Honda Classic. Qualifier Jim Herman Leads.

 

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Qualifier Jim Herman leads the Honda Classic on a windy day at PGA National. 

Honda Classic

Jim Herman / Getty Images

Jim shot an opening -5 under par 65 at the Honda Classic to lead the tournament by one shot at a windy PGA National.

“I don’t mind it blowing, I feel like I can control the golf ball pretty well with my iron game. So yeah, it was OK that the wind was blowing.”

“It was a little unexpected to get to five under, I was trying to keep it around par.”

“It’s nice playing out here, I definitely enjoy it more than the golf shop.”

Brendon Steele is in second place at -4 under par after his first round 66, with three players tied in the third spot at -3 under par; Padraig Harrington, Martin Flores and Patrick Reed all battled the wind.

Patrick mentioned the stiff breeze;

“I don’t think I’ve played in that much wind in a long time.”

“When I hit 6‑iron normally 200 yards, I’m pulling 6‑iron from 170, it’s tough.”

“The main thing was just to stay in my golf swing and just be comfortable and try to be confident that that’s the club to hit from those distances.”

“You could play it to the fat part of greens, but even when you hit it to 7-8 feet you had to see which way the wind was going, even on putts.”

“Just makes it a little more difficult, and to be able to finish strong like I did, especially after struggling on the back nine to birdie two of the last three, gives me good confidence going into Friday.”

Padraig spoke about momentum during his -3 under par 67;

“On a windy day, momentum is bigger than any other day.”

“I came out starting the year with really high expectations, and I fell right back into struggling.”

“I was confident in doing the right things. I just really, really struggled.”

“When I wasn’t playing great, I kept walking off the golf course feeling like I played 70 shots and signed for 73 shots.”

“Today, I feel like I played in 70 but signed for 67, so that’s a nice place to be.”

Starting his 2015 U.S. campaign with difficulty, World number one Rory McIlroy struggled to sign for a +3 over par 73, he also mentioned the windy conditions;

“The conditions were obviously very tricky from the start. You know, from the first hole, it was always going to be a day like that.”

 “At least the wind started to die down for us the last few holes”

“I feel like I salvaged something out of the round the last couple of holes, but it was just a day to keep trying, not to give up.”

“I’m coming off a three-week break, so these were tough conditions to come back in. Guys were all struggling. It was a grind out there.”

“Today wasn’t what I wanted to start with, but if I can get it into red numbers tomorrow I’m right back in the tournament. I looked at the forecast for Friday morning, and it looks nice. Hopefully the conditions will be a little easier.”

 

Honda Classic

 

R&A Renegades Close The Open.

The Royal and Ancient have closed the door for many people in England on seeing The Open on national television. This is a national disgrace, the people have bought a TV licence but will now have to subscribe to SKY TV if they want to watch the national tournament.

The BBC golf presentation team, who give the best golfing coverage to be found, will become redundant. A sad end to anyone who enjoys the quirky quips and great knowledge of the game of Peter Alliss, the commentary team leader, Peter had this to say about the sad announcement;

“I know they (the R&A) do lots of lovely, lovely things but now when it comes down to the nitty-gritty they have dipped their hands into the money and that’s it. I don’t think there will be a golfer that won’t be bitterly disappointed at the news today.”

The Open

Peter with the BBC Team

Lee Westwood, who is currently leading the Malaysian Open, could not believe what the R&A have done;

 I cannot believe the Open isn’t protected as one of the crown jewels, that is an absolute disgrace.”

Graeme McDowell, who is also in Kuala Lumpur right now, feels sorry for anyone who expects to see The Open on national TV;

“I feel bad for anyone sitting at home with their TV licence and who will be robbed of Peter Alliss and the boys. The coverage from 7.30am to 7.30pm at night is special.”

For certain SKY will not be transmitting The Open for 12 hours a day, like the BBC do, and also you know the Sky coverage will be constantly interrupted by advertising.

Rory McIlroy knows it is all jut about the money;

 “I guess it’s just the way it’s gone, money talks, you know.”

