Rory McIlroy confirmed on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive show that he will in fact be taking up membership on the PGA Tour in 2012. Score a point for the PGA Tour over the European Tour for sure. I’m very excited to hear that we’ll be seeing Rory more here in the states.
And speaking of Rory, how do you think he’ll fare in the PGA Championship this week. He was so close last year.
On this Monday I’m once again watching the final round of the (British) Open Championship. Great background media for golf blogging.
Congrats to Darren Clarke
This week’s Open was fantastic, and I’m so thrilled that I was wrong in my prediction that Clarke wouldn’t hold on and win. Very happy for Darren Clarke, especially with the heartbreaks he’s gone through both on and off the course. Well done and congratulations. I really hope some day I run into Clarke in a pub somewhere.
Perhaps Phil Mickelson has quieted the critics who say he can’t play links golf, myself included. Looks like he may have finally figured it out after that super low 30 on the front nine yesterday and the T2 finish. Strangely enough, Phil’s play actually improved as the conditions worsened. Not sure he’ll ever win an Open, but it would be quite a story if he finally did. He needs to do it soon though. Not sure how many really good year’s he’ll have left with age and his physical condition with the psoriatic arthritis.
For the 3rd time in what, the last six majors, Dustin Johnson is in the final group? You’d have to think it is only a matter of time before DJ notches a win in a major.
Despite being the favorite coming in to this Open, I wasn’t surprised that Rory McIlroy didn’t quite have it this past week. This year has been huge, and I think he may have been a bit burned out. I do think he’ll be fresh for the PGA Championship.
Miguel Angel Jimenez
Here’s another guy I’d love to hang out with in a pub somewhere. Jimenez was in the mix for much of the week and you have to love this guy’s flare. It almost seems like golf gives Miguel something to do during the day to kill time before he enjoys a fine wine and a cigar in the evening. Jimenez got a ton of air time with his warm up routine. Between his not so flat-belly body shape, his long hair and his cigar, the moves in his warmup were more entertaining than a Lady Gaga video. His description of the routine included, “that’s me on the dance floor.” Love it.
Rickie Fowler is building up a wealth of experience in pressure situations and major championships. Though he has yet to win a tournament as a PGA pro, hanging out in the top few spots on major championship leader boards will pay dividends in the future.
Fowler’s T5 this past week is his first top-5 in a major.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again… If all major championships were played on links courses, Tom Watson would have won about 3x as many majors as Jack Nicklaus. It was fantastic to watch Watson’s ace on the par-3 6th hole in the 2nd round. Even more fantastic and amazing that Watson made the cut in the Open at the ripe young age of 61. Final position for Watson, T22.
Speaking of Watsons… Bubba Watson’s (T30 at +9) skill level is sick. He is an amazing talent who curves the ball more than anyone in golf right now. But those high spin shots could make playing in windy “Open” conditions could make it more difficult to control the ball. Bubba has the power for sure, but he’ll need to master low spin shots to contend in the Open in the future.
Top 10’s who missed the cut
It was quite amazing that though the Open was played in England, the top two ranked players in the world who happened to be English, missed the cut. Perhaps #1 Luke Donald emptied his gun in winning the Scottish Open the week before? And one of my picks to win this Open, Lee Westwood (#2 in the world) missed the cut too. Very surprising.
Add to those two a pair of other top 10 players who missed the cut, Graeme McDowell and Matt Kuchar.
One major to go – Which Irishman will win the PGA Championship?
With the conclusion of the Open, the PGA Championship is coming up next. Based on the fact that an Irish player has won three of the last six majors, which Irishman will win the PGA Champonship? Perhaps Padraig Harrington? His game hasn’t been at its best lately. He has won it before.
Rory McIlroy - 2011 U.S. Open Champion - click for more
This past week’s U.S. Open has been one of the best, most entertaining and most surprising in recent memory. Not surprising that Rory McIlroy won, as he was my pick to win. Surprising that McIlroy destroyed the field and blew away many records in this championship which is 111 years old.
U.S. Open Scoring Record
Rory McIlroy set the all time winning score record at -16. That score practically laps the previous record of -12 by Tiger Woods.
Most Under Par At Any Point In A U.S. Open
Rory reached -17 for a while yesterday, which was an extension of his previous records of 13, 14, 15 and 16 under par. The previous record for strokes under par was a tie between Tiger Woods and Gil Morgan at -12.
Quickest To Double Digits Under Par
McIlroy reached double digits under par in only 26 holes. That blew away the old record of 39 holes by Gil Morgan.
36 Hole Scoring Record
With rounds of 65-66, Rory McIlroy set a new U.S. Open 36 hole scoring record of 131.
Not Records, But Noteworthy
McIlroy (-16) finished eight shots ahead of the nearest player, Jason Day (-8). Not a record in the U.S. Open. That distinction belongs to Tiger Woods, who won at Pebble Beach in 2000 by 15 shots.
McIlroy did something extremely uncommon for an Open, shot four rounds in the 60’s.
After making birdie on the par-4 4th hole in the final round, McIlroy had a 10 shot lead. His approach had settled to about three feet.
With the win, McIlroy will move to #4 in the world golf rankings.
How about the state of USA professional golf? Six out of the last 10 major championships have been won by non American players.
2nd consecutive year that Northern Ireland wins the U.S. Open. What are the odds?
10th Hole Entertainment
Just before Rory hit his shot on the 10th, one of the first real danger holes which could take a bite out of his chances of winning, NBC announcer Johnny Miller mentioned that he could hit two balls in the water. So what does Rory do? Hits a 6-iron over the flag which catches the slope of the green and nearly goes in for a hole in one. Tap in birdie. Nice call Johnny. Try again.
“I thought that was probably the biggest point in the round because Yang had just stuck it in there close. So to follow that shot up with mine was pretty cool. To get the ovation coming on to the green, it was nice. And I was very happy to play the 10th and the 11th hole at 1-under par today, because they were two holes that you had the possibility of making a big number on. And to play those at 1-under par was big for me.” ~Mcilroy on his play at the 10th and 11th holes on Sunday
U.S. Open Setup?
I was surprised at the lack of “U.S. Open like conditions.” I think Congressional Country Club was playing too easy for a U.S. Open and so do most actual golf journalists it seems. Once again, I don’t consider myself a golf journalist. I’m a golf blogger. There’s a difference, but sometimes we can agree. Not many scribes think the Open will return to Congressional because it is too easy and a little bit on the boring side. I agree. The Open should be a stern test, where even par or close to it is the winning score. So far the most Open-like conditions this year have been at the tournament I covered live on location a few weeks ago, the Byron Nelson.
That being said, I do not discount Rory’s win at all and anyone who does is a bonehead.
Jason Day has been playing insane golf in the last few majors. Dating back to 2010, Day has had three top ten finishes. The last two majors now, the Masters and U.S. Open, Jason has two runner-up finishes. Look for Jason Day to win a major sooner than later at this pace.
It you look at Jason’s score of -8 in this year’s U.S. Open, that would have been enough to win 26 of the last 30.
DC Fans Are Boneheads?
I don’t think I’ve ever heard more post swing yelling from idiot fans than this week. How many times can some dumb ass yell “you’re the man,” or “get in the hole?” These pinheads should be removed. Show some class people.
More Story Lines
Man how many story lines are there this year anyway? Couldn’t possibly cover them all. It was a great week.