Let us know what you think about the site, we would love to hear from you:

Login Here

   Sign Up Now »
Email Address
Password
Keep Me Logged In
Forgot Password?
You are currently logged into Facebook. You can use your facebook account to login or signup
Login/Sign Up

Sign Up Now

   Login Here »
Email Address
Password
Confirm Password
Username
Phone Number
Captcha Image
By signing up you agree to our Terms Of Use
You are currently logged into Facebook. You can use your facebook account to login or signup
Login/Sign Up

Forgot Password

Email Address

19th Hole
News and Opinion

Golf Blogs

Date CreatedMost Popular

Sean Donnelly
Ryder Cup: Justin Rose feels fan-free contest could be intense
Jun 1, 2020 11:02 AM
 
The prospect of playing September’s Ryder Cup behind closed doors has generated no shortage of intrigue since the idea was first floated back in April. Suffice to say, the dominant tenor of the response from fans, pundits and players alike has been overwhelmingly negative. Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Shane Lowry, Russell Knox and Graeme McDowell are just a few examples of leading European players who have said that the event shouldn’t go ahead if fans are not permitted to attend Whistling Straits Golf Club in Wisconsin. This perspective has since been endorsed publicly by European and US captains, Padraig Harrington and Steve Stricker, while Brooks Koepka is one of several top American golfers to have stated that a Ryder Cup without fans is not a Ryder Cup at all. In light of such forceful public criticism of the behind closed doors proposals, many pundits, notably the Telegraph’s James Corrigan, have speculated that it is a matter of time before the event is formally postponed. In this context that it was so interesting to see the former US Open winner and world No.1, Justin Rose proffer an alternative perspective on the prospect of the event being played without fans. In his analysis, there are good reasons to hold the tournament in the autumn if at all possible, with or without spectators. Justin Rose doesn't think a Ryder Cup without fans would be as bad as it sounds... https://t.co/FUmvichiSR pic.twitter.com/2EqmYo41oe— GOLF.com (@GOLF_com) May 31, 2020 “We might actually be used to it [no crowds] by then," Rose told Golf.com. "It might almost be interesting if the Ryder Cup is the first event with fans. "Who knows how the summer is gonna play out? The thought of a Ryder Cup without fans is mind-blowing, but what is the new normal? Would we rather still have the opportunity to play? You can't just bump everything to 2021 because 2021 becomes chaos if that's the case. "In one way, it could be more intense between the two players. There's nowhere to hide, nowhere else to look. You know, it's eyeball to eyeball. It could create a bizarrely intense environment." Rose will be in the field when the PGA Tour resumes regular season play behind closed doors at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Fort Worth Golf Club in Texas on 11 June, and the Englishman professed to be relishing the opportunity to return to competitive action. "I think the sport will be a great help for people who are still not able to get back to work themselves in whatever way," Rose added. "I really miss competing and I'm willing to go through some of the pain that's going to be required. "It's going to be tedious, the checks and balances that we need to have in place to make it safe. For me, it's worth it, especially hearing about what the key workers have gone through. While we've been tucked up safe and sound, they've been out there on the front lines dealing with this. "So, for me, having to wear a mask here and there and deal with some questions and take a temperature and a swab or two, it's like, 'Get on with it, man.' You realise that you're pretty fortunate to have the opportunity." Rose’s pragmatic attitude may ultimately be the only approach capable of remedying the current impasse regarding September’s Ryder Cup. A suboptimal outcome is presently the best that can be hoped for. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Spectator-free Ryder Cup 'more favourable' for Europe than USA
May 31, 2020 7:52 AM
 
