Tag: Rory McIlroy

Masters: Jordan Spieth wins first major with dominant display

Jordan Spieth equalled the lowest winning score in Masters history to cap a record-breaking display at Augusta and win his first major.

The 21-year-old American, second on his debut last year, shot a two-under 70 to triumph on 18 under.

England’s Justin Rose hit 70 to finish 14 under, joint second with three-time champion Phil Mickelson (69) who ended runner-up in a major for the 10th time.

World number one Rory McIlroy finished fourth on 12 under after a 66.

The story going into the Masters had been all about the Northern Irishman’s quest to become just the sixth man to win the Grand Slam of all four of golf’s majors.

But it was Spieth, the new world number two, who dominated the headlines on each day, equalling Tiger Woods’s winning score of 18 under in 1997, when the former world number one won his first Green Jacket.

Spieth also became the second-youngest Masters champion, winning the tournament at the age of 21 years and 259 days, 155 days older than Woods when he recorded his 1997 win.

He also became the first player in 39 years to lead a Masters from start to finish, and the first to shoot 28 birdies at the tournament.

A one-over 73 for Woods meant he finished tied 17th on five under, while 2014 champion Bubba Watson carded a 74 to finish tied for 38th on one over.

Read more at BBC Sport

Masters: Justin Rose cuts Jordan Spieth’s lead

Jordan Spieth will go into the final round of the Masters nursing a four-shot lead over England’s Justin Rose with three-time champion Phil Mickelson heading a charging pack behind.

Rose conjured up five birdies in his last six holes, including a chip-in from the bunker on 16, to finish on 12 under and remain in the hunt for his first Green Jacket.

His hopes of winning might also be buoyed by some uncharacteristic errors by Spieth towards the end of his round. He double-bogeyed the 17th and sliced his approach to the 18th green into the crowd, but recovered his composure to save par.

Spieth’s late wobble sets up an enthralling Sunday afternoon after a low-scoring thriller of a third day saw contenders rise and fall in their pursuit.

The young Texan’s two-under-par 70 left him on 16 under, a new Augusta record after 54 holes, and kept him on track to become the second youngest Masters champion in history behind Tiger Woods.

And Woods’s record score of 18 under, made in his epoch-changing debut win in 1997, is also in danger from a performance that for most of the first three days has borne striking similarities.

But Rose is on his tail after fighting back from a dropped shot on the first and another on the fifth to storm through the back nine, draining a horrible downhill birdie putt from the fringes on the last to go clear in second.

Mickelson’s five-under 67 puts him on 11 under, his six birdies igniting the galleries around the sun-baked course, with Woods and world number one Rory McIlroy both scoring 68s to tie for fifth on six under.

All three piled the pressure on the precocious Spieth until late dropped shots hurt McIlroy and Woods, with Mickelson missing another birdie putt by a fraction on the 18th.

Charley Hoffman, second overnight, remains in contention at 10 under after shooting 71 to add to his 67 and 68 over the first two days.

Not since Ray Floyd in 1976 has a Masters champion led from start to finish, indicative of the way this course can snare and punish even a man in rare form.

The history of the tournament is also littered with the tales of players who blew big final day leads – Greg Norman spurned a six-shot advantage in 1996, McIlroy four in 2011.

Read more at BBC Sport

Dubai Desert Classic: McIlroy cruises to victory

World No.1 Rory McIlroy admitted he was looking for the solid rather than the spectacular as he won the Dubai Desert Classic for a second time.

The Northern Irishman won by three shots ahead of Alex Noren with a final round 70 securing his 10th European Tour title.

Six years ago, a teenage McIlroy captured his first professional title at the event and after coming close a couple of times since, the 25-year-old was delighted.

“It is always great coming back here, it is nice to put my name on trophy once again,” he said at the trophy presentation.

“I felt like I was finishing second every time I was teeing it up, so it was time for a change, obviously the only way I wanted to go was one better and thankfully I was able to do that today.

