WGC Cadillac Championship. Rory Triumphs.

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Rory McIlroy came through to triumph in the WGC Cadillac Championship at TPC Harding Park in chilly San Francisco.

WGC Cadillac Championship

Rory & WGC Trophy / Getty Images

Rory defeated Gary Woodland in the final of the WGC Cadillac Championship by a margin of 4 & 2 in a tense match where neither of them brought their A game to the course.

Rory got up early to birdie the 22nd hole in his ongoing quarter-final match with Paul Casey, which put him in the semi’s against Jim Furyk. He came good again at the end sinking a 30ft Eagle putt to spoil Jim’s day, beating him 1up.

Rory is conscience of the presence of Jordan Spieth in the World rankings, and is pleased he is still out in front;

“It’s nice to have that healthy lead and I want to try to keep increasing it, but ultimately it’s about wins. If you win, it takes care of all that.”

“Once I got up on the match, I just tried to up the intensity a little bit and take advantage of that.”

“I feel like every time I get in these positions to win tournaments and close tournaments out and I do it, it adds to that ability to really knuckle down when I need to.”

“I think sometimes finals might not have the quality of some of the previous rounds, whether that’s to do with a little bit of fatigue kicking in or maybe just the occasion or whatever.”

“I felt like Gary and I didn’t get off to the best of starts. There was a bit of an ebb and flow in the match, but thankfully I was on the better side of it at the end.”

He can now go and celebrate his 26th birthday in some style on Monday.

Gary lamented having a bad day today against Rory, after he had dispatched Danny Willett 3 & 2 in his semi;

“You’ve got to get lucky in match play. If you have your bad round, you’ve got to hope the guy you’re playing with has a bad round, as well.”

“I was fortunate to get away with a bad round on Wednesday against Jimmy [Walker]. But when you’re playing the No. 1 player in the world, you can’t have a bad round.”

“I kept telling myself on the back nine, the last three or four matches he’s been down going into the last hole.”

“I was trying to fight to get back in the match, telling myself just give yourself chances, give yourself chances, finally a putt will go in.”

“I mean if there’s anybody that likes to front run, it’s him.”

“A lot of guys can flip the switch, but the switch doesn’t work all the time, his switch worked.”

“He flipped it. You could see he had a little more pep in his step, he was walking a little more quickly. You could tell.”

Danny Willett went on to win the consolation match against Jim Furyk to finish solo third. The FedExCup points gave him enough on the season to qualify for Special Temporary Membership for the 2014-15 season. If he  finishes in the top 125 in FedExCup points this season, he’ll earn a PGA TOUR card for 2015-16;

“Luckily we’ve just about covered that, which is nice; then we can kind of build in a schedule.”

 

WGC Cadillac Championship. D.J. Wins

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D.J, Dustin Johnson won the WGC Cadillac Championship, his first win since his self-imposed lay-off.

WGC Cadillac Championship

D.J. and Trophy / Getty Images

 D.J. shot a final round -3 under par 69, to lift the WGC Cadillac Championship with a -9 under par total. He was very happy with the win, especially after the long lay-off he had;

“Obviously it’s one of my biggest wins, and especially after a long layoff, to come back out and win in my fifth start means a lot.”

“I knew I was really good, I knew there was something I was missing that could make me great. I was working hard on that, and I think it’s showing right now. It’s tough. I’m so excited right now, I can’t hardly talk. It feels great.”

“I really wasn’t paying much attention, I knew Bubba was playing well. I knew where I was, I was playing pretty well. This golf course is so tough, you never know what’s going to happen.”

“I’ve been working hard on my game and been working hard on me, and so it means a great deal to have some success right out of the gate. It gives me a lot of confidence, too.”

“I would drink and drink to access,’ the change I made is I just don’t do that anymore. I definitely have given up hard liquor ’cause that was the thing that I went to, it’s been a big change.”

“I enjoyed it, I got to spend a lot of time with Paulina and help her as much as I could through her pregnancy, and then the birth of our son. I really enjoyed being able to be home and not having to leave or do anything. So it was actually really nice.”

“The effort and time I’ve been putting in at the gym has helped a lot physically and mentally, and then the time I’m putting in on my golf game, and then obviously my personal life, I think that’s been the difference.”