Luke Donald has always been a divisive figure among golf fans. The first player ever to reach the summit of the Official World Golf Rankings having never won or finished runner-up in a major championship, many spectators regarded him as an inappropriate figurehead. This impression was strengthened as a consequence of the widespread perception that Donald’s game lacked the panache associated figures such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els. Devoid of a major title or any truly exceptional technical or physical attributes, Donald’s game didn’t provide the casual sports fan with a great deal by which to be enthralled. To golf obsessives, on the other hand, Donald has long been a figure of peculiar intrigue. In an era increasingly dominated by big-hitters (Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka) and players possessed of preternatural technical flair (Woods, Mickelson, McIlroy), Donald stood-out as a broadly average golfer – a 7/10 in most all aspects of the sport – who maximised his abilities through a combination of hard-work and steely self-discipline. A look back to the 2001 @walkercup where @lukedonald finished his last amateur event in style pic.twitter.com/cLNqcOxnlN— The R&A (@RandA) May 25, 2020 Prioritizing traditional virtues such as accuracy off the tee, pristine ball-striking and solid putting, Donald’s unrivalled consistency and renowned strategic intelligence enabled him to out-think many more technically accomplished rivals and rise to the very summit of the professional game. It is perhaps unsurprising, therefore, that where many players, fans and pundits have responded to the prospect of a spectator-less Ryder Cup with howls of indignation or bewilderment, Donald sensed opportunity. Confirmed as one of European captain, Padraig Harrington’s assistants a fortnight ago, the Englishman told the Sky Sports golf podcast that a behind-closed doors staging of the Ryder Cup in Wisconsin in September may yield the travelling side with a valuable advantage. "It certainly could benefit us [Europe]”, Donald reflected. “Obviously for anyone who watched the exhibition match last weekend and saw some live golf, there were only four players and there wasn't much energy there. "I think players feed off the energy, especially the home team. They feed off that positive vibe and the crowd can play a big part, that's why it's always an advantage to be at home. "If we were to play a Ryder Cup without any fans, then being in America it would be more favourable to the Europeans than the US team." As someone who featured on the winning side in all four Ryder Cup appearances as a player, as well as when he was a vice-captain during the 2018 contest at Le Golf National, we would be wise to regard Donald’s contribution seriously. In light of the Englishman’s comments, we should not be surprised if the European Tour’s resistance to the prospect of a behind-closed-doors Ryder Cup is significantly less substantial than that of their counterparts across the Atlantic. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
European Tour announces revised schedule for 2020 – at last
May 29, 2020 9:47 AM
Tags: European Tour   Keith Pelley   COVID-19   News   pga tour  
 
No professional sporting institution has escaped the impact of the novel COVID-19 pandemic unscathed. From the UEFA Champions League and the Olympics, to Formula 1 and the ATP Tour, Covid-19 has decimated the global sporting calendar and it remains unclear how many organisations plan to relaunch regular competition. Golf, of course, has been no less profoundly impacted by this global shock. Not a competitive ball has been struck in anger since the Players Championship was abandoned after just 18-holes in March. But as damaging as the pandemic has undoubtedly been to the US PGA Tour, the consequences of lost spectator, broadcast and commercial sponsorship revenue were always likely to hit the European Tour hardest. The financial resources available to the old-world circuit have always paled in comparison to the riches of the PGA Tour. With The Open Championship postponed and the fate of September’s Ryder Cup unclear, many commentators have pondered whether the most enduring golfing legacy of COVID-19 may be to precipitate a long-mooted unification of the two organisations, thus creating a Formula 1-style World Tour. Yippeee ! Happy to hear the news that’s the European Tour looks set to kick off in late July with the British Masters in Newcastle....followed by four in row all in Britain. It will be like the old days on tour. #HappyFriday pic.twitter.com/0YDqiZiwBk — Ken Brown (@KenBrownGolf) May 22, 2020 Indeed, it was striking that when the PGA Tour triumphantly announced its plans for a phased reopening in April, the European Tour retained a deathly silence. Leaked emails subsequently revealed that Chief Executive, Keith Pelley had been privately warning staff and players of slashed prize funds, a loss of luxury cars and a dramatically altered competitive landscape when play finally resumes. In this context it was heartening to receive confirmation last week that the European Tour will resume regular season play on 22 July with a run of six tournaments over six weeks in the UK, starting with the British Masters at Close House. The season will run until December, with all tournaments played behind closed doors and subject to strict safety and testing protocols. The other events in the British swing are the English Open, the English Championship, back-to-back tournaments at Celtic Manor — the Celtic Classic and the Wales Open — and the UK Championship at the Belfry. However, they are all subject to the lifting of the two-week quarantine by the government relating to those travelling from outside the country. Four Rolex Series events have also been announced, with the Scottish Open and PGA Championship in back-to-back weeks in October, while the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa and the World Tour Championship in Dubai will take place in December. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the long-term viability of the European Tour remains to be determined; for now, we can only be glad golf is set to resume on both sides of the Atlantic. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Shane Lowry says he will only return to Europe to play the Irish Open in 2020
May 27, 2020 1:32 PM
Tags: Irish Open   European Tour   COVID-19   News   pga tour   Shane Lowry  
 
