Rory McIlroy doesn’t think much of Patrick Cantlay, and what bothered him the most about Joe LaCava at the Ryder Cup was the caddie not getting out of McIlroy’s putting line and then barking back when asked to move.
Those are the big headlines from the Paul Kimmage interview with McIlroy and Shane Lowry in the Irish Independent.
Neither are surprising.
Overlooked in the first part of the interview, which was published Sunday, was what McIlroy considered to be a clever move by European captain Luke Donald when it came to Sunday singles at Marco Simone.
Most memorable, of course, was the dust-up on the 18th green late Saturday afternoon in the Ryder Cup when Cantlay made a 45-foot birdie putt. McIlroy describes his relationship with Cantlay as “average at best” and later refers to him with a vulgar slang. So maybe it’s below average.
What annoyed McIlroy is he felt his side in the fourballs match tried to quiet the European crowd, and that Cantlay (and LaCava) didn’t return the favor to McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick. McIlroy describes a “red mist” that stoked his anger long after the match and into the night.
Here’s where Donald comes in.
The pairings for singles came out that evening and McIlroy was in the No. 4 spot.
“I thought it was a stroke of genius,” McIlroy says in the Kimmage interview. “Why? Because I usually play one or three, and if you look at where they placed Cantlay, that’s probably what they expected, and it would stir the whole ‘Rory and LaCava’ thing again.
“He needed me to go out and just win a point, and it would be easier for me to win a point if I didn’t have that distraction.”
In his six previous Ryder Cups, McIlroy was in the No. 2 spot in his debut, the No. 3 spot the next two times, and the lead match the past three.
Tiger Woods played his first Official World Golf Ranking event in 1992 when he was 16 and missed the cut in the Nissan Open at Riviera.
He officially entered the world ranking on Feb. 6, 1994, at age 18 when he tied for 34th in the Johnnie Walker Classic in Thailand and earned 2 points.
The latest milestone came Sunday afternoon when Woods, who hasn't played since he withdrew after making the cut in the Masters, fell to No. 1,307. That's the lowest he has been ranked. His previous low was No. 1,294 on Feb. 12, 2023, two years after his car crash in Los Angeles that badly damaged his right leg and has limited his play.
Some context is require on this new benchmark. The world ranking has gone through numerous models over the years — it was a three-year rolling process when when Woods first began playing.
When he played his first PGA Tour event, there were only 891 players who had at least some points in the ranking. By the end of 1994, the number was up to 982.
That was up to 1,839 players before the latest change to the OWGR in August 2022, which used more of a “strokes gained” model and awarded points to every player making the cut on any tour. The latest ranking that came out Sunday had 4,101 players.
YIN CASHES IN
Angel Yin came into the season-ending Race to CME Globe having earned just over $1.6 million in 16 tournaments.
And then she picked up an extra $1 million.
Yin won the Aon Risk Reward Challenge, a competition throughout the season that measures how players perform on designated holes each week that provide risks, such as going for the green on par 5s.
Aon gives a $1 million prize to the leading LPGA and PGA Tour player. Tyrrell Hatton won the contest on the PGA Tour.
The award caps off a big year for Yin, who won her first LPGA title last month in the Buick LPGA Shanghai by beating Lilia Vu in a playoff.
Eric Cole is likely to be a leading candidate for PGA Tour rookie of the year when the season finally ends this week after the RSM Classic.
While he hasn't won this season, Cole was runner-up at the Honda Classic and the Zozo Championship. He had three other finishes in the top 5, and he finished No. 43 in the FedEx Cup, making him eligible for all the $20 million signature events next year.
Also at stake this week for Cole is his world ranking. He is at No. 48, and the top 50 at the end of the year get invitations to the Masters.
Just like he has all year, Cole said he is focused on the little details inside the ropes and understanding that would lead to perks like rookie of the year or a spot at the Masters.
There's also a sliver of history at stake. He is the son of Laura Baugh, who was the LPGA rookie of the year in 1973. They might be the first mother-son duo to win such an award.
“I think it would be very cool,” Cole said. “I don’t know if that’s ever happened before, so it’s something that would be really special and something that it would be a cool thing to share with her.”
The four major champions are playing tournaments in the same week for the first time since the Tour Championship in August.
Masters champion Jon Rahm is at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai to close out the European tour season. British Open champion Brian Harman is at the RSM Classic at Sea Island on the PGA Tour.
PGA champion Brooks Koepka and U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark are in the Dunlop Phoenix on the Japan Golf Tour.
CAT SCRATCH FEVER
Lilia Vu always wanted a cat, and her father tried to motivate her by saying she could get one if she won another major.
Vu, who won the Chevron Championship in April, picked up another major in the Women’s British Open at Walton Heath. And now she has a cat.
Vu just didn’t expect to find her furry little companion in South Korea.
Turns out Andrea Lee got a puppy while they were at the BMW Ladies Championship, texted Vu that it was her turn.
“I took my mom. It’s like a little pet store near our hotel and my mom was like, ‘Get him,’” Vu said.
She bought a 2-month-old ragdoll and flew the cat home from South Korea. Finding a name was the easy part.
“His name is Walton, for Walton Heath,” Vu said. “And he’s the cutest thing.”
David Ford earned an exemption to the RSM Classic by winning the Jones Cup at Ocean Forest in January. The tournament gave an unrestricted exemption to his twin brother, Maxwell. Both play at North Carolina.
They will be the third set of twins to play on the PGA Tour this year. Nicolai and Rasmus Hojgaard played in the British Open at Royal Liverpool, while Pierceson and Parker Coody played in the Honda Classic.
The Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro returns to a PGA Tour-sanctioned schedule next year. The Brazil Open will be held on April 11-14 — the week of the Masters — on the PGA Tour Americas. It previously hosted the Brazil Open in 2016 and 2017 as part of the PGA Tour Latinoamerica. ... With her victory last week, Lilia Vu joined Allisen Corpuz as surpassing $3 million in earnings on the LPGA Tour this season. ... Camilo Villegas (41) was only the third player in his 40s to win a PGA Tour event this season. The others were Lucas Glover and Justin Rose. ... Every past champion of the RSM Classic the last 10 years is playing except for Talor Gooch and Charles Howell III, both now with LIV Golf.
STAT OF THE WEEK
The top 50 players in the Race to Dubai finale on the European tour comes from 19 countries. The top 30 players from Tour Championship on the PGA Tour came from 10 countries.
“I’ve always felt like this is an area that we all can help to grow, not just the game of golf, but also to teach the kids about the morals and things that go along with golf.” — Patrick Reed on playing in the Hong Kong Open.
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