Sympathy for Keith Pelley was in short supply last week. No sooner had the European Tour’s chief executive praised strong communication with players with regards to safety at the Turkish Airlines Open than one of the group contradicted him.
For a brief Sunday afternoon spell, Thorbjorn Olesen must have contemplated a horror scenario. The seven-shot lead as held by the Dane before the final round of the Turkish Airlines Open had been whittled down to one by the marauding David Horsey. One of the great golfing capitulations of our time was very much on the cards.
Thorbjorn Olesen’s grip on the Turkish Airlines Open is now so tight he would enter golfing legend for all the wrong reasons should he not win.
Out of non-appearance comes opportunity and scope for a fairytale. It was lost in the buildup to the Turkish Airlines Open that Rory McIlroy, Patrick Reed, Martin Kaymer and others’ refusal to participate opened the door for less decorated professionals to earn a life-changing sum. First prize here is £950,000.
Europe’s tormentor in chief may well be afforded special salvation from the same continent. Patrick Reed’s leading role in the USA’s Ryder Cup success at Hazeltine has apparently enhanced the desire of Keith Pelley, the European Tour’s chief executive, to keep the 26-year-old as part of his business equation.
Golfers tend to look upon world rankings as a consequence of success rather than a key incentive. Still, some figures leap out; Luke Donald a lowly 77th, Hideki Matsuyama at a career high of No6 and, suddenly, Jordan Spieth shuffled down to No5.
Danny Willett’s 2016 will forever be defined by the donning of the Green Jacket.
Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his long-awaited comeback to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas next month.
Padraig Harrington has drawn upon a bleak period in Northern Ireland’s history to play down concerns over the staging of the Turkish Airlines Open this week.
No sooner had Hideki Matsuyama made history in Shanghai than scrutiny intensified as to what, in Turkey, the golfing world may encounter next. For Matsuyama, the 24-year-old from Japan, a three-week run has returned $2.7m and will ensure he is ranked sixth in the world.
Just as the dominant presence of Tiger Woods was impossible to foresee during his teenage years, so it would have taken an astonishing level of prescience to pinpoint his status when turning 40.
The incessant jerking and twitching produced by Danny Willett as part of his pre-shot routine would ordinarily leave an impression of weakness under pressure. How the Englishman comprehensively swatted aside any such notion with this, the biggest win of his professional career at the Dubai Desert Classic. The rapid rise of Willett shows no sign whatsoever of slowing in pace.
Tiger Woods’s agent has rubbished suggestions that the former world No1 has such bad back pain that he has trouble sitting down and climbing stairs.
If the absence of Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood from the first WGC event of the year counts as a surprise, Matt Fitzpatrick’s arrival on the outskirts of Miami points towards the prominence of a fresh English generation. Or, perhaps, further evidence of a changing of the guard.
A continuing quest for golfing perfection has led to Jason Day calling the stricken Tiger Woods for advice and to Rory McIlroy changing his putting grip. It was obvious in Miami on Wednesday that McIlroy is far more interested in curing woes on the greens than worrying about the outcome of the US presidential election.
Rory McIlroy returns to the US Open with a tale of three majors. His Open Championship victory at Royal Liverpool last July is pertinent in respect of Chambers Bay, given it endorsed an ability to win on a links venue.
Some major championships are slow burners. The first one of the year, it is claimed, fully gets under way on Sunday’s back nine.
Rory McIlroy’s last shot in an Open Championship was his winning putt at Hoylake in 2014.
Darren Clarke believes Thomas Pieters is a future world No1 with a talent comparable to Tiger Woods after confirming the Belgian will make his Ryder Cup debut for Europe at Hazeltine next month.
For eight holes the fairytale was alive.
Rory McIlroy is experienced enough to recognise the territory. He has also developed a useful capacity to ignore what he regards as unnecessary, if incessant, commentary.
The PGA of America may be on a collision course over plans to move the US PGA Championship permanently. It is understood moves are afoot to switch the major to the final week in May, which would conflict directly with one of the European Tour’s key events, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.