It is unlikely to have escaped the notice of an attentive sports fan that Irish golf has enjoyed something of a Golden Age over the last 15 years. Having not produced a major winner in six decades following the Portrush native Fred Daly’s triumph at the 1947 Open Championship, Padraig Harrington’s victory at Carnoustie in 2007 opened the floodgates in terms of Irish major success. First Harrington went on to retain the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and the Dubliner followed that triumph up with a US PGA Championship win at Oakland Hills to mark the occasion of his third major victory in the space of 13 months. Graeme McDowell built on Harrington’s success by winning the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach in dramatic fashion before a certain Mr. Rory McIlroy made his major breakthrough at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. Darren Clarkewon Ireland’s third Open in five years at Royal St George's just a month later, and McIlroy has since gone on to add two US PGA Championships (2012; ’14) and an Open to his tally (‘14). “The Claret Jug is going to be in safe hands for another year”Defending champion Shane Lowry reacts as The Open Championship is cancelled for 2020https://t.co/nwOc0oWIvW— The42.ie (@The42_ie) April 6, 2020 This is without even mentioning the progress of County Offaly native, Shane Lowry who built on his 2007 Irish Open triumph as an amateur by winning the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in 2015 before claiming his maiden major championship triumph on home soil at The Open at Portrush last summer. Indeed, of all Ireland’s recent major winners it is perhaps Lowry who feels most authentically hewn from the soil of the emerald isle. For all McIlroy’s heroics on the pristine parkland courses of the United States, the gritty manner of Lowry’s two most famous victories in appalling conditions on classic links courses at Baltray and Portrush crystallise a distinctly Irish golfing tradition, and the player has never been shy of expressing his love for his homeland. It is perhaps unsurprising, therefore, that the 33-year-old, who has remained in Florida since the abandonment of the Players Championship in March, avowed that he would only consider returning to Europe to contest one event in 2020, and that event is the Irish Open. Tournament officials are hopeful that the Irish Open could be rescheduled for later in the year, having been postponed in its original May date, with Lowry expecting global travel restrictions to limit any chance of playing regularly on both tours. "The way it is, especially with the quarantine on both sides, I don't think it'd be physically possible for me (to go back to Europe)," the world No.20 told RTE 2FM's Game On. "The only tournament I would contemplate going back for was if there was an Irish Open put back on the schedule or something like that”, he added. “I haven't seen a schedule from the European Tour so I can't really tell but I'll probably be mostly in America for the rest of the year." At a time when the long-term financial viability of the European Tour remains deeply uncertain, the enduring sentimental support of figures such as Lowry is of vital importance. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Tiger Woods & Peyton Manning beat Tom Brady & Phil Mickelson in $20m charity match
May 26, 2020 3:18 AM
 