The Open

Rory winning The Open

The people of England can put down The Open in July 2016 as the last one before golf stops being one of the major sports in the country and begins a long and agonising retreat to the margins.

Sky cannot be trusted, down here in New Zealand they have recently stopped transmitting the Premier League football, and have also removed Golf entirely from the program, so we basically get nothing.

The Open

The Open 2015 will be at St Andrews, the last one to be televised by the BBC.

BBC AND THE OPEN, A HISTORY IN NUMBERS

60 years since The Open was first broadcast on BBC — 1955 was the 84th edition of the competition.

1969 The first Open to be shown in color, with Tony Jacklin taking the Claret Jug.

267 The lowest 72-hole score, carded by Greg Norman in 1993 — his second victory at The Open.

6 British winners since 1955 — Tony Jacklin (1969), Sandy Lyle (1985), Nick Faldo (1987, 1990 and 1992), Paul Lawrie (1999), Darren Clarke (2011) and Rory McIlroy (2014).

£12m Total winners’ prize-money in BBC era. First prize in 1955 was £1,000.

1 in 5 people in the UK watched McIlroy win in 2014.

 

Omega Desert Classic. Super Mac Wins.

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Super Mac, Rory McIlroy has won the Omega Desert Classic, for a second time, at Emirates Golf Club in Dubai.

Omega Desert Classic

Super Mac / Getty Images

Rory produced a final round -2 under par 70 to lift the trophy in the Omega Desert Classic with a -22 under par tournament total. A three shot winning margin made this a comfortable last round and he just cruised to the title, Fridays 64 left everyone else behind.

Rory said it was nice to win here again, although he did not perform so well today, but did enough to win;

“It’s nice to be able to put my name on that trophy again.”

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

“I felt like I was a little tentative the first few holes out there, I guess we’ve seen what can happen to big leads out there the last few weeks and I was conscious of that and making sure that I wasn’t making any mistakes.”

“I played very nicely all week; I did what I needed to do today. I didn’t play quite as well as the first three days but I played a solid round of golf and kept my nose in front.”

Alex Noren was in second place, at -19 under par, he carded a -7 under par 65 today, a nice comeback after missing almost all of 2014 with tendonitis in both wrists;

“It was an amazing day, an amazing week, I missed it so much, feeling my pulse and some nervousness, it’s really nice.”

“I never even thought of winning; he’s playing so good. I was just trying to get a nice finish in, keep making birdies and try to stay up with the other guys.”

“I was pretty unsure even two months ago if I was going to play again this early. It’s tough when you don’t know if the hand is holding up, and that’s been a little bit of a problem, but it turned out better than I thought.”

Defending champion Stephen Gallacher played well in defense of his title, finishing in third place alone, a last round -3 under par 69 giving him a -16 under par total.

 

Omega Desert Classic. Rory Reigns Supreme

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Rory McIlroy reigns supreme in the Omega Desert Classic, and will take a four shot lead into the final round tomorrow at Emirates Golf Club in Dubai.

Omega Desert Classic

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory shot a bogey free third round -6 under par 64 to lead the Omega Desert Classic by four shots going into the final round tomorrow with a tournament total of -20 under par.

Rory said it was important to record a bogey free round, when you start with a lead;

“To be bogey free again today was important to me, especially when you’re going out with the lead.”

“Not to make any mistakes makes it that much harder for anyone else, just to get that up and down on the last was big for momentum going into tomorrow.” 

“I’m very happy. I feel like I could be a little bit more but I’m not going to complain, I’m four ahead going into the final day, so I’ve put myself in a great position to win tomorrow.” 

“I just have to go and try and play similar golf to the way I have the first three days.”

“I’ve been in this position many times before and I know the pitfalls that are waiting out there; it’s just a matter of sticking to the same game plan, being aggressive, making committed swings and giving myself as many chances for birdies as I can.” 

“The front nine was very good, I didn’t put a foot wrong on the front nine and when I missed that little short putt on ten, it seemed like that momentum I had just went away. It was nice to make one birdie on 17, and then a great save on the last.”

