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Rory McIlory

Masters Memories: Tom Watson and Rory McIlory

Written by: Tony Korologos | Thursday, March 31st, 2016
Categories: PGA TourPro GolfRory McIloryThe Masters

Rory McIloryOnce you’ve been to the Masters Tournament, even the practice rounds, you have memories for a lifetime. Here’s one that I vividly remember.

A couple of years ago I was at a Masters practice round and had the opportunity to follow around a very interesting grouping, Rory McIlory and Tom Watson. It was fun to watch the interaction between the two. Watson was helping McIlory out with tips on the golf course, and likely on life. He’s just that way.

Since it was a practice round, the players would often hit a few shots or several putts from one location. Most players know most of the pin placements so on their approaches they might hit a couple of shots to where they imagine the pins will be. On the greens they’ll putt to those same imaginary places, like lower right on the par-5 2nd (can you say Louis Oosthuizen?).

On the par-4 9th I got a fantastic vantage point to watch Tom and Rory approach the green. See the picture in this post of Rory. For those who have not been to Augusta in person, you have no idea how much elevation change there is. The 9th green is incredibly slanted from back to front. So much so, I think I’d fall down if I tried to walk down it. Watch the players during the tournament hit their approaches. The second they hit it they might get mad because they know they put it in the wrong place and the slope of the green will cause the ball to go to a very bad position.

One such bad position would be a shot which goes long. Chipping from the back of the 9th green would be a nightmare. I’d bet wads of cash that an amateur golfer could not chip a ball onto the 9th from above the green, and keep his chip on the green. It’s THAT steep.

During their practice round McIlroy walked right up in front of me and dropped about 8-10 golf balls off the back of the green. I watched in absolute amazement as he clipped those balls so crisply that they would land on the back fringe and actually check, before slowly moving to a tightly dispersed spacing. Imagine chipping from a downslope onto a downslope on greens that are probably running a 14+ on the stimpmeter. I could have sat there with 50 balls and never hit one that perfectly. I’d probably be hitting gap wedge back up to the surface for my next shot.

Tom Watson took notice too. He stopped his chipping practice and just watched. Rory didn’t know Tom was watching.

When Rory moved to another place to practice some chips or putts, Tom grabbed his caddie and pointed him to the back of the 9th green, right where Rory had been hitting those little crisp chips. He threw down about 8-10 balls. Tom Watson is one of the best around the greens in the history of the game. He wanted to see if he could replicate what Rory had been doing.

He couldn’t.

I watched Tom hit ball after ball. Some ended up in the middle of the green and some off the front and down the hill. The dispersion was massive. None of the balls ended up at the top of the green like Rory’s. Tom looked at the green, the balls, Rory… he then shrugged his shoulders and moved on.

Wage Gap Between PGA Tour and LPGA Tours is Not Broken

Written by: Tony Korologos | Monday, March 21st, 2016
Categories: GolfGolf For WomenLPGA TourPGA TourPro GolfRory McIloryTiger Woods

I’m probably going to tick a few people off with my following comments but you can’t fix what isn’t broken. I stumbled across a Twitter discussion the other day that got the two of the three brain cells in my cranium activated.  The reason only two cells is because the 3rd is in charge of keeping my heart beating and lungs pumping air, but I digress.  The question:

“How can we golf fix the wage gap between the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour?” 

LPGA star Stacey Lewis in a recent Golf.com piece laments the pay gap:

“It’s pretty frustrating to still see the huge gap in what the guys are paid and we are paid, you know. When really we are doing the same thing and the only difference is the TV numbers and the TV ratings.  That’s really it. We’re probably actually hitting more fairways than the guys and more greens than the guys, you know.  There’s certain parts of the game we actually do better. Um, you know when I play with the guys a lot they’re like ‘do you ever miss a fairway?’  That’s usually what they say to me so, I mean, our games are pretty comparable so it’s just the exposure.”