More than once sports fans across the world have marvelled as the pneumatic arm of Tom Brady powered his team, generally the New England Patriots, to victory. One thinks, for example, of Super Bowl XXXVI vs. St. Louis Rams when, with 01:37 on the clock in the final-quarter, Brady spearheaded a five-for-six for 53-yard drive to set-up a game-winning field-goal from Adam Vinatieri. Or one could reflect upon the 06-’07 divisional playoffs vs. San Diego Chargers when Brady completed a 19-yard pass to tight-end, Daniel Graham and a 49-yard bomb to wide-receiver, Reche Caldwell to complete a stunning final-quarter comeback. Thus, when Brady holed-out from 100-yards on the par-5 seventh-hole at a rainy Medalist Golf Club in Florida on Sunday, providing him and his teammate, Phil Mickelson with a slender advantage over Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning going into the back-nine of their charity match play event, it seemed the six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback was destined for yet more sporting glory. But this was not the NFL, and on the golf course, Woods, not Brady, is the apex predator. The 14-time major winner swiftly went about reminding Brady of this fact on the back-nine as he and Manning surged to victory in a match which raised $20m (£16.4m) for coronavirus relief efforts in the United States. Never doubt @TomBrady. Charles Barkley learned the hard way ... pic.twitter.com/muZ0xkt5xJ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 24, 2020 This was a joyous occasion for golf. A week on from Rory McIlroy's $6m charity skins event at Seminole, the PGA-NFL fusion match included on-course challenges for charitable funds - and plenty of trash talk. Brady, for instance, had been getting a hard time from NBA great and commentator Charles Barkley just before converting his 100-yard wedge shot on the seventh. "When the going gets tough, the tough get going," joked Brady. Then, after giving a short speech, Brady - who joined Tampa Bay in March after 20 years with New England - bent down and split his trousers as he picked the ball up from the cup. The event comes two-and-a-half weeks before the PGA Tour plans to resume its season on 11 June. Perhaps most significantly, Woods, 44, who last competed in February and then withdrew from a number of tournaments with a back injury, said he is healthy and ready to play when the Tour resumes. For a sport that has been dogged by a negative public image related to perceived historic class, race and gender-based discrimination, the past fortnight has been a tremendous PR coup. The events at Seminole and Medalist respectively present a far more accurate picture of the charitable spirit of the contemporary PGA Tour than most popular media caricatures allow. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
How might Tiger’s revised PGA Tour schedule look?
May 23, 2020 9:36 AM
Tags: Rory McIlroy   Tiger Woods   COVID-19   News   pga tour  
 
For much of the last two months, it has felt profoundly distasteful to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the PGA Tour without first stating clearly that golf is a mere triviality in the context of a rapidly unfolding global public health crisis. In the aftermath of the abandonment of the Players Championship in March, as the global death roll rose seemingly inexorably upward, it was difficult to regard the decimation of the PGA Tour schedule as anything other than a trifling issue – a banal side effect of zero social consequence. Escape artists. @TigerWoods and @PhilMickelson always seem to pull off the unthinkable. pic.twitter.com/7NHZAezBT8— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 21, 2020 But as death-tolls contract, reproduction rates stabilise and economies and societies gradually reopen, suddenly the resumption of regular PGA Tour play from 11 June is a going concern for fans. With appetites whetted following Rory McIlroy’s appearance at the TaylorMade Driving Relief match-play contest and Tiger Woods’ participation in the Champions for Charity Match Play event, many fans are eager to see how their favourite players’ schedules may evolve. McIlroy was swift to provide clarity on this point, stating a fortnight ago that he intends to play each of the first three behind-closed-door events when regular season PGA Tour play resumes: the Charles Schwab Challenge from June 11-14, followed by the RBC Heritage and the Travelers Championship. But with former world No.1s such as Adam Scott and Lee Westwood far less committal regarding their return to the Tour, speculation has mounted with respect to when we might see Tiger play again. It bears restating, therefore, that when the PGA Tour season was paused on 18 March, Woods (No.11) had already been out of action for a month with recurring back pain and many were pondering whether he'd even be fit to defend his Masters title. Indeed, his last appearance came on 16 February when he shot a final-round 77 at the Genesis Invitational to finish 68th, alone in last place among those who made the cut. Seven weeks later, and Woods' back -- relatively speaking -- no longer seems to be an issue. He said during the rebroadcast of his Masters victory on April 12 that he "would have been good to go,'' and that he has been able to practice and play at The Medalist near his home in Jupiter, Florida. Now, predicting Woods’ schedule is tricky at the best of times, principally because he plays so few events and has struggled to maintain full fitness in recent seasons. However, it is particularly awkward now because he, like all elite players, is faced with playing some events he has rarely -- or never -- played and a hectic fall schedule with three of the majors postponed. You can count on Woods for the three majors this calendar year (the PGA Championship, U.S. Open and Masters), the Ryder Cup if he makes the team (he is currently eighth in the U.S. standings, and no announcements have been made about a revision to the criteria) and almost certainly Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament. Beyond those five events, it is a complete guessing game trying to anticipate Woods’ schedule. Perhaps, therefore, as in every other aspect of 2020, there is little point in attempting to look beyond the day that lies ahead of you. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
No qualifiers, limited attendance at US Open
May 23, 2020 8:27 AM
Tags: US Open   tony romo   Rory McIlroy   Tiger Woods   COVID-19   News  
 