“I played very nicely all week. I did what I needed to do today to keep my nose in front and be able to win.

“I still get nervous, a little tentative, we’ve seen what can happen to big leads. I was making sure I wasn’t making any mistakes and to play a solid round.”

Noren, who played just two events in 2014 due to tendinitis in both wrists, finished second after an impressive six-under final round of 65 saw him leap up the leaderboard from eighth to finish on 19-under-par.

Noren was not thinking about victory at the start of the day and after missing so much time due to injury of late, the Swede was delighted with his showing.

“It was an amazing day, an amazing week,” Noren, who finished ninth at the Qatar Masters last week, told Sky Sports.

“I missed it so much it was really nice. I never, ever thought of winning. He [McIlroy] is playing so good, I was trying to get a nice finish. I just tried to keep making birdies and keep up with the other guys.”

Stephen Gallacher, who won the tournament both in 2013 and 2014, failed to replicate the form he showed on the first two days.

Gallacher finished with four birdies in the back nine, but dropped shots on the first and 14th meant he finished third on 16-under.

England’s Andy Sullivan failed to finish strongly with a bogey on 15 bringing an end to his challenge, while a dropped shot on the last meant he finished in fourth, with a two-under final round of 70.

Martin Kaymer was the day’s big mover as he closed with a final-round 64 to jump 30 places and finish level with Sullivan on 15-under.

France’s Gary Stal also finished in fifth after four-under on the final day, with Bernd Wiesberger also finishing 15-under. Morten Orum Madsen, who started the day in second, was left ruing a seven on the opening hole and two dropped shots on the back nine as he finished on 15-under.

Graeme McDowell closed with a 70 to finish 14 under par, good enough for ninth. But his countryman McIlroy never looked like losing control.

Read more at ESPN

Dubai Desert Classic: Rory McIlroy leads after sublime 64

World number one Rory McIlroy fired a sublime eight-under 64 to move to the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the Dubai Desert Classic.

McIlroy carded eight birdies and missed several other chances as he took a one-shot lead over Scotland’s Marc Warren.

Warren led for much of the day after his 65 left him on 13 under but McIlroy finished with three straight birdies.

Graeme McDowell and England’s Seve Benson share third on 12 under with Lee Westwood among a group on 11 under.

McDowell matched Warren’s 65 with Benson carding a second successive 66 but the dominant feature on another glorious day of sunshine was McIlroy’s magnificent ball-striking.

The 25-year-old Northern Irishman reached the green with his drive on the 351-yard par-four second and picked up five shots in his opening 11 holes to move to 11 under.

His momentum was then halted as he missed three successive short birdie-putts from the 12th but his mini-wobble was emphatically ended by three closing birdies, which included an 18-foot effort at the last.

“I felt like I played very nicely. Couldn’t ask for much more; bogey-free, made birdies, and set myself up for a good run over the next couple of days,” said McIlroy of his round at the Emirates Club, where he recorded his first victory as a professional in 2009.

Read more at BBC Sport

Golf: Abu Dhabi Championship: Gary Stal beats Martin Kaymer to title

Martin Kaymer blew a six-shot overnight lead to hand Gary Stal his first win on the European Tour at the Abu Dhabi Championship in a frantic final round.

Kaymer looked like cruising to a fourth title in Abu Dhabi after making three birdies in his opening four holes, even threatening his record of 24-under from 2011, but a bogey at six – his first dropped shot 47 holes at Abu Dhabi Golf Club – was followed by a double at nine and a triple-bogey seven at 13.

Stal, ranked 357 in the world at the start of the week, pounced with six birdies between holes 4 to 11 and held himself together down the stretch, picking up another shot at the 16th to capture his maiden title on the main tour thanks to a seven-under 65 for 19-under overall.

Kaymer shot 75 for 17-under and third place behind world No.1 Rory McIlroy, who has now finished in the top two in his last six European Tour events.