My first reaction to the stats argument is that I know a guy who golfs every day and is 80 years old.  He’s practically deaf and can barely see.  I’ve NEVER seen this guy miss a fairway.  He hits his driver about 100 yards and dead straight every time.  He should be making $10 million a year!   Think back to when Tiger Woods was dominating professional golf.  His driving accuracy was terrible, barring a few stretches where it was just mediocre.  But he could hit recovery shots nobody else could.  He made the putts when he had to at the most dramatic times.  It was golf entertainment at a level which had probably never been higher and may never be again.

How does TaylorMade market their drivers?  The number one thing they’ll hit potential buyers with is distance.  Sure they’ll mention accuracy as a side note but really, the buyer doesn’t seem to care that much.  It’s about distance, power…  It’s not about fairways hit or who hits the most greens in regulation.  Otherwise Fred Funk would have been Tiger Woods.  From a fan standpoint it’s about entertainment.  All due respect to Fred Funk, I’d rather watch Tiger or Rory McIlory, Jason Day.  That said, when Fred Funk won THE PLAYERS (always spell that in ALL CAPS. It’s what they do), his funky chicken dance was very entertaining.

Lewis says that if the women simply got more exposure they would become as popular as the men.  Uh, no.  I rarely watch professional golf anymore, but if I do, I want to watch the best, most exciting golfers on the planet. Those golfers are Rory McIlory, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth… You get it.  Sure the LPGA players are talented and such, I’m not arguing that point.

When it boils down to nuts and bolts the LPGA Tour and PGA Tour are forms of entertainment, just like the NBA.  The salaries of professional golfers are paid by the fans who either support the advertisers for events, or support the players’ sponsors.  The players who draw the most attention naturally are the ones who can draw the biggest paychecks in the form of prize money and endorsements, like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlory, and so on.   The men are obviously more entertaining to the general public than the women are, and therefore draw more revenue.  The general public doesn’t care about fairway percentage or greens in regulation or the LPGA Tour would have surpassed the PGA Tour in viewership long ago.

Pro golf is not an industry like my day job doing web development.  If I have a set of specific web development skills which are the same as a female web developer then it is certainly unfair that on average she would make 78 cents compared to every dollar I make. That is completely unfair and not right.  But pro golf isn’t web development.  It’s not managing a Subway.  It’s not asset management or working at a bank or doing sales or flying an airplane.  It’s an entertainment industry.  In such an industry the money is driven by viewers.

Arguing for gender equity in professional golf is an argument that will never win.  If the LPGA was truly as entertaining as the PGA Tour, it would have already established itself as an equal in viewership and sponsor dollars.  It’s not and it never will be.

Bonehead of the Week: Cadillac Championship Features Rory McLLroy

Written by: Tony Korologos | Thursday, March 3rd, 2016
Categories: BoneheadsPGA TourPro GolfRory McIlory

Time to resurrect the HOG bonehead of the week award.  This one goes to whoever made the name labels for the caddie bibs at the Cadillac Championship.

Who is this McLLroy guy? Never heard of him.

Who is this McLLroy guy? Never heard of him.


This Week on Tour

Written by: Tony Korologos | Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016
Categories: Champions TourEuropean TourLPGA TourPGA TourPro GolfRory McIlory

Fowler, Watson Headline at Waste Management Phoenix Open, with NBC Sports Group Dedicating More Than 25 Hours of Live Programming On-Site 

Ko to Make 2016 Debut at Coates Golf Championship; Lee & Pettersen Paired Together for 1st Time Since Solheim Cup, Airing Wednesday-Saturday

McIlroy Returning to Familiar Setting to Defend Omega Dubai Desert Classic 

PGA TOUR Champions Shifts to South Florida for Allianz Championship 

ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 2, 2016) – NBC Sports Group will feature more than 25 hours of live programming from on-site TPC Scottsdale surrounding the Waste Management Phoenix Open, including tournament coverage on Golf Channel and NBC, and Golf Central originating from an embedded set location within the raucous par-3 16th hole “coliseum.” Veteran on-course reporter and one of golf’s most animated personalities – David Feherty – is set to make his NBC Sports Group live tournament debut as lead analyst during Thursday-Friday first and second round coverage on Golf Channel. World No. 1 Lydia Ko is set to make her first start of 2016 on the LGPA Tour at the Coates Golf Championship, airing Wednesday-Saturday on Golf Channel. Alison Lee and Suzann Pettersen are paired together for the first two rounds, which will be the first time the two will compete alongside one another since their controversial match at the 2015 Solheim Cup. World No. 3 Rory McIlroy will look to defend his title at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, an event he has won twice in his career. And the PGA TOUR Champions returns with the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Fla.