Golf’s attempts to break into the mainstream of the western sporting consciousness have long been stymied by the game’s negative social image. The origins of this problem, of course, that long predate the institutionalization of the professional sport in the early twentieth-century. Golf has always been popularly viewed as the preserve of a privileged social coterie. This is in part a consequence of the specialization of the materials and environment required to play the sport. Unlike soccer, say, golf requires custom-designed clubs and balls, and courses tailored and maintained to very specific standards. Such accoutrements cost money. Indeed, golf was invested with the royal approval of King Charles I less than two-hundred years after the rules of the discipline were codified on the eastern coast of Scotland in the Kingdom of Fife during the 15th century. The game has been associated with elites ever since. An institutionalised racism, even more than a partially inherent classism, is perhaps golf’s most negative historical association. Michael Margulis, for instance, noted in the lead-up to the 2017 Masters that Augusta refused to sanction the participation of an African-American golfer until 1975, 11 years after the United States passed the Civil Rights act of 1645. Per @golfweek:US Open qualifying canceled in totality, and will have a fully exempt field. Mid-Ams canceled as well. All the details are here: https://t.co/YodmRnkGt2— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) May 18, 2020 Sexism still lingers, too. Numerous leading Scottish courses are in danger of being booted-off The Open championship rota for disallowing female members, while it took Augusta 80 years to accept their first two female members in 2012. It is in this context that the romantic, democratic ethos characteristic of the US Open has always been so refreshing. Any player with a handicap is eligible to try their hand in attempting to earn a spot alongside Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods at one of the sport’s most prestigious events. Hell, even the recently-retired former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Tony Romo tried his hand at qualifying two seasons ago. In 2020, however, the US Open, like so much of life, will be organised a little differently. The United States Golf Association confirmed last week that this year’s event, slated for 17-20 September at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York, will be held with limited spectators and without qualifying. The field will instead be "filled entirely through exemptions"; golfers exempt from qualifying competitions include those who have won the tournament in the last decade and top-10 finishers from the tournament's previous year, for example, or those who qualify through a special exemption set by the USGA. Striking, too, is the fact that under new attendance restrictions, the number of people allowed on-course daily will fall from approximately 40,000 to 2,000. One can only hope that 2020 is merely an anomalous blip in the continually democratic history of US golf’s oldest major. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Players’ concerns linger over PGA Tour restart
May 21, 2020 10:03 AM
Tags: Adam Scott   Rory McIlroy   Lee Westwood   News   pga tour  
 
