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Links they may be worthily called, for the golf at Royal Porthcawl is the genuine thing—the sea in sight all of the time, and the most noble bunkers. True to its national character, the course also boasts of stone walls.   BERNARD DARWIN



Today In Rory News: Augusta Member Reaches Out, Settlement Talks With Horizon Not Progressing

It's not often an Augusta National member chats to the press, but Phil Casey quotes ANGC member Jeff Knox at length about the mid-am marker's desire to help Rory McIlroy achieve the career Grand Slam next year.

From Casey's report:

"We corresponded on that after the Masters and hopefully that will work out," Knox said. "I'm not sure he needs a lot of my help, he's the number two player in the world, but I am happy to be able to help in any way I can.

"We have left it open-ended, the ball is in his court, but I have his address and I will drop him a note of congratulation on winning the Open."

Rounds of 71 and 77 at Augusta National in April meant McIlroy made the cut on the mark of four over par and, as the odd man out of the 51 players left in the field, had to play with a marker on Saturday.

Two-time former Georgia amateur champion Knox had that enviable role and although McIlroy shot 71 with three birdies in the last four holes, Knox - who holds the course record of 61 from the members' tees – beat him by a single shot despite a bogey on the 18th.

Meanwhile Shane Phelan talks to lawyers involved in the McIlroy v. Horizon suit and it sounds like a trial is still likely.

Sources close to ongoing talks between lawyers for both sides indicated the case is likely to go to a full trial next year.

Those talks, which have been ongoing for several days, have been limited to the issue of documents that may be involved in the case.

There has been no discussion about a possible resolution of the complaint made by McIlroy against Dublin firm Horizon Sports Management.

And Pete Finch works off Ron Sirak's reporting on the potential for Rory's earnings after winning The Open.

Almost all contracts have bonuses tied to winning, and to winning majors," agent Mac Barnhardt of Crown Sports LLC told Golf Digest’s Ron Sirak earlier this year. "And the bonus for winning a major is two to four times higher than for a regular win. So we're talking bonuses from $100,000 to $500,000 per contract."

Sirak continued: “According to one agent who spoke on the condition of anonymity, [Justin] Rose's $1.2 million TaylorMade deal doubled in value after his Open victory. The same agent says [Phil] Mickelson got a $1 million bonus from Callaway for winning the British Open. A second agent says Rose and Masters winner Adam Scott will earn an extra $3 million to $5 million annually for winning a major."


Monty: Langer And I Could Score A Foursomes Point For Euros

Sounds like Monty was in fine form at Royal Porthcawl as the Senior Open Championship kicks off. In the past I might would have lampooned the Captain Emeritus for daring to suggest some of the geezers could help the European Ryder Cup team, but it's hard to argue with him as Langer keeps going, Jimenez is as good as ever and Monty could hold his own with the flatbellies after two senior major wins.

James Corrigan reports for the excellent Telegraph, which I read cover to cover today on my last day in the UK and will miss holding in my hands for another year!

Anyway, Monty on holding their own...for morning foursomes, anyway before afternoon nap time sets in.

“If Langer and I were paired together in the foursomes, we’d feel we could bring a point home for Europe,” Montgomerie said. “We’d need to sit out the fourballs though – we’d be knackered.

“But it is definitely a possibility for a 50-year-old-plus to play and compete.

"Tom Watson proved it at the Open in 2009 and I’m so looking forward myself to playing in the USPGA Championship in a few weeks. If I can play the way I did in the last round of the Senior PGA and the first round of the US Senior Open – two 65s – then I can compete at Valhalla.”

Regarding Porthcawl, this is Wales' big shot at attracting an Open Championship. While the chances are remote now that Portrush is schedule to join the rota at some point, the early reviews from players have been of the rave variety.

Philip Golding, who won the European Senior Tour's Speedy Services Wales Senior Open last year, gives this course overview.

ESPN2 and WatchESPN share the coverage, with ESPN2’s telecasts airing noon – 2 p.m. ET daily.