“I can’t complain , another good round and a great position going into tomorrow.”

Morten Ørum Madsen matched the -6 under par 64 score and has second place on his own at -16 under par for the competition.

Morten admits Rory will be hard to catch, let alone beat him;

“Obviously I felt pretty confident from the round I played yesterday, that was one of my best rounds ever.” 

“I was nice and calm all the way and putted well and hit the ball solidly.”

“Obviously he’s going to be tough to beat. He looks like he’s playing pretty solidly out there, so I’m just going to go out tomorrow and see if I can play some of the same golf that I played today. I won’t be too disappointed if I don’t win tomorrow.” 

“I’ll be happy if I do what I set out to do and play pretty solidly. Rory is the best golfer in the world right now and it’s not looking like he’s going to falter but if he does, someone’s going to be there to take it.” 

“I’ll try and stay as close to him as I can, hopefully he’s not going to run away too far before the end of the day.”

In third place is Lee Westwood, a -3 under par 69 giving him a -14 under par total, a distant six shots off the blistering pace of Rory.

Omega Desert Classic. Rory Romps to the Top.

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Rory McIlroy romps to the top of the Omega Desert Classic leaderboard in Dubai.

Omega Desert Classic

Rory in the Pink / Getty Images

Rory was in the pink as he carded a -8 under par 64 to lead the Omega Desert Classic at the half-way point with a -14 under par tournament total. Victory here in 2009 at the Emirates Golf Club was the catalyst that set Rory on his way to  three wins, two of them Major Championships followed with a hat-trick of runner-up finishes in his last six European Tour tournaments.

The World Number One reported that he had not played his best, but going bogey free was a bonus;

“I couldn’t ask for much more: bogey free, made birdies, and set myself up for a good run over the next couple days.”

“I didn’t play my best but I definitely improved from tee to green out there and was able to make some putts. It was a great round and I’m going to need something similar over the next couple of days to stay in the position that I’m in.”

“I’m in a great position, obviously. But there are so many people that are close to the lead and it’s so bunched up there. ” 

“Even though I’m in the lead, there’s so many people still in with a chance if they shoot a good round tomorrow. I’ve just got to go out there, stay aggressive, stick to the game plan and try to make as many birdies as I can.”

“I saw a stat yesterday, that since the first round of The Open, I’ve played 45 rounds and a third of them were 66 or better, which just shows you the level that I am at. I’ve put the work in and I’ve worked hard; I continue to work hard and this is the result, which is nice.” 

In second place at -13 under par for the competition is Marc Warren, he scored a -7 under par 65, and is happy that things appear to be going well;

“It seems to be going well, at this moment in time I’m comfortable in my swing and pretty free mentally, so I just hit the shots that I see: it’s a nice place to be.”

There is a two-way tie for third place between Seve Benson and Graeme McDowell, both players at -12 under par and by no means out of it. Defending champion Stephen Gallacher, former World Number One Lee Westwood and overnight leader Bernd Wiesberger are a shot further back at -11 under par.

The standard of play here at the Emirates Golf Club is exceptional, and there will be many twists and turns in the next two days on the tightly compacted leaderboard.

 

Omega Desert Classic. Bernd Wiesberger Leads.

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Bernd Wiesberger has the 1st round lead at the Omega Desert Classic in Dubai.

Omega Desert Classic

Bernd Weisberger / Getty Images

Bernd carded a first round -8 under par 64 to lead the Omega Desert Classic by just one shot from Nicolas Colsaerts Andy Sullivan and Lee Westwood who all scored opening rounds of -7 under par 65.

“I got on a run at the end and could have birdied my last six holes there. Once I got the pace right on the greens, which were a bit slower than I expected, it went nicely.”

“I’ve always played well here at the Majelis; I know I can make a lot of birdies out here.

“It feels good right now, I feel quite happy with what I expect out of my game. When I’m in trouble, I know I can scramble well, which is the part you don’t see right now because I’m hitting the ball quite nicely.” 