Okay, brass tacks: the TaylorMade Driving Relief match-play skins event at Seminole last week was a far cry from the full-blooded cut-and-thrust of a regular season PGA Tour event. While the spectre of four, short-clad multimillionaire golfers lugging their clubs around was a charming novelty, and the $5.5 million raised for COVID-19-related charities hugely admirable, the event lacked the competitive intrigue that underpins PGA Tour golf. Simply put, it didn’t really matter who won last weekend, and the event served, ultimately, only to sharpen public appetite for the return of the professional game at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas on 11 June. Rory McIlroy, for one, has publicly articulated his eagerness to return to the competitive circuit, reflecting at Seminole last week that although “it has only been nine weeks since the Players [Championship was abandoned]”, it feels like a long time since he had played competitively, concluding it was nice “to get those competitive juices going again”. One last look at Seminole GC before the charity skins match.#DrivingRelief pic.twitter.com/LHTlSYD5Ri— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 17, 2020 However, not every golfer is so keen as the world No.1 to get back competing regularly on the PGA Tour. Adam Scott, for instance, has announced he will not be rushing back to compete on the PGA Tour until he is satisfied it will be safe to do so. The world No.6, who won in consecutive starts at the Australian PGA Championship and The Genesis Invitational at the beginning of the season, stated that he intends to remain at home in Queensland for at least six weeks after the resumption of PGA Tour action next month, and he will then consider his options if safety precautions are tightened. "They are being fairly thorough, but my initial reaction was I was surprised it wasn't tighter than it is," Scott told the Australian Associated Press. "What concerns me is dialogue that the PGA Tour is hopeful of returning one or two-hour test. You'd want that in place before competing. "The other concern is it seems an asymptomatic person could operate within a tournament. If they're not showing symptoms and I somehow picked it up inside the course and I'm disqualified I'm now self-isolating for two weeks. I'd be annoyed if that happened.” Scott has pencilled in the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational at the end of July as his proposed return date, a plan which would give him only one tournament before the following week's PGA Championship in San Francisco. Significantly, Scott’s comments echo those of another former world No.1, Lee Westwood, who said earlier this week that he was reluctant to travel to the United States and ruled himself out of an early return to PGA Tour competition. Such high-profile expressions of concern indicate that the resumption of regular season play may not operate as smoothly as many fans may be hoping. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
McIlroy picks-up where he left off as live golf returns to Seminole
May 20, 2020 5:19 AM
 
There was charming novelty to the spectre of four, multi-millionaire golfers, clad in shorts, carrying their own clubs across the undulating fairways of Seminole Golf Course last weekend. The TaylorMade Driving Relief match-play skins event, which pitted world Nos. 1 and 3, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson against world Nos. 27 and 110, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff, marked the first appearance of live golf on our television screens since the Players Championship was abandoned after just 18-holes on 12 March. The event, of course, was lacking caddies, officials and the raucous atmosphere generated by fairway-side fans, not to mention the general competitive intrigue that characterises PGA Tour golf. Still, as one of the first live events since the onset of by the novel coronavirus pandemic (along with NASCAR’s Cup Series event at South Carolina’s Darlington Raceway) it supplied a welcome return of unscripted drama to TV screens across the world. The world's top-ranked player shredded Trump's handling of the pandemic and said he probably won't play with him again. https://t.co/sbDww64yC9— HuffPost (@HuffPost) May 15, 2020 McIlroy and Johnson took 11 of 18 skins from Fowler and Wolff, winning $1.85 million for the American Nurses Foundation, but the victory came on a closest-to-the-hole tiebreaker on an extra hole, when McIlroy made a surprising walk-off wedge shot that brought a sweet $1.1 million. The event raised $5.5 million through sponsors and donations. "It's only been nine weeks since the Players," McIlroy reflected. "It feels much longer than that. We just went through an unprecedented time so it was nice to get back out there. "It's a different setting than what we're used to, but to get those competitive juices going again, it was nice to feel it." And those juices were clearly evident in McIlroy’s performance; the Northern Irishman bore all the hallmarks of an athlete itching for a return to the quotidian cut-and-thrust of regular PGA Tour competition. The 31-year-old raised excitement among fans across the world last week when he confirmed that he will contest each of the first three PGA Tour events slated to be played behind closed-doors next month: the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial on 11 June, the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town on 18 June, and the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands on 25 June. McIlroy was the form player in world golf prior to the onset of the novel COVID-19 pandemic, with four top-5 finishes from four starts in 2020, and 11 top-5s in 14 starts since missing his last cut at The Open Championship in Portrush in July. The emphatic nature of McIlroy’s performance at Seminole indicates that he poised dangerously to pick-up where he left off when play resumes at Fort Worth. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Rory McIlroy takes swing at Trump: 'It’s not the way a leader should act'
May 17, 2020 12:59 PM
Tags: Rory McIlroy   COVID-19   News   Donald Trump   pga tour  
 