Video: Rory Wins The Open, Supercut

Michael David Murphy has spliced together all but one of Rory McIlroy's final round shots at Royal Liverpool en route to The Open Championship victory.

The tape...


One And Done! PGA Announces Long Drive Plans

I've got to say, this'll make viewing on the 10th tee Tuesday a lot more fun than it would have been.

And nice touch to be giving the winner a money clip "inspired by" the one Jack Nicklaus won and still uses today.

For Immediate Release, the details about this year's revival of the Long Drive, first announced a while ago:

The 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club will host the return of the PGA Championship Long Drive Competition, which originated in 1952 when the Championship was conducted at Big Spring Country Club in Louisville.
During a practice round on Tuesday, Aug. 5, all players will be offered the opportunity to hit one tee shot from the No. 10 Tee.  The ball will have to come to rest in the fairway to be eligible to win the Long Drive Competition.
Awards will be given to the top three finishers with winners receiving a money clip inspired by the one that Jack Nicklaus received in the first of his two consecutive PGA Championship Driving Contest titles in 1963. That year, Nicklaus, using a persimmon driver and wound golf ball, hit a winning drive of 341 yards, 17 inches.
Additionally, through PGA REACH, the charitable arm of the PGA of America, the top three finishers will be provided charitable donations of $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000 respectively, with the funds split equally between the players’ designated charity and the American Lake Veterans Golf Course.  Designed by Jack Nicklaus, the American Lake Veterans Golf Course, in Tacoma, Washington is the nation’s only golf course designed specifically for the rehabilitation of wounded and disabled veterans.
“We’re reviving a PGA Championship tradition that will add fun for both spectators and players during a practice round,” said PGA of America President Ted Bishop. “It is only fitting that this competition returns to the city where it began and a course designed by one of its most storied winners, Jack Nicklaus.”
Harold Williams won the original PGA Championship Driving Contest in 1952, with a 329-yard drive. The competition was discontinued from 1965-73, before returning in 1974 as an open event. The last National Open Long Drive Championship conducted at a PGA Championship site was in 1984 at Shoal Creek Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama.


Video: Colbert On Wozzilroy

I'm still overseas so this won't play here but I'm told this Colbert segment on the break up and wins by Wozzilroy is a keeper.

The setup here from Jon Ackerman at Back9 and the clip:



Golf World Goes All Digital, RIP Print

Reading David Carr's jarringly accurate piece in the NY Times from Monday about the weird nature of print, digital and 2014 reading, it will come as no surprise that Golf World is ending as a print publication after 67 years.

From the release...

...Golf Digest Editor-in-Chief Jerry Tarde and President Peter Hunsinger announce today a news division that combines the best of both Golf Digest and Golf World to expand our collective digital presence. With the sports news cycle demanding immediate access to quality content, we now will offer more of what our audience wants, when they want it and where they want to get it. To that end, beginning July 28, we’ll be making the following enhancements to both our golf brands.


• Golf World will now be available exclusively on digital platforms. Instead of 31 times a year delivered in print, a week after tournaments are completed, Golf World will be delivered 50 times a year on Mondays at 7 a.m. EST, accessible on all digital devices.

• Readers of Golf World will receive the quality content free of charge, and we will honor the value of their current Golf World print subscription with Golf Digest.

• Golf World will be instantly viewable from with daily updates on the latest golf news and tour coverage.

Digital designs will be enhanced to provide more ad spreads, and mobile designs will be upgraded to provide improved functionality for fans on the road. We recognize this is a big change from how we have operated and delivered the printed Golf World magazine in the past. But this evolution allows us to increase frequency, improve delivery time, and add video reporting to better meet the expectations of today’s readers.

I'm learning this at the same time as you are, so naturally I'm anxious to see what this entails.

Let's be honest, receiving the magazine days or even more after a tournament was complete just wasn't going to work going forward, as much as it saddens me. So hopefully this will be a step forward for Golf World. For now, here's to 67 great years in print and serving the sport of golf.