“It was a solid back nine I have to say.”

Nicolas blamed a wayward driver for not returning a better score;

“I feel very good, I was in the zone all day.” 

“I still felt like I left a few out there, I could have easily been ten under today.

“It’s mixed feelings because I was hitting it wayward off the tee and then certain shots into the green I must have been looking like I was owning the place.”

Andy played alongside Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer, and absolutely loved the experience;

“It was the best day of my life out there playing with these guys.”

“It’s an absolute pleasure and to be fair, it took some, not pressure off,  but I didn’t really look at the leaderboard today. I was just watching those guys play golf.” 

“It was just absolutely fantastic, one of the best days of my life,  and to play the way I did, as well, was brilliant.”

“I can’t really put into words at the moment how happy I am and just to play with those guys, it’s a dream come true. You watch them on the telly, winning Majors, playing in Ryder Cups and then you’re playing with them, and then to play the way I did, it’s just an unbelievable feeling.”

World Number One Rory McIlroy also made an excellent start, a bogey on his last hole was expensive, and he is now two shots back at -6 under par, but he was happy with his start to the tournament;

“It’s another good start here and something to build on.”

 “Not going to grumble about a 66, although you’re not going to get the course any easier.”

“Compared to when I first won here in 2009 my golf game is much better and the sort of score I shot this morning just comes a lot easier to me these days.”

“Managing my game and knowing how to shoot a score is kind of second nature now, whereas back then 66 would have been a really good score for me. These days, it’s sort of what I expect of myself.”

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Gary Stal Stars.

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Gary Stal stars in the  Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship overturning an eight shot deficit to claim his  maiden European Tour victory.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

Gary Stal / Getty Images

Gary carded a final round -7 under par 65 to claim the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship with a -19 under par total, on a crazy last day in Abu Dhabi.

Rory McIlroy finished in second place, as he had predicted, scoring a last round -6 under par 66 for a -18 under par total. He almost holed out from the sand on the 18th, which would have forced a play-off, but had to settled for second.

Starting the day with a six shot lead Martin Kaymer crashed with a last round of +3 over par 75, to finish in third place at -17 under par.

Gary whose final-day comeback equaled the largest in the 2014 Race to Dubai gave his opinion on the strange events of the day;

“It’s really crazy and I’m very happy to win this tournament. This morning, I was thinking about second place, I didn’t think about first place.”

“My dad and my mother, they made it possible to be a good golfer, and I just applicate my sport every day.”

“I thought about all the people that were looking at me. I thought about my mother, Christine, who died in May while I was playing Wentworth, she passed away while I was playing, and I thought about her a lot, obviously.”

“When I saw my name on the leaderboard, I started thinking, well, don’t get excited, but I’m very happy obviously. It’s an incredible feeling.”

“For the four days, my attitude has stayed the same. I’ve told myself at the beginning of the tournament that I wouldn’t get upset, and it paid off. I thought if I could putt well, if I could play shot by shot, it would pay dividends. Therefore, I just kept the same way, the same attitude.”

Rory, who struggled with the putter in his third round 73 got his caddie to read the putts for him today, and things then improved;

“Once I started getting JP to read putts, it was a lot better.” 

“I started off pretty slowly again and then we just sort of figured out we would try and read them together, and it helped.” 

“It was nice to finally get it going, but just that little stretch yesterday and then early on today sort of cost me the tournament.” 

Martin was totally bemused, but put the blame mainly on poor putting;

“I don’t really know how to put it into words, it was very, very surprising today.” 

“I started off well and hit a couple bad tee shots and cost me double-bogey and a triple-bogey.

“Twice I missed the grass and I was in a bush, I had to drop it in the sand. I missed a lot of putts today, and therefore, was very difficult for me to make birdies.”

“The positive is I was playing really good golf. That was nice after such a long break, when you play the first three days, I played so solid, missed barely a fairway.”

“And today was a little bit different, but there’s still a lot of positive, and that’s tough to say after that round.”