Jun 2012, piehutt wrote:
    In his prime, Woods was a machine. Eating, Drinking, Sleeping and Winning Golf tournaments was pretty much all he did."

    I think you missed out one of his main hobbies there :-)

    I think it would read better this way:

    "In his prime, Fletcher was a machine. Eating, Drinking, Sleeping and ... erm ... Drinking was pretty much all he did."

  • Comment number 43.

    Or possibly:
    "In his prime, Fletcher was a machine. Eating, Drinking, Sleeping and Coming Second in Golf tournaments was pretty much all he did."

  • Comment number 44.

    #31 295 yards is based on the 58 times Woods has used the driver on tour this year, do you seem to think Woods is the longest because he isnt and hasnt been for a number of years Watson averages 314 yards not such a big difference when Woods is ranked 22nd in fairways hit and Watson is 99th.
    Wont be backing Woods as I dont like him and he is never a fair price that dosnt mean he dosnt deserve to be favorite (he dosnt in my opinion) but there will always be people who artificially force his price down in the oopen betting market.

    Just out of interest #Coolerking how far do you think Tiger Woods hits his driver, and just for fun what do you play off

  • Comment number 45.

    Davey... just a thought - do I remember saying you only carried 13 clubs? Hope you're not leaving room in the bag for one of those pop-up-bridges!

  • Comment number 46.

    Davey - I think you did a very good job of reporting the last match, and I see no reason to change that. I will however plagiarise (and embellish) any (in)appropriate scenes for my next novel, 10% of which will of course be donated as usual to a worthy charity (in this case, the DBFRBZF*)

    (* = Dave Boy Fletcher Rocket Ballz Fund)

  • Comment number 47.

    45 cfcboy - his 14th club is actually on of those telescopic lake ball retrievers. Only it's not in the bag right now, because he's having it regripped :-)

  • Comment number 48.

    Rory is the most talented player in the world, in full flow non even Tiger can touch him IMHO. Like Tiger though he needs to comit more to shot shaping (Tiger terrified of a draw and Rory needs to learn how to hit cut shots especiay with short irons). I would love to see Tiger V Rory, but I think Rory if he plays well could not be caught.

  • Comment number 49.

    Davey - are you limbering up for the race to page 2 yet? Best get those hamstrings nice and loose!

  • Comment number 50.

    #48 Tiger terrified of a draw ???

    hes only started hitting a fade 18 months ago when working with Sean Foley

    With Haney and Harmon he played almost exclusivly with a draw

  • Comment number 51.

    #44 Fair enough, didn't realise that was just the driver stats. Although the fact he's used it just 58 times in tournaments this year suggests it stays in the bag as often as possible, perhaps only appearing on the widest fairways. And I'm fully aware he's a fair bit behind the likes of Watson and Johnson in distance, in fact he's just 30th now overall.

    If you follow the PGA shot tracker as often as I do you will know that the bigger hitters are often recording drives well over 320 yds (and Woods is still one of those). Hence why I was a bit surprised his average is just 295.

    I'm not a Woods fan, was once, but not now. But his general good form this year has been on courses he has a particular affinity with. Until he proves otherwise he's not on my list of potential winners.

    I like Tindall's tip on the Life for Baddeley. I'll be looking at him for a top 10 finish at 9-1, looks great value.

    And really not sure what my handicap has to do with things. Lets just say I'm someone who has recently caught the playing bug and has a handicap coming down pretty quickly.

  • Comment number 52.

    ahaha i cant believe how mardy some of you were aka yorkshire blogger and mickie sausage who seem to worship tiger woods, why i do not know.

    Firstly the tour stats are baloney, woods simply barely hits a driver, why???because he can barly hit a driver..never has and never will.

    His drives on the 1st and second holes at the masters were some of the worst drives ive seen a top 100 pro do at augusta. Yet he scrambled par for both holes.

    Face fascts he has a extremely unattractive game to watch, i envy his sucess at golf, not his game.

    Ronnie olsulivan and federer make their sports look like poetry, woods doesnt, hence why hes no where near the most naturally talented golfer.

    Why yorkshire blogger and mickiesausage adore the mardy faced, spitting, club throwing serial cheater i do not know.Perhaps they can answer that question.....

  • Comment number 53.

    Froch Carl... as much as I love the word 'mardy', I stopped reading thereafter. If you're looking for a 'fight'... jog on

  • Comment number 54.