Read more at ESPN

Golf: Rory McIlroy hits first competitive hole-in-one

Rory McIlroy made his first competitive hole-in-one as a professional in the second round of the Abu Dhabi Championship.

The world No.1 threw his hands in the air and high-fived playing partner Rickie Fowler after his nine-iron from 177 yards at the par-three 15th landed a yard from the hole, hopped right and trickled into the cup.

“It never left the pin,” McIlroy said after ticking off one of the few things he’d yet to achieve in his golf career.

A six-under 66 – completed with a 15-foot birdie putt at No.18 – moved McIlroy into third place at 11 under, two shots behind Kaymer, to set up a potentially thrilling duel over the weekend between two players who won three of last year’s majors.

McIlroy will do well to dislodge Kaymer, though. The US Open champion followed up a first-round 64 with a 67 to give himself a great chance of a fourth title at the National Course – where he won in 2008, 2010 and 2011.

Kaymer, who maintained his one-stroke lead from overnight, is a strong front-runner – as shown by his wire-to-wire victories in last year’s US Open and in Abu Dhabi in 2008. He is even threatening to challenge his own record-low total in this tournament, set in 2011 when he shot a 24-under 264.

“It’s one of the only tournaments where you stand on the first tee and you pretty much know you have birdied every single hole,” said Kaymer, whose second-round highlight came on his 10th hole when he chipped in for birdie from a greenside bunker.

Separating Kaymer and McIlroy on the leaderboard is Thomas Pieters, the 22-year-old Belgian who is starting to fulfil his potential.

Pieters, seeking a first European Tour win, shot a 67 for 12 under.

Among the players to miss the cut – at two under – in the first tournament in the annual Desert Swing were defending champion Pablo Larrazabal, world No.2 Henrik Stenson and Italy’s Matteo Manassero. Fowler shot a 75 to drop to two under and just make the weekend.

McIlroy recalled making 10 holes-in-one, the last coming in a pro-am two years ago. His first came at the age of nine and was also a nine-iron, on that occasion from 106 yards at his home course in Holywood, Northern Ireland.

But one of the most thrilling feats in golf had evaded him in competitive professional play until he stepped up at No.15, slightly downbeat after missing very makeable birdie putts on the 13th and 14th holes.

He stayed in his pose as the ball drew in, kicked right on landing and took a couple of small bounces before dropping in.

“I didn’t need to get the putter out on that hole,” said McIlroy, who walked up to the cup, repaired his pitch mark and scooped the ball out to cheers from the crowd.

McIlroy was delighted with his ball-striking on a day that revived memories of his stunning year in 2014, when he won two majors and returned to world No.1. He has quickly shaken off the rust following time off over Christmas.

Read more at ESPN

Golf: Rory McIlroy among the honours again

Rory McIlroy, Stacy Lewis and Bernhard Langer were overwhelming choices for 2014 players of the year by the Golf Writers Association of America.

McIlroy earned the top spot for male golfers for the second time in three years, as did Lewis in the female category. Both also won in 2012. Langer won the senior honour.

With four worldwide victories, two major championships and a three-tournament late-summer winning streak, McIlroy, 25, was named on 94% of the GWAA ballots.

“Truly a great honour for me,” McIlroy said in a statement. “This award is testimony to my best year as a professional golfer and something I can aim toward winning again as I go into next season.”

Lewis had 57% of the vote in the Female Player of the Year category, finishing ahead of Lydia Ko and Michelle Wie. Lewis won three times, led the money list and won the scoring title as well as being tops in the Rolex Player of the Year standings.

“It is tough to win one, let alone all three,” Lewis said. “It’s an honour to be recognised by the GWAA Player of the Year for the second time.”

Langer also won the senior honour in 2010. All three players will be honoured by the GWAA at its annual awards dinner on April 8 during Masters week in Augusta, Georgia.

Read more at ESPN

Golf: McIlroy named European Tour player of the year

Rory McIlroy may have missed out on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award but he has been chosen as the top European Tour player in 2014.