Ratings Breakdown: "It’s not like golf had Shaun Micheel, Steve Jones, and Rich Beem win majors"

Matt Yoder analyzes the lousy year in majors and pretty much concludes that the blowout scenarios at the last two were to blame, but he also makes the point that surely is on the minds of many: well known rising stars were apart of these majors and that didn't translate to any kind of neutralizing effect.

I still say the telecasts are getting too long and perhaps we, the golf media, have dwelt too much on Tiger and Phil, but still, Yoder's point is a fair one...

Nobody gets excited to watch a blowout, especially in golf.  In that respect, perhaps the ratings for this year’s US Open and British Open are outliers.

What should worry the sport though is that this year’s major champions are supposed to be the elite golfers that make up the post-Tiger generation.  Bubba Watson won his second Masters in a dual with young phenom Jordan Spieth and very few seemed to care.  Martin Kaymer’s dominance didn’t move the needle at all.  Rory McIlroy is supposed to be the “next big thing” and his victory failed to captivate a wide audience in the same way Woods and Nicklaus did.  (And yes, he’s joined that kind of company with his third major victory at 25 years old.)

It’s not like golf had Shaun Micheel, Steve Jones, and Rich Beem win majors this year.


Preview: Real Sports Tackles Golf's Participation Issues

Because why not.

Tip of the cap to Ed Sherman for posting this preview, where golf nut Bryant Gumbel looks at the 15-inch-cup concept and other novelties designed to grow the game.

The HBO clip:


As Expected, Rory Inaugurates The Claret Jug

James Corrigan of the Telegraph on Rory McIlroy's celebratory Sunday that rolled into Monday.

It included some high profile participants and a use of the Claret Jug as a jug:

McIlroy celebrated winning his third major – which also happened to be, uniquely, his third different major – in an appropriate fashion for a 25-year-old on Sunday evening/Monday morning. After all the media commitments and socialising with the members and staff of Royal Liverpool and the R&A alike, McIlroy did not leave the course until 9.30pm.

A quick dinner at the rented house he shared with his parents, Gerry and Rosie, and friends including his ‘bestest’, Harry Diamond, and it was into an exclusive Liverpool nightclub where he met up Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth. It was there where the 30-strong group had their fun with the jug, substituting claret with the German liqueur popular on the younger scene.

Alex Myers at The Loop on Rory's history with the dark spirit in question.

Phil Mickelson recently admitted to using the jug as a decanter for some rather pricey wine.


Post British: Golf Professionals Rejoice In American Cooking

Golfweek Staff, a distant cousin of Golf Channel Digital and former brother-in-law to Staff, compiles a list of player tweets and other social media items insinuating that they’ve been freed of eating Alcatraz food and now can rejoice in the fine cuisine that is fully hydrogenated corn syrup-laced dreck or, the staple of the golf pro diet, Chipotle (I’m all for the later).

I’m the first one to moan about food, but other than not missing beans at breakfast, the food options and quality in the UK is actually quite good if you do a little research.

Granted, the exchange rate isn’t pretty right now but these flatbelly golfers can afford to eat out.


Terry Jastrow Screens His Golf Film, Festival Circuit Is Next

The longtime producer/director perhaps best known for his work at ABC has directed a film called "The Squeeze."

Sounds interesting...but it has a ways to go before the public sees it.

For Immediate Release:

Terry Jastrow Announces Completion of His First Feature Film, The Squeeze, Targeted for Theaters Spring 2015