    #51 58 times just highlights Woods's limited playing schedule these days

    Wasnt having a go at handicap it always seems to be the case that 'higher handicapps' or newer golfers think the better players hit the ball further than they do, I can point to plenty of players who think I hit the ball way over 300 yards but in this country its very rare due to temperature air density and generally the climate

    Baddderley would be a good bet but I maintain and this is a personall opinion that no one will ever win the Masters or a US Open using a belly putter as the speed of the greens means you require more touch and feel rather than a perfect mechanicall stroke and whilst the 2 are not mutually exclusive I believe a longer putter enhances the mechanics of the stroke but limits the feel and touch.

    I also am not a Woods fan, however you could point to any event on the tour Tiger reguarly plays and say he has an affinity with it considering his awesome record

  • Comment number 55.

    Oh and my tip's for the US Open,

    I am putting Westwood as one of my four but I do fear he will blow it in the greens again, my other three are Furyk and Stricker who had decent showings in 1998, and Harrington as I feel he will be suited by a tough course and it is worth noting his 5 year exemption in major's is up this year and he is outside the world's top 50 so as it stands is only guaranteed a place at Augusta and probably in the Open so he needs big performances in the three remaining major's to prevent further slumps

  • Comment number 56.

    #54 No offence taken, I do monitor that shot tracker a lot so know the yardages they're hitting (gonna miss it this week to be honest although there's a far more complete TV Coverage).

    You're probably right about Baddeley which is why I wouldn't back him to win it. But his record on the W Coast and on tight tracks makes him very interesting.

    I'm also pondering the likes of Garcia and Peter Hanson too. Both seem to turn up well for US Majors. Garcia's issues are obviously mainly in the head but both warmed up nicely for it last week and know how to put 4 decent rounds together in majors.

  • Comment number 57.

    Garcias best shot is still the Open imo

  • Comment number 58.

    @ Froch Carl

    It is quite obvious your wife had a one night stand with TW and you are envious he is better than you on the golf course and putting from the rough, so to speak

    stats are facts im afraid. and if you did not enjoy some of the shots TW played last week, especially that chip on the 16th, then not only are you a troll but you are a boring one.

  • Comment number 59.

    In golf, as in life, there is nothing more common than failed talent. RM needs to take heed of that old truism if he is to convert his undoubted talent and skill into more than a highlighted footnote in the annals of golfing fame and legend.

    Measured by achievements in the "big ones", TW currently has one golfing superior, no peers and a host of wannabes flapping about in his trail. This guy could retire today and his legacy as a supreme golfer, perhaps the most talented ever, would be secure. He has converted his talent into results.

    For those not blinkered by hero worshipping loyalty, these observations are fact - end of !

  • Comment number 60.

    @ 36.At 13:41 12th Jun 2012, Anal McAnal wrote: ...ridiculous blog name!

  • Comment number 61.

    i wasnt on the last blog and i can see that it was terrible as a result of my absense. I need you all to come back to me ASAP as to why you think the last blog was poor and ways to improve it. I will collate the data and get back to you all.

  • Comment number 62.

    Bilo last blog terrible due to two reasons
    1 you were mia
    2 you were mia
    3 you were mia
    Get the picture lol

  • Comment number 63.

    McIlroy's attitude is typical of an athlete who thinks talent can make up for lack of hard work. Here's a newsflash: hard work trumps talent. Every single time. He needs to work as hard as he used to when he was a kid (if the stories about him as a kid are to be believed). He would not have done his talent service unless he realises his full potential, and that cannot be achieved by running around with his tennis partner all year long.

  • Comment number 64.

    Bmg My ball retriever is in full and working order it has been regripped with a nice rbz themed green grip (others available).
    I will fully extend it to amuse our Manina next week.
    Have some serious work to do this week in preparation for the big rematch and if things dont go to plan have a manina sized suitcase to stick Manina in after he has been dispatched.

  • Comment number 65.

    #52 You know, froch carl, I can't quite work out whether you're just trolling here or not ...

    OK, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt - I've been a bit nosey an had a look at some of your previous posts on golf/football/snooker, and your views are not completely different to mine. But you really do seem to have a huge chip on your shoulder about Tiger Woods. I'm not his greatest fan but statistics alone indicate that he is by far the greatest golfer of his era.

    I don't think yorkshire_blogger and mickysausage "worship" TW, you've just got to be fairly blinkered not to appreciate what he's done.

    I like the word mardy by the way - For those of you not familiar, wikipedia says "Mardy is a word in some dialects of English meaning: awkward; uncooperative; bad tempered; whiny; aloof; stroppy, moody, miserable or sulking like a small child. Its usage tends to be more common around, but not exclusive to Yorkshire, the West Midlands, East Midlands and Staffordshire."

    Totally agree with you about the sublime skills of O'Sullivan and Federer by the way.