The Northern Irishman was pipped to the BBC prize by Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton on Sunday, but has been honoured by the European Tour after a season in which he won two majors, the Ryder Cup, and topped the money lists in Europe and the United States.

World No.1 McIlroy claimed his first Open Championship by two strokes over Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia at Royal Liverpool in July, and made it back-to-back majors with a a second US PGA Championship at Valhalla, finishing a shot clear of Phil Mickelson.

Between McIlroy’s third and fourth major wins, he won the World Golf Championship event at Firestone for the first time, again with a two-shot victory over Garcia.

Overall, he took four big titles over three months, starting in May at the European Tour’s flagship event at Wentworth, where he edged Shane Lowry by a shot on a course where he missed the halfway cut the previous two years.

That victory came days after canceling a wedding and relationship with tennis player Caroline Wozniacki.

At the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September, McIlroy won three points as Europe successfully defended the title.

“If I had won any one of those four titles it would have been a good year, but to win all four, to win The Race to Dubai, and to be part of another fantastic European victory in the Ryder Cup, means it is a great one,” McIlroy said.

“The European Tour has always been good to me, so it is always special to be recognised in this way.”

Read more at ESPN

F1: Lewis Hamilton wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2014

Lewis Hamilton has been voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2014.

The 29-year-old Mercedes driver won his second Formula 1 world title this season and joined an exclusive club by becoming the fourth Briton to win the drivers’ championship at least twice.

Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy was runner-up, with athlete Jo Pavey third.

“I was sitting there saying Rory’s going to have it,” said Hamilton, who earned 34% of the vote. “I thought it had to be someone else.”

The Englishman won 209,920 of the 620,932 votes cast, with McIlroy getting 123,745 (20%) and Pavey 99,913 (16%).

“I want to say a huge thank you to all the people who called in, I really wasn’t expecting it,” he added.

“I am so speechless. I’m so proud and honoured to be among such great sporting talent.”

Hamilton was runner-up to boxer Joe Calzaghe in 2007 and Sir Chris Hoy the following year.

Having arrived at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow with his dog, Roscoe, he was presented with the trophy by former Scotland player and Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish after his name was announced by former England rugby player Jonny Wilkinson in front of a 12,000-strong audience.

Meanwhile, Paul McGinley capped a triumphant 2014 for golf by winning the Coach of the Year award.

The Irishman, who is 48 on Tuesday, oversaw a 16½-11½ win over the United States at Gleneagles in September.

However, his European side were beaten to the Team of the Year prize by England’s women rugby players, who beat Canada 21-9 in Paris to claim the World Cup for the first time since 1994.

Read more at BBC Sport

Golf: McIlroy ‘wiped clean’ important data, court hears

Rory McIlroy deleted information from up to eight electronic devices that may have contained important data relating to his legal action against his former management firm, Horizon Sports, a court has heard.

Horizon’s lawyers said the devices, some of which belonged to other key figures in the case, including father Gerry McIlroy, were restored to their factory setting.

Senior counsel Paul Sreenan, representing Horizon, said the action seemed “incredible for a person in his position”.

Horizon has asked the court for further disclosure, including inspection of electronic devices, because McIlroy had failed to respond to requests for further disclosure.

Mr Sreenan added that McIlroy and three others close to him had also wiped their devices before passing them on to others or to charity.

McIlroy, in an affidavit sworn in Florida on Monday, said he had already provided significant amount of detail for the case, in compliance with a previous court order.

He said he had not been advised it was necessary to back up material before factory resetting his phones, which he changed regularly to have the most up-to-date model. He added that he used the internet-based ‘iCloud’ storage system to transfer data between phones, but he reset the old phones to preserve his privacy and avoid unsolicited calls.

McIlroy is suing Horizon, claiming a representation agreement signed by him in December 2011 is invalid and unenforceable on a number of grounds including alleged undue influence.

Horizon deny this and have counter-claimed for £1.9m they claim is outstanding under the agreement for off-course revenues.

Read more at ESPN