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Rory McIlroy to play Farmers Insurance Open

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Rory McIlroy announced this week that he will play the Farmers Insurance Open next week, beginning January 24th at Torrey Pines in San Diego. It’s a big move for Rory as he shifts his focus to a mostly American golfing schedule as he let known during the winter.

It’s a big win for Golf, in general, to get Rory on the national stage early in the calendar year at an American event. The idea is, of course, the always tricky scheduling to get one’s mind and body and game ready for the Majors.

For Rory, it’s about winning the majors.  He’s won four. He’s got 14 total PGA Tour titles.

Not that there’s really any debate, but why is Rory important? Well, he’s arguably the best golfer in the world or at least in the discussion and at 29-years of age, the next five years are really his window.  He won three majors by age 25, only Jack and Tiger have done that. He also joins an elite group of recognizable names and faces who you can just call Rory.

Rory also plans on playing the Genesis Open in Los Angeles beginning February 17th.

 

 

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Americans look rattled and less than confident after one day of the Presidents Cup

The Americans didn’t exactly bring it in Day 1 of the Presidents Cup

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There is no question about the level of dedication and jacked “uppedness” of one Eldrich Tiger Woods. As captain and player, he brought a laser focus to his fourball match along with fellow American Justin Thomas. The only problem is the rest of his compadres looked out of it and lackluster.

Thursday the American team dropped 1-4 in points to the International Team on the first day of competition of the 2019 Presidents Cup.  The International Team has the lead in a Presidents Cup for the first time since 2005.

I’ve seen players look more intense on a Wednesday Pro-Am than they did on Thursday in Australia. The big problem is the PGA Tour’s non-major circuit. The greens don’t play fast and curvy and all crazy like they do at the Royal Melbourne club. The other problem is the pin placements. This is more like a U.S. Open or another big-time tournament setup and the Americans I guess were relying on world rankings, name recognition, and just general talent to coast them along to a Cup victory. And the big elephant in the room-yes he’s sitting right over there-some of these young guns who Tiger adores and vice-versa, don’t care that much about the Presidents Cup.

There was the Big Easy Ernie Els smiling and calm-demeanor about the same for the last 20-30 years, and there was Tiger with his earpiece and microphone treating this as a Navy Seals training mission wondering what went wrong.

Another thing we must realize is the young guys are playing for both sides.  The American vet leadership is Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, Gary Matt Kuchar. But the wins and losses are coming in the matches involving the young guns. It’s hard not to think that Phil Mickelson as poorly as he has played recently wouldn’t have been a nice mixture in personality and competitiveness.

Tiger had this to say about his squad’s poor play:

“Well, this is a long four days. I mean, we have to go earn this Cup. Just because we lost the session doesn’t mean the Cup’s over. There’s a long way to go. A lot of points available. The guys will regroup and we’ll come out tomorrow ready to go.”

The U.S. team came in overconfident. They don’t have the home course advantage and now they will have to turn it on for the remaining three days of the tournament.

 

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Rory McIlroy is still underrated

Rory cashes a check for $15 million by winning Sunday’s PGA Tour Playoff Championship at East Lake in Atlanta, he seemed more satisfied with winning his second Tour Championship than the $15 million

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Rory cashes a check for $15 million by winning Sunday’s PGA Tour Playoff Championship at East Lake in Atlanta, he seemed more satisfied with winning his second Tour Championship than the $15 million. (He’s made something like $83 million in his career just in tournaments and $24 million this season just on the PGA Tour). It’s not about the money.

Rory is probably my favorite golfer in the world. One he’s a nice guy but he has a backbone and is perpetually honest with the media and just a very down to earth in a not-so-down to earth world. Some of that is a product of professional golf, where everyone but Tiger Woods is still not quite as recognizable as the biggest stars in the other major sports. Still, Rory is just a likable person and just a great golfer. He arguable is the best driver of the golf ball in the world off the tee.

Even his competitor Brooks Koepka revels in watching some Rory, “His game is in great form right now,” Koepka said via the USA TODAY.

“It’s really impressive to watch. Like I’ve said multiple times, he’s the most fun to watch when he’s playing well. He hits it so good, he putts it really well, and when he’s on, man, he’s tough to beat. I enjoy competing against Rory. He’s a tough competitor. He grinds it out, man. Even when you’re playing with him, it’s fun to watch him.

Rory didn’t win a major this season but he played solid. He won The PLAYERS and the Canadian Open in addition to Sunday’s Tour Championship. He had 14 Top 10 finishes in a year he devoted almost entirely to playing on the PGA Tour.

But it’s about the majors of course. T21 at Augusta, T8 at the PGA, T9 at the U.S. Open and missing the cut at the Open Championship.

That’s the same standard for any of the best golfers in the world and it won’t change anytime soon. Rory has the ability but in the past, the pressure he has put on himself has been self-defeating. Psychologically Rory is taking a more mindful positive approach to his game. Still, it’s about the majors.

Still, Rory is underappreciated. He took out the No. 1 player in the world and it’s ho-hum. Some of that has to do with the way the PGA Tour season has come to a grinding halt to make room for NFL Sundays.

So we must wait eight months to watch Rory go for the gold again.

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NBC and Golf Channel will broadcast 150 hours devoted to THE PLAYERS Championship

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By Travis Duncan

A fifth major? Not quite, although THE PLAYERS Championship has the highest total purse at $12.5 million dollars in Golf, it’s not a major. But it’s a pretty big deal due to the field which includes every top golfer in the world.

As expected the Golf Channel and NBC are going all in on coverage.

Between NBC and the Golf Channel, the two networks will have 22 hours of live tournament coverage and 150 total hours devoted to the tournament at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

The goal in moving THE PLAYERS from May to March is to spread the Championship calendar around a little, with the Masters in April, the PGA Championship in May, U.S. Open in June, and The Open (also known as the British Open in some circles) in July.

With some early season excitement in February with bigger profile names committing to tournaments in California, the American Pro Golf Calendar can viably extend from February to August when the Tour Championship takes place. Technically the PGA Tour schedule extends October to September.

Here is the schedule for THE PLAYERS on NBC and Golf Channel:

Thursday, March 14

PGA TOUR LIVE – Featured Groups                                  7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. (NBC Sports Gold)

THE PLAYERS Championship (First Round)                      1-7 p.m. (Golf Channel)

Friday, March 15

PGA TOUR LIVE – Featured Groups                                   7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. (NBC Sports Gold)

THE PLAYERS Championship (Second Round)                  1-7 p.m. (Golf Channel)

Saturday, March 16

PGA TOUR LIVE – Featured Groups                                   8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (NBC Sports Gold)

THE PLAYERS Championship (Third Round)                     2-7 p.m. (NBC)

Sunday, March 17

PGA TOUR LIVE – Featured Groups                                   8 a.m.-1 p.m. (NBC Sports Gold)

THE PLAYERS Championship (Final Round)                      1-6 p.m. (NBC)

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