  • Comment number 66.

    @Bilo...Last week was quite good, we talked about one of the "best" golf shots we'll ever see from one of/if not the "best " golfer we'll ever have the privilege of seeing. I'm not talking about TW Bilo, I'm talking about John Hawksworth!!??
    I do think a "troll" update is required though!!

  • Comment number 67.

    #61

    Bilo, the last blog was poor because you and Don247 weren't around

  • Comment number 68.

    The interview with Gmac was interesting he seems to like the course he was playing a practise round with Pete Cowan in tow and I was not sure but it could have been Westwood as well any one confirm this.
    This whole Woods Rory comparisson thing is a bit of a waste of time as when Rory is Tigers age then a comparisson of their careers to that point would be more useful.
    As for the comments about Tigers driving it has never been the greatest strength in his game. The myth that he was longest driver of the ball was just that, he has never been a slouch off the tee but had the ability to really rip one on occasion.
    As for talent ? Tiger has bags of it but has imo got too bogged down in swing changes instead of playing his own natural way.

  • Comment number 69.

    Matte great idea Bilo a list of worst or best trolls would be good Matte your arch nemesis should be in there old man
    I would add sports_nut

  • Comment number 70.

    @ yorkshire blogger, resulting in personal insults is a sign you obviously are seething. In regards to my wife she would prefer george clooney or brad pitt, or even ryan gosling. Woods...nah, think she would pass on that one mate...

    @65

    where am i trolling? i HAVE SIMPLY stated that woods is no where near the greatest golfer ever, fact. Jack nickalaus is.

    And my other point about woods is hes not like rory, ronnie olsulivan or roger federer who when on form play the game beautifully like its a work of art. Woods at his best still looks like a struggle. even if its very effective.


    My final point is how can anyone root for woods, not only does he have terrible golfing etiquet, hes horrible off the course as well. There really is no redeemable feature of him tbh.

    is that trolling???

  • Comment number 71.

    CARL FROCH :-

    Full name Eldrick Tont Woods
    Nickname Tiger
    Number of wins by tour
    PGA Tour 73 (tied 2nd all time)
    European Tour 38 (3rd all time)[2][3]
    Japan Golf Tour 2
    Asian Tour 1
    PGA Tour of Australasia 1
    Other 16
    Best results in Major Championships Wins: 14

  • Comment number 72.

    CARL FROCH :-

    Ronnie O'Sullivan
    Tournament wins
    Ranking 24
    Minor-ranking 2
    Non-ranking 23
    World Champion 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012

  • Comment number 73.

    I'll tell you Tiger haters how good he is - this article is predomiantly about Rory, yet you seem obsessed with comparing him to Tiger - you can't get him out of your heads - why - because he is the best golfer in the world over the past 15 years.
    Congrats to the Curtis Cup girls - great job

  • Comment number 74.

    CARL FROCH :-

    Roger Federer
    Career titles 74 (ATP World Tour and Grand Slam) (4th in the Open Era)
    Grand Slam Singles results
    Australian Open W (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010)
    French Open W (2009)
    Wimbledon W (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009)
    US Open W (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
    Other tournaments
    Tour Finals W (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011

  • Comment number 75.

    Hawksworth had about 220 Yards to the green and he was on a tight lie on a downward slope, the ball was about 8 inches below his feet. he was hitting directly into the wind. it was a very stiff breeze, about 30mph i'd say. Hawksworth played a low punched 3 iron that pierced the wind and flew straight and true and finished about 2 foot from the pin. Without doubt the best shot in the world ever.

  • Comment number 76.

    i wish people would stop the Lee Westwood bashing on here.

  • Comment number 77.

    CARL FROCH :-

    Looking at the above stats i would say considering Tiger Woods has won 145 events since turning pro he is probably the greatest sportsman of the modern era "FACT" and considering the size of the fields that enter golf events compared to snooker and tennis i think Tiger Woods over the last 16 years has made gold look considerably "EASY"

  • Comment number 78.

    #70 froch carl - I _did_ give you the benefit of the doubt.

    But seriously, however you regard Eldrick as a human being, I really don't see how you can deny his golfing ability (notice how I used "ability" rather than "talent" there?) He's up there in the top 5 golfers of all time (and no I'm not going to name them).

    My personal opinion (note: other opinions are available) is that Jack Nicklaus is the greatest golfer of all time - Woods has been fortunate in the relative paucity of opposition during his peak years - Unlike Jack, he didn't have to compete with players of the calibre of Palmer, Watson, Trevino, Player etc (ok, Mickelson & Singh weren't bad).