Los Angeles, CA - Multiple Emmy-winning TV sports producer/director Terry Jastrow announced his first film "The Squeeze" will hit theaters in the spring of 2015. Jastrow wrote and directed the caper-golf movie, which recently had its first industry private screening at United Talent Agency in Hollywood to an enthusiastic audience that included film distributors, cast and crew, Terry's wife and co-producer, actress Anne Archer, and golfer Phil Mickelson.
"The Squeeze" is a true story about a young man from a small southern town who gets caught in between two notorious gamblers, until the stakes become a matter of life or death. The film, which stars Jeremy Sumpter ("Friday Night Lights"), Christopher McDonald (Shooter McGavin in "Happy Gilmore"), Jillian Murray and Michael Nouri has been submitted to the Toronto Film Festival in September.
"Making this movie is a dream come true," says Jastrow, the longtime ABC Sports producer and director. "For many years as a sports director working for the legendary Roone Arledge, I was schooled in the art of storytelling...'the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, the human drama of athletic competition'...and am very pleased to apply those concepts now to movie making."
A seven-time Emmy Award winner, Jastrow has produced or directed more major championships than anyone in history, with 62 U.S. Opens, British Opens and PGA Championships. Now Jastrow has turned his attention to writing and directing feature films and stage plays.
Next up for Jastrow is a play he wrote and will direct this summer at the world's largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The play -- entitled "The Trial of Jane Fonda" -- stars Archer. Performances run July 31-August 24.


First Olympic Rankings Are Out! Vijay's In, Phil's Out

I'm not sure if it'll ignite Olympic fever, but Nick Zaccari has the lowdown on the new rankings that will keep us up to date on the 2016 Olympic fields.

Will Gray analyzes and posts the men's list here.

And the women's list here.


Open Championship On ESPN Down 28%

Pete Dougherty reports a 2.6 overnight for the final round with Rory McIlroy holding off Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia.

The rating is a 28% drop from last year's Mickelson win at Muirfield and ESPN's lowest since airing the Open exclusively beginning in 2010.


Phil Not Counting On The Pick That He'll Inevitably Get

Doug Ferguson on Lefty's thoughts about his chances for being picked, if necessary, for the Ryder Cup.

From Phil:

"I don't know if I played well enough this year to deserve a spot," he said. "You want players that are hot, that are playing well. And I need to step and start doing that."

Unlike Tiger, where the level of play actually puts some doubt into whether he'll get picked, Mickelson's struggles are minor in comparison.


Open Wrap: Attendance Down, Prices Up, R&A Investing

As expected, attendance at Hoylake was down, but "the R&A said a heatwave could have contributed to the low attendance, although ticket prices of £75 were also blamed."

I'm going to take option two because if that was a heatwave...

Ewan Murray reports:

A total of 202,917 fans watched Rory McIlroy’s triumph during the week, down on record figures of 228,976 when Tiger Woods won eight years earlier.

Numbers were down on practice days and each day of competition, although perhaps surprisingly the biggest single drop occurred on Friday, with 43,183 spectators at Hoylake, down 7,343 from 2006.

While I wouldn't ever endorse that price to watch today's dollar about $4,502 I believe. But it's hard to imagine the crowds getting any larger without the viewing experience severely impacted. Royal Liverpool only has viewing dunes on a few holes, otherwise you're relying on grandstand seats that filled up quickly.

A word about the R&A set up and infrastructure: I saw many major improvements in the presentation of the grounds and fan experience. They are certainly investing some profits to give the fans their money's worth at that high price, from the stellar WiFi/app effort to (finally) a modern day merchandise tent with other touches like storage for purchases and UPS worldwide shipping, The Open certainly feels like a special event when you walk the grounds.

Hoylake works very well as a venue from an infrastructure and fan access point of view, especially with the ability to take the train to the course and be dropped off just ten minutes from the action. Liverpool is a modern, beautiful city with a vibrancy that is exuded in the kindness of the people there. What a joy to return to such a fun city after a day at The Open.

Royal Liverpool's architecture ultimately left many a little underwhelmed compared to other rota links. Maybe it's the in-course OB or perhaps the excessive narrowness to stifle modern distances, but as the scoring showed, the R&A must do everything outside of rolling back the ball to give them a test here. However, you can't argue with the course's ability to once again produce a worthy champion.


Brandel: Tiger Era Over, "Coup d'etat By Self Immolation"

Nice spot by Emily Kay seeing and transcribing some of Brandel Chamblee's latest strong comments about Tiger in conversation with Trip Isenhour.

