“Royal Rory” – McIlroy Wins 3rd Major at Hoylake

Rory McIlroy wins 2014 Open Championship (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy wins 2014 Open Championship (Getty Images)

The last time something this hot came out of Liverpool was 50 years ago when John, Paul, George and Ringo left town for the states and 3 appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show. Hmmm, 3 appearances on Ed Sullivan for the Beatles, 3 major championships for Rory.  That transitions nicely into our own “Fab Four” thoughts that can be taken away from this week at Hoylake.

Thought #1 – The professional firm of “Garcia, Fowler and McIlroy” – Who says you have to be 6’3”/220 to physically dominate a golf course? Shorter and lighter than most in stature, these three guys flat moved it out at Royal Liverpool. And although they did not win, Fowler and Garcia were most gracious in defeat. Rickie said, “to see him (Rory) win was pretty cool,” while Garcia’s best qutoes were probably non-verbal, when he blew kisses and touched his heart while pointing to the fans on #18. In just a few years, he’s gone from the major villain in the movie to one that most of us are pulling for to get the girl, that being HIS first major.

Thought #2 – No Thrill from Phil – Although a repeat wasn’t in the cards for Lefty, he battled back from an opening 74, with rounds of 70, 71 & 68. Watching Phil putt can drive you crazy. He’ll miss a few in the throw up zone and then, when you’ve written him off, drop in a bomb to make you think he’s on. A renowned expert said that going to the SuperStroke grip would help him eliminate his signature forward press, but it looks at times that he’s forward pressing past his right knee. In any case, a mighty “thank you” from Phil to Rory for taking the “Win the Next Major to Achieve a Career Grand Slam” out of his yard and placing it directly on McIlroy’s front porch.

Rickie Fowler lines up putt (Getty Images)

Rickie Fowler lines up his putt at Royal Liverpool  (Getty Images)

Thought #3 – Tiger’s Back, or is he? – After an opening round of 3 under and getting more ESPN airtime than LeBron James, Woods followed with 77-73-75 to finish 23 shots behind McIlory. Only 3 players making the cut had a worse score than el Tigre’, and with only 2 tournaments on his schedule (WGC Firestone and the PGA Championship) before Ryder Cup qualifying ends, Tiger puts some interesting decision making in the lap of Captain Tom Watson. When told during interviews that Tiger was +4 and still in the course, the Captain replied, “That’s not very good.” Watson wasn’t chosen for an encore as the U.S. Captain to just compete, but to bring the Cup home. At age 64, he closed with a final round 68 to clip Woods’ total by 5 shots; +1 for the Captain to +6 for possible Captain’s Pick who boasts a career Ryder Cup record of 13-14-2.

Thought #4 – A Club and Apparel Manufacturers’ Dream – NIKE/TaylorMade-Adidas/Cobra-Puma – These guys couldn’t be happier with the top three representing their brands going “head to toe, bag to ball” in the final 2 groups at Hoylake. Look for sales of Nike Covert 2, Cobra Bio Cell and TaylorMade SLDR drivers, along with apparel sales, to take a jump this week.

Rickie and Rory, then and now

Rickie and Rory, then and now (Twitter)

Ahhh, but back to Rory. The boy champion of Congressional and Kiawah has lost the baby fat and has morphed into a three-time major winner. He didn’t dodge the questions about pressure, and went out and took care of business on Sunday. He even handled a heckler professionally. And he’s the 3rd youngest player in history to capture 3 different majors.

The Beatles were approaching 25 years old when they left for a tour of the states in 1964 and BeatleMania got even bigger when Liverpool was in their rear view mirror.

Rory is 25 years old.

One more major win next April, and RoryMania will officially be in full swing.

Tiger Wins 8th at Torrey – See What's in the Bag

WITB - Tiger Woods - Farmers Insurance - Torrey Pines
Tiger Woods won at Torrey on Monday for his 75th career win in a fog-lengthened five-day Farmers Insurance Open.
On Sunday / Monday he shot a 72 (39 on the back nine) for a -14 total (he was -18 at one point), defeating closest competitors, Brandt Snedeker and Josh Teater by just four strokes. 

 

Tom Watson Named 2014 Ryder Cup Captain

“Tom Watson is one of golf’s all-time great champions and gentlemen. Given his incredible pedigree with five Claret Jugs and eight major championships, Tom is the ideal choice to bring the Ryder Cup back to the United States – as he did in 1993,” said John Ward, Adams Golf President. “Tom’s strong competitive drive and golf acumen have been instrumental in making Adams Golf stronger throughout the 13 years he has been our ambassador. Those qualities will serve him well as the 2014 United States Ryder Cup Captain. Good luck Captain Watson!”

 

 

Guan, 14, wins Asia-Pacific Am; gets Masters bid

guan_asiapacificam12_trophy_610.ashx

Golf Talk Central by Will Gray

Chinese teen sensation Tianlang Guan made history Sunday by capturing the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and an invitation to the Masters in the process.

Guan, 14, fired a 1-under 71 Sunday at Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand, to finish the event at 15-under 273 and hang on for a one-stroke victory. The youngest player in this week’s field, Guan completed a wire-to-wire victory and will become the youngest competitor in the history of The Masters.

Guan will be 14 years, five months and 17 days when he tees it up at Augusta National next April. The previous record was established by Matteo Manassero in 2010, when the 16-year-old earned an invitation after winning the British Amateur Championship in 2009.

“I’m excited. I’m really happy to become the youngest player at the Masters and look forward to going there,” Guan said after the round. “I don’t know what’s going to happen there, but I know I just want to do well.”

Guan began the day with a two-stroke lead and saw his advantage balloon to five during Sunday’s final round. Once Pan Cheng-tsung of Chinese Taipei, the No. 2 amateur in Asia, closed with a 7-under 65, Guan’s lead was trimmed to one shot as he played the final hole. After his chip rolled five feet past the hole, Guan calmly holed his par putt for the historic win.

Both Guan and Cheng-tsung will also receive a spot in International Final Qualifying for the 2013 British Open.

Australian teen Oliver Goss, who entered the final round in second place, finished in third at 12-under, three shots behind Guan. Two-time defending champion Hideki Matsuyama, Asia’s top-ranked amateur, closed with a 4-under 68 to finish fourth at 10 under.