    I'm kind of on your side, but TW really is up there in the list of the best ever.

    But I take back my "trolling" comment.

  • Comment number 79.

    @micky....How do you rate TW for this week dude. I think he'll be close. I see Butch has even started talking him up again.
    I wonder if any of Rory's fans think he's got a shot in him like TW produced at the 16th the other week????

  • Comment number 80.

    People with a personal dislike of TW should not assume those who admire his amazing golfing ability love the man - we love his golf

    I don't think its ugly the way he plays golf - he has hit some shots in his career that nobody else on the planet can play in that particular situation - look at what Nicklaus said about his chip on 16th - best he had ever seen at the tournament, from the great man himself that is some compliment!

  • Comment number 81.

    I dont know why all Rory fans want to compare with TW, I think all of you should talk when he wins 5 majors,Tiger has never missed cuts in his career like Rory has been doing even at his worst. I find criticism of TW is always overboard - But then he is his own benchmark!

  • Comment number 82.

    Mac's a choker.

    He aint got what it takes between the ears. Right now he's wobbling like a bowl of jello.

  • Comment number 83.

    @ micksausage

    But for starters you claimed that by winning the most tourneys hes the best ever sportsman ????

    Federer has won 16 grand slams thats 2 more than sampras. plus federer has got djokovic and nadal in his era, far more fiecer competition than vijay sighn and ernie els lol.


    But my point wasnt on his sucess, that is undeniable, my point is hes horriboe to watch. Ronnieol osulivan and federer look like the game comes naturally to them. They make it look so easy and effortless.

    Woods on the other hand muscles everythig and has to rely very heavily on his clutch putting and scraambling, which is the greatest ever ill admit that one.

    But my points still stand he is 5 majors away from being the best ever, and he plays unattractive golf particularly when he has a 1 wood in his hand.

    Those are facts you cannot deny desite how much you seeth

  • Comment number 84.

    @78

    i agree with you, it pains me to say but the morouse one has to go down as one of the goats. But hes no where near the greatest.

  • Comment number 85.

    57.
    At 14:57 12th Jun 2012, 1putt4life wrote:

    Garcias best shot is still the Open imo


    -------------

    Fully agree, I think he needs very windy open championship with slightly faster greens than normal for Open C..... as will not have to take bigger back-swing in his putting stroke. It will be a shame if he doesn't win one.

  • Comment number 86.

    Hi MattEfc how's it going? I think Tiger will be up there for sure, Butch has said that he now as full control of his golf and that is dangerous to hear for other Pro's. Woods has pulled of shots that no other golfers will ever emulate and the shot at the 16th hole last week was freak like! To have somebody like Jack N waiting for you at the 18th to tell you thats the best shot he has ever seen is the best comment you could ever recieve. I for one dont think we will see a shot like that again especially from a terrbible lie too, like the commentators said that shot could have gone horribly wrong.

  • Comment number 87.

    Froch Carl sorry but how can you say Tiger plays ugly golf and if you believe that then give examples??? Have you ever actually been to a tournament and watched Tiger play ?? The guy plays and carries off shots others cannot see let alone pull out of the bag. The only other players at the mo with his skill and vision are probably Phil and Bubba.
    To bring other sports into a golf conversation just adds to the mystery of the opinions you hold.
    Tiger off and sometimes on the course may not be the perfect role model but get over the tabloid stuff and watch Tiger mark 3 try his best to beat Jacks record because the guy will do his best to get there.

  • Comment number 88.

    @micky....I'm ok dude, you need to get your blogging going properly again, to many fleeting visits for a "ledge" of the blog.

    @cfc.....Nice one, only just seen that!

    @Davey... I really wouldn't take anyone seriously when they bring TW's private life into a debate about his golf, they obviously have issues with themselves!!!??? Otherwise it wouldn't bother them!

  • Comment number 89.

    Matte mm some folk just wind ya up you know what I mean esp when they dont really have anything to back up the daftness. Talking of daft good to see Bilo back and not daft but good to see him back the sausage meister.
    Micky you on line in The states by chance ??

  • Comment number 90.

    @Davey...Oh yes, Bilo must have some collated data ready by now!! This blog needs to hear from Bilo tonight with regards to previously compiled data. Come on Bilo, I've done food/drink lists whilst you were on a sabbatical. We need that data (Olympic Club) fast!!??

    We also need to hear from sumo, powerhitter, don etc.

  • Comment number 91.