"There was a beginning of his career, a middle of his career; this is the end of his career, no question about it," Chamblee said on Saturday after Woods carded a 1-over 73 in the third round of the Open Championship and a day after he eked out a 77 to make the weekend cut on the number. "And if you want to qualify ‘era’ as dominance, then the Tiger era is over, and we’ll never see it again."

Jay Yarrow transcribed the coup d'etat line and analyzed the remarks so some of us wouldn't have to.

"I’d say this was a coup d’etat by self-immolation," said Chamblee on TV. "We’re talking about a guy who has willfully dismantled a golf swing that made him the best player in the world. Saying ‘I want to get better’ is one thing. But most people say that because, well, they’re not good enough, and they’re not the best. Well, he was the best, and he willfully dismantled the golf swing that made him the best player in the world."

The clip:


And Now, About Rickie's Impressive Year...

Maybe he was tired, maybe he was humbled, maybe he just felt the need to talk softly, but listening to Rickie Fowler after his four rounds in the 60s at Hoylake, including a closing 67, he sounded like a man humbled by the Open Championship loss to Rory McIlroy.

But it's that humility which should bode well for his continued improvement that has him on the cusp of something grand. I summed up his week in this Loop item, including his leading the field in birdies.

Ian O'Connor had this to say about Fowler:

He shot 5-under 67 playing in the final pairing of the final round of the Open Championship, 4 strokes better than McIlroy's number, and was left to console himself with the knowledge that he'd virtually locked up a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Fowler also earned a piece of history he'd probably rather give back: Ernie Els (twice) and Jesper Parnevik are the only other players to score in the 60s in all four rounds of the Open Championship and fail to win.


More Rory Reads: Mom, Dad, Autograph Hounds, Nadia

Ewan Murray of the Guardian on Rory dedicating his win to his mother, in attendance for the first time at one of his major victories.

Murray writes:

Rory McIlroy dedicated his Open Championship victory to his mother, Rosie, after claiming the Claret Jug by two shots at Hoylake. The Northern Irishman, who has now won three major titles, was embraced by his mother after holing the winning putt. At 17 under par McIlroy saw off the challenge of Sergio García and Rickie Fowler, who tied second, with a final round of 71.

“This is the first major I have won when my mum has been here,” McIlroy said. “So mum; this one is for you. It was just great to see her on the back of the 18th there and how much it meant to her. I was trying not to cry at the time because she was bawling her eyes out.

“The Open is the one we all want and the one we strive for. To be holding the Claret Jug is an incredible feeling.”

Brian Keogh on mum's presence and the Masters as the next conquest.

Now the little boy who used to wake his mother up by banging her on the head with a plastic club wants to go on and complete the set by winning the Masters next April.

Gerry Mairs on dad Gerry collecting his share of the Rory-wins-Open-bet from years ago.

James Riach on Rory giving the crowds what they wanted at Hoylake.

The ebullient cacophony that met him was befitting of an imperious performance that began on Thursday and never dipped, even if McIlroy still had a bunker to negotiate. Once he had escaped the trap the finish was a formality, three putts for the title in an amphitheatre of a final green surrounded by raucous grandstands.

It is unusual that the R&A sets up the denouement in such a fashion, but the end result was a tremendous crescendo as McIlroy tapped in for an historic victory. His is a win that was welcomed by the masses, even if his two adversaries on the day, Sergio García and Rickie Fowler, would both have been popular and worthy victors.

James Corrigan on Rory already setting his sights on Augusta.

Yet while the Australian will be in his sights in the next month, McIlroy has history as the longer-term goal.

“To sit here at 25 years of age and be three-quarters of the way to a career grand slam is something I never dreamt of at this point of my career,” McIlroy said. “I definitely hope I can complete it. I’ve really got my passion again for golf – it’s what I think about when I get up in the morning and when I go to bed at night.

The Telegraph's Alasdair Reid on Rory achieving a high level of skill.

McIlroy’s irons have always been crisp, but he lost some of his touch last year when he went through an equipment change. It is back with a vengeance now, and he is also a far less streaky putter than he used to be. The two eagles he produced over the closing three holes on Saturday were perfect demonstrations of the range of his powers, as mighty drives were followed by superb second shots and firm and assured putts.

