Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Golf

McIlroy quits in middle of round

PALM BEACH GARDENS — Rory McIlroy left before his round was over. Tiger Woods had to rally just to stick around.

With all that drama Friday in the Honda Classic, few noticed that Luke Guthrie shot 7-under 63 to lead after two rounds at PGA National.

Guthrie, pegged by many peers as a rookie worth watching, played bogey-free. After finishing his round, he walked into an interview room when someone mentioned McIlroy walked off the course after being 7-over par through eight holes.

"I had no clue," Guthrie said.

He was at 9-under 131 and led Michael Thompson by one.

McIlroy, starting on the back nine, had double bogey on his second hole and rinsed two balls in the water on No. 16 on his way to triple bogey.

He hit his approach to the 18th in the water and never finished the hole. He shook hands with Ernie Els and Mark Wilson and was on his way but not before conflicting messages.

He told three reporters who followed him to his car that it was nothing physical but that he was "not in a good place mentally." An hour later, he released a statement through his management company that he couldn't concentrate because of a sore wisdom tooth.

Woods made the cut on the number at par 140 with two 70s. After double bogey on No. 13, Woods had a 5-foot birdie, a 6-foot par on No. 16, a par save from the back bunker on the 17th that was easier than it looked, and a par save from near the grandstand by the 18th green that was harder than it looked.

"I didn't quite have my game like I did (Thursday)," Woods said. "I hit it much better (Thursday), but I putted better today, so it all evened out."

Also having a tough time was tennis star Serena Williams, following in Woods' large gallery. The local resident took a picture of the 14-time major champion after his tee shot on the 17th and was scolded by security. The PGA Tour does not allow photos on competition days.

"Apparently u can't take pics. This security (got) mad and yelled at me," she tweeted. "In my Defense peeps always take pics of tennis players."

A few minutes later, she posted the photo.

Former Florida star Camilo Villegas, who led after opening with 64, was out of the tournament after his 77. The last player to miss the cut after leading Round 1 was Jim Renner at the Travelers Championship in 2011.

Meanwhile McIlroy, in three tournaments since switching to Nike equipment from Titleist, has missed the cut in Abu Dhabi, lost in the first round of the WGC-Match Play Championship and withdrew after 26 holes at PGA National.

"His demeanor looks a little different," said Graeme McDowell, one of his best friends. "I felt like he was a little off with his golf swing on the range. There were a few moans and groans coming from the bay next to me. It's normally a display. It's normally a clinic."

In the parking lot, McIlroy was asked three times if anything was wrong physically and he said no. Golfweek magazine reported he was near tears.

And by quitting in the middle of a round, he is ineligible for the Vardon Trophy he won last year for having the lowest scoring average on the PGA Tour.

Comments
O’Hair-Stricker team wins QBE Shootout in Naples

O’Hair-Stricker team wins QBE Shootout in Naples

NAPLES — Steve Stricker provided the pep talk and Sean O’Hair delivered the shot to secure victory Sunday in the QBE Shootout. Stricker and O’Hair closed with 8-under 64 for a two-shot victory over Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry, effectively clinchi...
Published: 12/10/17
Rory McIlroy to make Valspar Championship debut at Innisbrook next year

Rory McIlroy to make Valspar Championship debut at Innisbrook next year

The Valspar Championship will get a notable boost in star power next year.Four-time major winner and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy will play the PGA Tour event at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor for the first time, the tournament announced Friday after i...
Published: 12/08/17
Rickie Fowler rallies to win, Tiger Woods finishes strong at Hero World Challenge

Rickie Fowler rallies to win, Tiger Woods finishes strong at Hero World Challenge

NASSAU, Bahamas — Rickie Fowler was the first player to offer a scouting report on Tiger Woods ahead of his return to golf, hinting that Woods was hitting it "way by" him in some of their matches in Florida. Fowler’s own game apparently was in pretty...
Published: 12/03/17
Tiger falls behind as Charley Hoffman leads Hero World Challenge

Tiger falls behind as Charley Hoffman leads Hero World Challenge

NASSAU, Bahamas — Tiger Woods fell behind early and never recovered. Charley Hoffman pulled away late and made himself hard to beat. Hoffman handled the blustery conditions in the Hero World Challenge on Saturday for 2-under 70, one of only five roun...
Published: 12/02/17

Tiger brings the buzz back by taking lead but falters on back nine

NASSAU, Bahamas — One of the biggest cheers at the Hero World Challenge came from seeing the name Tiger Woods moved to the top of the leaderboard. It just wasn’t there for long. In another impressive showing in his latest comeback from back surgeries...
Published: 12/01/17
Tiger Woods returns from layoff with solid round in Bahamas

Tiger Woods returns from layoff with solid round in Bahamas

NASSAU, Bahamas — Tiger Woods looked a lot better in his return to golf than he did when he left. Playing for the first time since his fourth back surgery, Woods returned from a 10-month layoff with 3-under 69 on a breezy Thursday that left him three...
Published: 11/30/17
Ariya Jutanugarn rallies past Lexi Thompson to win LPGA’s Tour Championship

Ariya Jutanugarn rallies past Lexi Thompson to win LPGA’s Tour Championship

NAPLES — Lexi Thompson never had a putt so short that was potentially worth so much. She had a one-shot lead when she settled over a 2-foot par putt on the final hole Sunday at the Tour Championship. A victory would be worth $500,000 in prize money ...
Updated one month ago

Rookie Sung Hyun Park continues to roll at LPGA’s Tour Championship

NAPLES — Golf felt so easy to Sung Hyun Park that only when she took out her card to catch up on her scores did she realize she had closed out the front nine with five straight birdies Friday at the Tour Championship. Park kept right on attacking. Th...
Updated one month ago