Waste Management Phoenix Open
Dates: Feb. 4-7
Venue: TPC Scottsdale (Stadium Course), Scottsdale, Ariz.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):

Thursday         3-7 p.m. (Live) / 8 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)
Friday              3-7 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday          1-3 p.m. (Live) / 8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday            1-3 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on NBC (Eastern):

Saturday          3-6 p.m. (Live)
Sunday            3-6 p.m. (Live) 

Broadcast Notes:

Feherty debut: David Feherty, joining NBC Sports Group exclusively in 2016 following a nearly 20-year career with CBS as an on-course reporter, will make his live tournament debut this week. Feherty will join Rich Lerner in the 18th tower as lead analyst for Golf Channel’s first and second round coverage Thursday-Friday, and he’ll transition to his familiar on-course reporter role during Saturday-Sunday afternoon coverage on NBC.

Golf Central on-site from raucous par-3 16th hole: Golf Central, the network’s signature evening news program, will originate from on-site, embedded within TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole spectator “coliseum.” The show, which will feature live news and analysis leading in and out of live tournament coverage, will be hosted by Kelly Tilghman, and feature Brandel Chamblee and Arron Oberholser as analysts, with George Savaricas providing reports and player interviews.

Largest crowds on PGA TOUR: The event attracts the largest galleries on the PGA TOUR, with a record 564,000 in attendance throughout the week in 2015, including nearly 160,000 during Saturday’s third round alone.

Koepka defends: Brooks Koepka finished one shot ahead of Hideki Matsuyama, Ryan Palmer and Bubba Watson for his first career PGA TOUR win.

Headlining the field: Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson, Kevin Kisner, Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka.

Coates Golf Championship
Dates: Feb. 3-6
Venue: Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, Ocala, Fla.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Wednesday     2-5:30 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-10 p.m. (Replay)
Thursday         11 a.m.-2 p.m. (Live)
Friday              8-10 p.m. (Tape delay) / 3-5 pm. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)
Saturday          3-5 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:

Pettersen & Lee paired together for first time since controversial Solheim Cup match: Alison Lee and Suzann Pettersen – the two players at the center of last fall’s controversial moment in the 2015 Solheim Cup – will be paired together for the first two rounds this week. Wednesday’s opening round 12:25 p.m. ET tee time will feature Lee and Pettersen playing alongside Stacy Lewis.

Choi defends: Na Yeon Choi defeated Lydia Ko, Ha Na Jang and Jessica Korda by one stroke for her eighth LPGA Tour win.

Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson, So Yeon Ryu, Sei Young Kim, Cristie Kerr, Suzann Pettersen, Anna Nordqvist, Brooke Henderson, Charley Hull and Alison Lee.

European Tour Logo - GolfEUROPEAN TOUR
Omega Dubai Desert Classic
Dates: Feb. 4-7
Venue: Emirates Golf Club (Majlis Course), Dubai, United Arab Emirates 

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         11 p.m.-4 a.m. (Live, Wednesday Overnight) / 6:30-8:30 a.m. (Live)
Friday              2:30-8:30 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          4-8 a.m. (Live) / 10 a.m.-Noon (Replay)
Sunday            3:30-8 a.m. (Live) / 10 a.m.-Noon (Replay)

Broadcast Notes:

McIlroy defends: Rory McIlroy won by three shots over Alex Noren to earn his 10th career European Tour victory, and his second time winning the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Headlining the field: Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Ernie Els, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Martin Kaymer, Bryson DeChambeau (a), Danny Willett and Lee Westwood.

championstour-fPGA TOUR CHAMPIONS
Allianz Championship
Dates: Feb. 5-7
Venue: Broken Sound Club (Old Course), Boca Raton, Fla. 

