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.
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.
Whatever degree of momentum the Americans had enjoyed after Friday morning’s dramatic foursomes sweep had long been exhausted when Lee Westwood and Danny Willett teed off Saturday’s fourball match against JB Holmes and Ryan Moore beneath a cloudless sky and baking Minnesota sun.
Golf is expected to retain its Olympic status despite the negative publicity that preceded its return to the Games for the first time in 112 years.
Regardless of whether or not Rory McIlroy defies general opinion – as, to be fair, he has made something of a habit – to appear at the Open, the story of this year’s tournament at St Andrews has already been altered.
If reaching No1 in the world represents an impressive enough achievement, the immediate endorsement of that status by way of victory in a high-profile event should afford an extra layer of adulation. In Jason Day’s case it most certainly will.
This Masters already serves as Rory McIlroy’s odd one out. For the first time since 2012, the Northern Irishman will arrive at Augusta National without an all-consuming narrative as baggage.
Billy Horschel was in no doubt.
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.