“I was in the gym every single day, every morning, and then spend the rest of the time either practicing or hanging out with Paulina.”

J.B. sadly finished in second place at -8 under par, following his last round +3 over par 75. A long way from the man who was at -11 under par for the first round, par golf from then on would have won him this tournament;

“It was going to take one of those type of deals, couple guys were going to have to play great and I was going to have to have an off day,”

“I knew if I shot 72, that would probably be good enough. That’s kind of what I was going to, to be honest with you, I thought probably 2 or 3 over would have been enough.”

Bubba Watson finished in third spot, at -7 under par, he was the man on fire early on, and looked like he would run away with it, but a couple of missed shots made all the difference, on a course that he does not like;

”A couple of shots, just missed the fairway by a few feet. Missed the green by a few feet. That’s what this golf course does.”

”If you’re just off, it can get to you real fast.”

Rory finished T9, at -1 under par, after another even par round of 72. He said his head and his golf game got lost in the desert;

‘I think we left our game in the desert, it’s still back there.”

“Just playing quite conservatively which is very much unlike me.”

“The game’s just not quite there, I’m tentative, a little bit scared to play certain shots, because I feel like I can’t at the minute.”

“I have just got to get back at it tomorrow and try to figure out what I need to do.”

WGC Cadillac Championship. J.B. Holmes Tames the Blue Monster.

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J.B. Holmes tames the Blue Monster, shooting 62 in the first round of the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral.

WGC Cadillac Championship

J.B. Holmes / Getty Images

J.B. leads the WGC Cadillac Championship by four shots after he carded a first round -10 under par 62, on the infamous Blue Monster lay-out. J.B. scored a tap-in eagle to go along with eight birdies and no bogey’s in a perfect opening gambit;

“I hit a lot of good shots today, and pretty much on every hole I put the ball below the hole where I had a chance to make a putt.”

“It’s tough to make some putts, and if you can get below the hole, you have a better chance. Even if it’s 25 feet, you have a better chance of making that than a ten or 15 footer downhill.” 

“I was able to hit the shots where I envisioned and hit good shots, and today the putter was on, put that combination together, you do everything pretty good, and you’re going to shoot a good score.”

“It’s just a tough golf course, so if I go out and shoot even or one under tomorrow, that would be a good round. It’s hard to back these days up, so I’ll just try to go out there with no expectations tomorrow and play.”

Ryan Moore is in second place on his own at -6 under par following his good round of 66 he was keeping the pressure on the leader, with birdies on eight of his first 12 holes, but recorded a painful double bogey at the notoriously testing 18th. after his tee shot found the water down the left hand side.

There are three players tied in third position at -4 under par, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Alexander Levy.

Alexander was  making his tournament debut and started well, he birdied the long par five first hole and went one better with an eagle on the par five eighth;

“It was a very good round.”

“In very tough conditions I played really good golf. I hit some good shots in good positions; that was the key today.”

Rory McIlroy is still suffering his golfing woes, a +1 over par 73, he still hasn’t broken par in his three rounds in America this year, and lamented his bad start today, but his practice is going OK;

“Just another day where I didn’t get off to the greatest of starts.”

“It is very good on the range and it is very good in normal play and I’m not playing a tournament.”

“Then I’ve got a card in my hand the last couple weeks and it just hasn’t quite been there.”

“After the turn, I was sort of like, there’s not much else to lose, go ahead and try and be aggressive.”

“That’s the frustrating thing. I feel like there’s stretches of holes like on that front nine where three birdies and an eagle in the space of five holes; I know that it’s in there.”

“It’s just all the other stuff, and then I was a little wasteful around the greens.”

Rory Regrets Folly about Wisdom Teeth.

Rory McIlroy regrets walking off the course at the Honda Classic, and lying to all and sundry about the reason for his sudden withdrawal, initially saying his game was in a dark place. Then his management company came up with the novel idea that Rory had sudden toothache, it just had to be his wisdom tooth, such irony.

Rory McIlroy grabs his nose. I thought it was your tooth! (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

The Worlds Number One ranked golfer, Rory McIlroy had to eat humble pie, with no sign of teething problems, when he fronted up to the media to announce the truth behind his Honda Classic withdrawal.