    Hi everyone how about a discussion on this week's BIG golf topic - the US Open. Thoughts on the course and its setup? Predictions? Will the sequences of 14 consecutive different major winners and eight straight first time winners continue? Will one of the old(er) guard come back? Will the Olympic curse of great champions being downed by the lesser lights strike again? Can the Yanks continue their amazing run of victories on the PGA Tour (11 out of the past 12 and 20/25 total) - or can one of our British/European boys keep the trophy over this side of the pond?

  • Comment number 92.

    IMHO...!! Here's the worlds greatest ever golfer lads. What a player..!! What a human being...!! Here's my case with the help of wiki.....

    Arnold Palmer: "Byron Nelson accomplished things on the pro tour that never have been and never will be approached again."

    Starting in 1942 and ending in 1946, Byron Nelson finished in the Top 10 in 65 consecutive tournaments. Over that full time period, Nelson finished out of the Top 10 only once, winning 34 times and finishing second 16 more times.
    Nelson's 1945 season is the best ever by a male golfer. He won 18 times, including 11 tournaments in a row. He did it with a 68.33 stroke average that was not bested for another 55 years.

    The story goes that his wife suggested that he played golf in order to raise the money to buy their own ranch rather than touch their savings. Nelson achieved that goal in 1946 . He belonged to the "you measure a man by how he treats his wife, and what his wife thinks of him" club.

    Ken Venturi: "You can always argue who was the greatest player, but Byron is the finest gentleman the game has ever known."

    There is more to a golfer than winning the most majors lads. Nelson was the complete package IMO.

    I rest my case m'lords.

  • Comment number 93.

    Re Westwood last weekend. Did anybody else on the blog notice how good players like Garcia, Hanson and Fisher imploded on the back nine while the Worksop wonder did the opposite of choke? I think that if Lee has a metronomic week in San Francisco he could win if he sticks to his GIR/ 2 putt 'boring' golf. I seem to remember Vijay winning a PGA play-off against Justin Leonard around 2003 putting really badly. Here's hoping!

  • Comment number 94.

    Regarding post #6. I think you have a point on moral grounds, but disagree that he is depriving a pro of a spot. He qualified fair and square in the same process as everyone else. So in that respect, if you're good enough, you're old enough...

  • Comment number 95.

    @93..Not a bad shout given that we know it'll not go too far into the Red. LW's best chance is at the US Open and tee to green he's fine. I think he'll be "one to watch". My honest opinion is that his best chance to win a Major has already passed, but we'll see.

  • Comment number 96.

    On behalf of Jimmy who's somewhere in Italy

    May I congratulate YB and mania for getting a clean sweep in the Nordea

    Westwood
    Fisher
    Garcia

    18 points and I think only fair 10 bonus points for a clean sweep

    As you are the first (and I run the prediction league ) to get a clean sweep in a tournament I beleive 10 extra points is fair and I will continue with this scenario in the future(double for a Major)


    Nearly everybody scored points in europe apart from Golden Bear ( I know best ?) and when I (jimmy return from holiday will update the prediction league)

    Just to make it interesting I will be giving everybody 4 picks this week with a single point for forth

    I hope you improve and can challenge myself and daveyboy for the title

  • Comment number 97.

    @Bilosausage

    Welcome Back

    I sure miss your knowledge and lists !!!!!!!!!!!!

    NOT

  • Comment number 98.

    On behalf of Jimmy our Prediction chairman :

    His picks are for the US Open (No Europe picks this week)are :

    Tiger Woods
    Phil Mickelson
    Nick Watney
    Hunter Mahan

    DO NOT FORGET 4 PICKS THIS WEEK AND DOUBLE POINTS

  • Comment number 99.

    Good to see Rory get back in form - he is a young guy and got waylaid a bit for a few months, but I suspect he will come back strongly.I agree you can't really compare him to Woods in terms of achievement but Laurence Donegan made an interesting point about the two golfers. he said that at McIlroy's age Woods' problem was that he had no friends, only golf whereas McIlroy has plenty of friends and much more of a life which has caused his golf to suffer a bit. Woods is the most single minded individual in the most individual of games and has revolutionised the game, for one example only it is now possible to call the professional game a sport.
    Both golfers are now in form - and will probably contend at the Open. I also rate Westwood's chances. As an outside pick I would love to see Garcia win and get his confidence and smile back - he probably has more talent than anyone (apart from his putting).
    So 96 these are my 4 picks.

  • Comment number 100.

    @BILOSAUSAGE

    As you are both playing in the Northwest ,I (mania) challenge you to play the best of Leicestershire ( Daveyboy and myself) for the honuary championship of BBC BLOG GOLFER (s)
    as it looks like
    Mr Iain Carter cannot be bothered to organise a charity golf day,no matter how hard we pester him.

 

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