Say what you like about Rory McIlroy, but don’t say that he’s afraid to speak his mind. In an era when most sports stars are more concerned to safeguard corporate sponsorship revenue than articulate a position of moral principle, the Northern Irishman has long stood out as a rare example of an athlete willing to air an opinion on politically contentious issues. In essence, he is unafraid to live his life as he sees fit and to counter media critics by proffering a robust public defence of political principle. Our earliest glimpse perhaps of this aspect of McIlroy’s personality came in 2017 when he provoked a wave of intense public criticism after playing a round of golf with the newly inaugurated US President, Donald Trump. “We’re in the midst of something that’s pretty serious right now and the fact that he’s trying to politicize it and make it a campaign rally and say we’re administering the most tests in world like it is a contest—there’s something that just is terrible.” https://t.co/fA0TmkN6qL— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) May 15, 2020 McIlroy’s response? To issue a terse statement to the effect that playing golf with Trump “wasn’t an endorsement nor a political statement of any kind’, and that it was “simply, a round of golf”. He also hit back at his critics via social media by saying: “To be called a fascist and a bigot by some people because I spent time in someone’s company is just ridiculous. I felt I would have been making more of a statement if I had turned it down. It was a round of golf and nothing more." Thus although McIlroy backtracked from his initial bullishness in the months followed the round, conceding that he would “think twice” about playing golf with Trump again, the tone of his public-political engagement had been set: the four-time major champion felt entitled to own fully the life decisions he makes and was unafraid of upsetting potential supporters and sponsorship interests in the process. To anyone familiar with McIlroy’s temperament, therefore, it should have come as no surprise that the player was willing to criticise Trump publicly for the US federal government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was not a break with his previous public-political rhetoric or comportment, it is entirely in keeping with the manner in which the player has carried himself throughout his career. As ever he was unafraid to speak his mind. “We’re in the midst of something that’s pretty serious right now and the fact that he’s trying to politicise it and make it a campaign rally and say we’re administering the most tests in world like it is a contest - there’s something that just is terrible,’’ McIlroy said on the McKellar Golf podcast. “It’s not the way a leader should act. There’s a sort of diplomacy that you need to have, and I don’t think he’s showing that - especially in these times.’’ McIlroy, who lives close to the US president’s residence in Palm Beach, Florida, said, “I don’t know if he’d want to play with me again after what I just said. But I wouldn’t [play with him again].’’ McIlroy’s comments are sure to arouse no shortage of outrage and media condemnation; however, his willingness to proffer opinions on politically divisive issues is nothing new and, in the context of an overwhelmingly sterile sports media landscape, it is a quality to be celebrated. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Rich list reveals Rory McIlroy’s net worth has risen to €192 million
May 16, 2020 7:56 AM
 
Rory McIlroy can be regarded accurately as one of the most thoughtful and interesting personalities in elite-level sport. From human rights and climate change, to Trump and Brexit, the Northern Irishman stands out as a rare case of a sportsman willing to proffer an opinion on politically contentious issues. One insight he has affirmed consistently throughout his career is that you do not become one of the best golfers in the world by playing for money; you must derive motivation principally from a lust for competitive achievement. Rory McIlroy takes swing at Trump: 'It’s not the way a leader should act' https://t.co/GCOw6KwyVu— The Guardian (@guardian) May 15, 2020 In other words: if you’re in contention for a title come Sunday afternoon and begin playing conservatively to ensure you hang on to a top-10 pay-check instead of attacking the flag, you’re never going to establish yourself as a regular winner at the highest level of the sport. The logic underpinning this philosophy, of course, is that if you get the golf game right, the bank account will look after itself. Even just a cursory glance at the latest Sunday Times rich-list, published last week, endorses the Northern Irishman’s perspective. McIlroy is one of only two sportspeople to make the Sunday Times Rich List, joining Formula One star, Lewis Hamilton as one of the 1000 wealthiest people in the United Kingdom. With an estimated fortune of €192 million (£170 million), an increase of €36 million (£32 million) on 2019, McIlroy jumps from 864th place in the standings last year to just outside the top 700 in the current rankings, a rise in income that correlates closely with a significant recent uptick in his fortunes on the golf course. The 31-year-old won three times on the PGA Tour last season, The Player’s Championship, the Canadian Open and the Tour Championship to top the FedEx Cup standings. He also won the WGC HSBC Champions tournament last November and has reclaimed his position atop the summit of the Official World Golf Rankings. Indeed, McIlroy claimed €27.5 million in prize money alone during the 2019/20 season; add to that a €92 million deal with Taylor Made, agreed in 2017, and a 10-year, €184 million contract with Nike, also signed in 2017, and it’s easy to account for the rapid nature of his ascent up the rankings. However, the Northern Irishman has always been keen to give back to society; this impulse was illustrated vividly by his participation in a televised €2.8 million charity Skins match at Seminole Golf Club in Florida on Sunday. Partnering Dustin Johnson against Ricky Fowler and Matthew Wolff, McIlroy’s presence helped to ensure the event was broadcast by the PGA Tour, NBC Sports and Sky Sports. All proceeds went towards Covid-19 relief efforts, with McIlroy and Johnson playing for the American Nurses Foundation and Fowler and Wolff playing for the CDC Foundation. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Rory McIlroy to play first three events once PGA Tour resumes
May 14, 2020 9:02 AM
 