” I realized pretty quickly that it wasn’t the right thing to do,’ no matter how bad I was playing, I should have stayed out there. I should have tried to shoot the best score possible even though it probably wasn’t going to be good enough to make the cut. At that point in time, I was just all over the place, I saw red, it was a mistake and everyone makes mistakes and I’m learning from them. Some people have the pleasure of making mistakes in private, most of my mistakes are in the public eye. I actually think in the long run, Friday will be a blessing in disguise, it was like it just sort of released a valve and all that sort of pressure that I’ve been putting on myself just went away. And I was like, just go out and have fun. It’s not life or death out there. It’s only a game. I had sort of forgotten that this year. I’ve learned from it and as I said, it won’t happen again.”

A contrite Rory spoke for 25 minutes,  with two of his agents from Horizon Sports, Colin Morrissey and Sean O’Flaherty in close attendance, along with Nike representatives and his coach Michael Bannon. Rory said he will have to learn to tough it out;

“I learned that when the tough gets going, I’ve got to stick in there a bit more and I’ve got to grind it out. There’s no excuse for quitting and it doesn’t set a good example for the kids watching me, trying to emulate what I do. It wasn’t good for a whole lot of reasons, for the tournaments, the people coming out watching me. I feel like I let a lot of people down and I am very sorry. Me and all you guys are hopefully going to have a working relationship for the next 20 years, so I don’t want to jeopardize that by being closed. I feel like I’ve always been open and honest and given you guys all my thoughts. I don’t want there to be friction, it’s not like I want it to be a strained relationship because it’s going to be a long one, I hope.”

Ernie Els,  a four-time Major winner, who is also playing in this week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral’s Blue Monster said he regretted not stopping Rory from walking off.

It was obviously a heat of the moment thing, he is who he is. You’ve got to respect what the individual at that moment is like, and he wanted to get off. And we obviously heard that he had his wisdom tooth was bothering him, and if that was the reason, that was that. I would have been out of my depth at that stage to say something to him if something was bothering him. So I didn’t, but I thought I should have.”

Ernie and Mark Wilson were the three-some on the ill-fated round, Ernie went on to say when he was young he had done some silly things, and his experience in the game could have helped out Rory;

“That’s why I thought I needed to say something. Listen, I was also 23; I’m 43 now. I look back, I did a lot of silly things and what he’s done is nothing compared to what I did; speak to my parents. But when it comes to being where he’s at, you’ve got to maybe think a little bit more than two minutes. In a couple of years’ time, he won’t even think about this or talk about this. If he wins this week, it will be the last thing we talk about, it will be history and that’s what it should be. It’s something that’s happened and we should move on from that. He’s a great kid, he’s a great player and if he admits he’s made a mistake, then that’s that and let’s move on.”

 

 

 

The Honda Classic. Michael Thompson Comes Up Trumps.

A bear of a win

Michael Thompson / Franklin / Getty Images

Michael Thompson came up trumps in The Honda Classic at PGA National Champion Course, Palm Beach Florida. Young gun Michael cruised to a two shot win over the more experienced Geoff Ogilvy, with a last round of -1 under par and a tournament total of -9 under par. The win gets Michael into his first World Golf Championship next week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump Doral, and qualifies for two more WGCs this year at the Bridgestone Invitational and at the HSBC Champions. He is also now  in the PGA Championship, gets to start next year in Hawaii and earned a two-year exemption on the PGA TOUR.

Michael said in interview that the whole week had been magical, something he had been dreaming about for a long time;

“This week was magical, just had a groove and kept feeling it. This is everything, this is a childhood dream come true. I’ve dreamed of playing out here since I was 7 years old and to win, it’s just unbelievable. I just can’t put it into words, the whole day was awesome.”

He particularly enjoyed walking up the eighteenth fairway after his second shot on the par five landed in the greenside bunker, giving him the opportunity of an up and down birdie, and he did just that;

“That for me kind of sealed the deal, it allowed me to walk up the fairway and enjoy the experience, see the crowd and just finish strong.”

Geoff Ogilvy will also be at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump Doral, thanks to putting together four good rounds of golf, for his total of  -7 under par.

Geoff admitted that he had already given himself next week off;

“I kind of penciled in a week off, so it’s nice, and it gets me back in the mix for the Masters.”