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):

Friday              11 a.m.-2 p.m. (Live)
Saturday          5-7 p.m. (Tape delay) / 3-5 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)
Sunday            3-5 p.m. (Tape delay) / 2-4 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra) 

Broadcast Notes:

Goydos defends: Paul Goydos finished one stroke ahead of Gene Sauers for his second career PGA TOUR Champions win.

Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Jeff Maggert, Jay Haas, Kenny Perry, Tom Lehman, Duffy Waldorf, Mark O’Meara, Jesper Parnevik and Nick Price.

This Week On Tour

Written by: Tony Korologos | Wednesday, November 4th, 2015
Categories: Champions TourEuropean TourJordan SpiethPGA TourPro GolfRory McIlory

WGC-HSBC Champions
Dates: Nov. 5-8
Venue: Sheshan International Golf Club, Shanghai, China

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Wednesday 10 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live) / 8 a.m.-1 p.m. (Thursday replay)
Thursday 10 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live) / 8 a.m.-1 p.m. (Friday replay)
Friday 10 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live) / 8 a.m.-1 p.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday 10 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live) / 8 a.m.-1 p.m. (Sunday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Elite field: The event features four of the top-5 players in the Official World Golf Ranking, including Jordan Spieth (No. 2), Rory McIlroy (No. 3), Bubba Watson (No. 4) and Rickie Fowler (No. 5). The no-cut event is the second of four tournaments being played as part of the European Tour’s Final Series in addition to being co-sanctioned by the PGA TOUR.
Watson defends: Bubba Watson defeated Tim Clark on the first playoff hole for his seventh career PGA TOUR victory.
Headlining the field: Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama, Henrik Stenson, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed and Adam Scott.

Charles Schwab Cup Championship
Dates: Nov. 5-8
Venue: Desert Mountain Club (Cochise Course), Scottsdale, Ariz.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 4:30-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Friday replay)
Friday 4:30-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday 4:30-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday 4:30-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

Broadcast Notes:
Schwab Cup Championship at Stake for Montgomerie, Maggert and Langer: Three players will tee it up with an opportunity to claim the season-long Charles Schwab Cup with a victory this week in Colin Montgomerie, Jeff Maggert and Bernhard Langer. The scenarios in which each can mathematically win the Schwab Cup are:
Montgomerie – Can finish 30th and win if Maggert finishes 18th or worse, and Langer finishes 14th or worse.

Maggert – Can finish 2nd and win if Montgomerie finishes 3rd or worse, and Langer does not win the tournament. Can finish 17th, but would need Montgomerie to finish 27th or worse and Langer 13th or worse.

Langer – Wins with a 2nd place finish if Montgomerie and Maggert finish 3rd or worse. Can finish solo 13th and win if Maggert finishes 18th or worse and Montgomerie finishes 27th or worse.

Pernice Jr. defends: Tom Pernice Jr., outlasted Jay Haas on the fourth playoff hole for his fourth career Champions Tour win.
Headlining the field: Colin Montgomerie, Jeff Maggert, Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples, Marco Dawson, Tom Lehman, Mark O’Meara, Kenny Perry, Tom Pernice Jr., and Duffy Waldorf.

Sanderson Farms Championship
Dates: Nov. 5-8
Venue: Country Club of Jackson, Jackson, Miss.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 1:30-4:30 p.m. (Live) / 7-10 p.m. (Replay)
Friday 1:30-4:30 p.m. (Live) / 7-10 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday 1:30-4:30 p.m. (Live) / 7-10 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday 1:30-4:30 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-10:30 p.m. (Replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Taylor defends: Nick Taylor defeated Jason Bohn and Boo Weekley to earn his first career PGA TOUR win.
Headlining the field: Ollie Schniederjans, Smylie Kaufman, Graham DeLaet, Patrick Rodgers, Scott Stallings, Lucas Glover, Billy Hurley, David Toms, Jarrod Lyle and K.J. Choi.

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