Rory McIlroy didn’t get to the position he occupies in professional golf – a four-time major champion and world No.1 – by sitting around and kicking his heels. And while the attention of a golf-starved sporting public remains trailed on the TaylorMade Driving Relief charity event, slated for 17 May, McIlroy has already shifted his focus to the resumption of regular PGA Tour season play early next month. Not a ball has been struck in anger on the PGA Tour since the Players Championship was abandoned after just 18-holes on 12 March. Following a slate of high profile cancellations and postponements, most notably the that of the 149th Open Championship, a revised PGA Tour schedule was published last month, with the three US-based majors slated to take place in August (US PGA), September (US Open) and November (The Masters) respectively. Regular season play, meantime, will resume behind closed doors with the Charles Schwab Challenge from June 11-14, followed by the RBC Heritage and the Travelers Championship. Significantly, McIlroy is set to restart his season by playing in all three events. Also talked to @McIlroyRory. No big deal. pic.twitter.com/XiWt87ceij— Chris Cote (@ChrisCoteESPN) May 13, 2020 The 31-year-old was the form player in world golf prior to the onset of the novel COVID-19 pandemic, with four top-5 finishes from four starts in 2020, and 11 top-5s in 14 starts since missing his last cut at The Open Championship in Portrush in July. Unsurprisingly, he is keen to return to the course quickly an effort to pick-up where he left off in March. Speaking about his schedule ahead of Sunday's TaylorMade Driving Relief challenge McIlroy told Golf Channel: "I'm pretty set. I guess I can't speak for everyone, but for me personally, I just want to get back out and play. "I'm planning to play the first three events; Colonial, Hilton Head [RBC Heritage] and the Travelers and see where we go from there. I think it'll be nice to get back out there and play. "Obviously we're going to have to take as many precautions as possible to be able to put tour events on again, but I think the PGA Tour has got a very robust plan in place. If they can execute it the right way, I see no reason why we can't start on June 11." The Northern Irishman also struck an admirably phlegmatic tone when asked to reflect on the prospect of playing PGA Tour golf without fans present; each of his first three starts will take place behind closed doors. "I think it [golf without spectators] is the new normal for right now," McIlroy observed. "That's just got to be for us to keep everyone safe and to get the PGA Tour back up and running again. "I don't think it will dull anything, especially these few events because I think everyone will just be so excited to get back out there and play. I think people are going to be excited to watch some live golf on TV. "The atmosphere isn't going to be the same as if there are 50,000 on the golf course, but I don't think it in any way will take away from the integrity of the competition of the quality of the golf." It is difficult to contest McIlroy’s logic; while live golf without fans certainly isn’t ideal, it’s a damn sight better than no golf at all. Bring on 11 June. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

GolfSmash Bloggers

Sean Donnelly
Blog Posts: 1491
crudbay
Blog Posts: 90
OfficialGolfSmash
Blog Posts: 38
CLTheGolfer
Blog Posts: 33
Matt Martin
Blog Posts: 10
MattRistine
Blog Posts: 6
Darren DeYoung
Blog Posts: 6
Anyagolf
Blog Posts: 4