Geoff was also full of admiration for Michael, and the way he played this golf course;

You don’t have to do much wrong to be making a bogey out there, so it’s pretty impressive, it’s a great effort really. As you see by the rest of the scores, it’s a very hard golf course and it seems to get progressively harder in some ways. There’s a disaster waiting everywhere. There’s a lot of golf courses on tour that it might be easy to close out a golf tournament, or easier, but this is not one of them.”

Luke Guthrie, Michael’s sparring partner at the top of the leaderboard for most of this event fell back during the last round, carding a miserable +3 over par 73, and a tournament total of -5 under par, but it still left him alone in third place.

 

Justin Rose Wins Cadillac Championship @ Doral

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Everything has come up roses for Rosy as Justin wins the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral. He won by one shot from Bubba Watson, who had an erratic round of 2 over par 74, compared to Justin’s -2 under par 70. In his post round interview Justin was pretty pleased with his early season win;

“It really is a great day. It’s been a great week. It’s been a great two weeks to be honest with you. I’ve been very focused on just sort of seeing this whole Florida Swing as like a body of work and not really trying to put too much focus on any individual tournament. And I kind of knew I was playing well and if I just kept out of my own way for the most part and kept thinking well and doing the right things, I had a feeling something good might happen in these four weeks and I’m kind of including the next two weeks, as well. For this little beauty to show up on my mantle piece so early in the season, definitely a fantastic feeling, and you know, it sets up a very exciting year.”

Bubba Watson said he had given it his best shot, he and his caddy had just misread the last putt on the 18th green, the break being more than they had anticipated;

“Today I felt really good waking up. I felt no meshes. I was ready to go. Pulled my first tee shot, still made birdie, almost made eagle and then pulled the next shot off the tee and sliced the next one. The ball position was a little off: I was a little too close to it, too far from it. Takes a few holes to figure it out and then I had some chances on the back nine. I really fought hard and had some chances on the back nine and just didn’t make some putts. But then on 18, I had 191 out of the rough, no grass behind the ball so I could make solid contact with it and hit a pure 4 iron, a low bullet 4 iron and just misread the putt. We just didn’t give enough. We thought it was not going to break as much and it broke about three inches too much.”g

Rory McIlroy finished in third spot, after a good round of – 5 under for a last round total of 67, two shots off the lead. He recalled how tough 18 was today;

“Yeah, you know, 18 today was playing brutal, probably the toughest it’s played all week. I hit a really good second shot through the trees. It just jumped on me a little bit and ran through the back of the green and drew a pretty bad lie there. Especially with water on the other side of the pin, I didn’t want to be too ambitious.”

Luke Donald finished at -12 for the tournament, another trademark top ten finish for the consistent ex world #1.

Tiger Woods had to withdraw from the tournament after hitting his tee shot on the 12th tee, he said;

“I felt tightness in my left Achilles warming up this morning, and it continued to get progressively worse. After hitting my tee shot at 12,              I decided it was necessary to withdraw. In the past, I may have tried to continue to play, but this time, I decided to do what I thought was necessary.”

Apparently this is the same Achilles tendon Tiger injured about a year ago at the Masters. That injury forced Woods to miss three months of golf, including two majors. Tiger changed his shoes at the turn, but his limp became more obvious concluding with his withdrawal at 12.

Bubba Watson still Leading @ Doral, after three rounds

One-a-dayEHRMANN/GETTY IMAGE

Bubba Watson had a third day of solid play at TPC Blue Monster and will take a three-shot edge into Sunday’s final round, joining him on the tee for the final paring will be Keegan Bradley. Bubba had a -5 67 for -17 under par total, and Keegan shot a -6 66 for his total of -14. Also on -14 after a third round of 69 is Justin Rose. Rosy three putted the last green to miss the opportunity of playing a fourth straight day with Bubba.

Best round of the day was from Rory McIlroy firing in a -7 for 65, but at -9 under par for the tournament he would be seemingly out of contention tomorrow. Joining him at -9 is Tiger Woods and Luke Donald, who are also playing for the minor placings, unless of course they can all produce a round of 62, even in that unlikely event I expect the leaders to improve on their overnight scores.

Even further adrift are Lee Westwood, who had a better round today, -4 for a total of -5, and Phil Mickelson who had another miserable day managing -1 and a tournament total of -2.