Mark Tallentire of the Guardian on Rory inducing a fear factor over the rest of the field when he's hitting on all cylinders.

The Northern Irishman will be perceived to be harder to beat, and the way he drives the ball, he has the talent to blow fields away. With time on his side, he should get to six majors, and could end up well into double digits. The growing pains have largely been overcome, the dark days of almost missing his tee time at the 2012 Ryder Cup and the misjudged remark after struggling around Royal St George’s in the 2011 Open, when he declared that his game was plenty good enough for most tournaments and that he would not be changing it for one week a year playing links golf, marked down as just unfortunate blips.

His talent has been evident since his early days and the tremendous mindset, think Nicklaus and Woods, has been a factor since he won the Irish Close Championship at the age of 15 and then became the first player to defend it since the legendary Irish amateur Joe Carr in 1965. He went on to win the Silver Medal as the low amateur on his Open debut at Carnoustie in 2007 and Rickie Fowler has pointed out that he was already Great Britain & Ireland’s “go-to guy” in the 2007 Walker Cup team.

The Daily Mail's Mike Dawes on Rory's weird day with the fans on Sunday, including a snubbed fan who wanted an autograph in a massive security breach:

But Poulter took to Twitter to explain the difficult situation that the Northern Irishman found himself in.

He tweeted 'Just to clear up the signature thing. We are asked not to sign autographs until we have officially handed in our scorecards. #RulesAreRules.'

It was not McIlroy's only incident with a fan all day, after earlier growing frustrated with a spectator whose noise interrupted his backswing at the 16th hole on Sunday.

The three-shot leader hit an almost perfect drive down the centre of the fairway - but took exception to one member of the crowd, pointing them out to be ejected with his club.

Speaking out about the incident later, McIlroy said he had been consistently heckled by the offender throughout the day.

The Daily Mail's Arthur Martin claims Rory gave up a day of Open practice to be with his friend, who was in a car accident and who McIlroy has been friends with since last year.

It all coincides with his blossoming friendship with Irish lingerie model Nadia Forde.

After being introduced by mutual friends last year, the pair have remained tight-lipped about  the nature of their relationship. Meanwhile McIlroy’s ex-fiancee, Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, 24, seems to be thriving on being a single woman after winning the Istanbul Cup on Sunday – her first title of the year.

McIlroy and Forde, 25, certainly seem to be getting closer. He missed a practice session before the Open when he learnt that she had been involved in a car crash last weekend.

Less breathless is Robert Lusetich, who works off of Tiger's extensive Rory comments Sunday at Hoylake and wonders what is next.

McIlroy's three majors have been as breathtaking as Boy Wonder's down times in between have been befuddling.

After he won the U.S. Open in 2011 in record fashion, he did not contend at all in the next five majors -- missing the cut at the 2012 U.S. Open -- but then out of the blue won the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, also by eight shot

Ryan Lavner on GMac's post round comments. Hmmm...


HOYLAKE, England--The 2014 Open Championship Ledes

The craft known as the lede, 2014 Open edition. They came in all shapes and sizes, but they were all about Rory.

Doug Ferguson, AP:

Rory McIlroy had to work a little harder, sweat a little more. No matter. Just like his other two majors, this British Open was never really in doubt.

Ewan Murray, The Guardian:

It was appropriate that Tiger Woods was long gone from the premises by the time Rory McIlroy stepped on to Royal Liverpool’s 1st tee.

A new age of golf, with McIlroy as the star, was endorsed by his claiming of the 143rd Open Championship. A sport that is so in need of heroes and poster boys to compensate for Woods’s fall from grace has one in the form of a barman’s son from Holywood.

James Corrigan, The Telegraph:

So, as predicted, the final round of the 143rd Open was a triumphant procession for Rory McIlroy – yet only for the very last yards of the 72nd hole.

But then, history should not come easily and the Northern Irishman was most definitely made to work for the honour of becoming the first European to win three of the four majors.

Kevin Garside, The Independent:

Rory McIlroy hailed his Open Championship victory as the high point of his career so far and said he wanted to be the next great player to dominate golf.

McIlroy fired a 71 for a 17-under-par total to claim his third major crown at Hoylake by two shots from Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler.

Derek Lawrenson, The Daily Mail:

Sweet Caroline was the chant emanating from a few boozed-up spectators when Rory McIlroy reached the first tee on Sunday.

By the time he got to the 18th green, his face a picture of rapture, it was abundantly clear he had composed his own response, for good times never felt so good. So good.

Karl MacGinty, Irish Independent:

THE 'new' Rory McIlroy lifted the Claret Jug at Hoylake and became Ireland's fourth winner of the British Open, golf's oldest and greatest Major, in eight glorious years.

Steve DiMeglio, USA Today:

Rory McIlroy's Sunday procession to anticipated triumph in the oldest major championship in golf became a tad wobbly around the crumpled links at Royal Liverpool Golf Club. But the substantial lead he built with a stunning finish in the third round proved sufficient.

Armed with a six-shot lead courtesy of two eagles in his last three holes on Saturday, McIlroy had enough in reserve and enough nerve to remain steady and hold off Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler & Co. to win the 143rd British Open.

Christopher Clarey, the New York Times:

By the standards of final British Open chapters, this was no major thriller, but it was not the relaxed Sunday stroll around Royal Liverpool that it might have been for Rory McIlroy.

His lead, as imposing as seven strokes in the early stages of the fourth round, was down to two with five holes to play. It was still only two when he knocked his final approach shot of the tournament into an awkward spot in a greenside bunker at the 18th hole.

Barry Svrluga, Washington Post:

It is difficult to ask a 25-year-old in any profession, be he athlete or accountant, to accurately project a career path over the next two decades. There is so much to learn, so many decisions to make, so many directions to travel.

And yet that is what Rory McIlroy left us Sunday after his blitzkrieg here.

John Huggan,

Three down, one to go. In the eight decades that have passed since the evolution of the Masters Tournament, only five men have so far annexed all of golf’s four most important events -- Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. But a sixth is on the horizon. With victory in the 143rd Open Championship at Hoylake, Rory McIlroy needs only a win at Augusta National to join one of the game’s most exclusive clubs.

Any others you spot, please pass along and I'll post. Nice work putting a historic win into perspective by the deadline set.


Tom Watson Has More FedExCup Points Than Tiger Woods

Dave Shedloski watched Tiger Woods Sunday at Hoylake and while Woods completed his first full tournament since March, the 6-over 294 aggregate total left Woods needing to play well in his next to events just to make the FedExCup playoffs. The Ryder Cup?

Shedloski writes:

But Watson was clear that Woods is not an "automatic pick." He repeated the assertion that Woods would have to be healthy and playing well. Watson, who closed with a 68, was not aware that Woods was struggling a few groups behind him. "Well that isn't good," Watson said when told that Woods was, at the time, eight shots higher on the day than the 64-year-old Watson.
"He's not in the mix. He needed to get in the mix to get some points, to get some money and get in the FedExCup," Watson said. "That was what I was hoping he was doing this week."

Mark Tallentire has more in The Guardian on Tiger's Ryder Cup prospects, Watson's comments about Mickelson and Woods' assertion that his situation is similar to when Corey Pavin picked him for Celtic Manor.

Watson has to submit his three names in the first week of September and, with the 2013 Open champion Phil Mickelson also struggling in the rankings, the USA captain will face an anxious few weeks either side of the US PGA Championship.

“Everybody is thinking that I’m going to pick them automatically,” he added. “I can assure you that I’m not going to pick them automatically. I said about Tiger that I’ll pick him if he’s playing well and he’s in good health. And Phil is the same way. If he’s playing well, how can you not pick those two?”

After his final round 68, the 64-year-old Watson moved to 210th in FedExCup points while Woods sits at 214th.