In any list of reasons for the present popularity and high financial standing of golf, the name, and the game, of Arnold Palmer are irresistibly linked.
The closing in of Dustin Johnson on the summit of golf’s world ranking may be the least of Jason Day’s worries.
Rory McIlroy delivered the most powerful Ryder Cup message to the United States yet with a dramatic success at the Tour Championship which also ensured the Northern Irishman claimed the $10m FedEx Cup prize. At the start of Ryder Cup week Europe are the side with momentum. With the purses added together, McIlroy departed Georgia $11.5m richer than when he arrived.
Eighteen months ago in the clubhouse at Bay Hill, venue for the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the adopted winter home of this golfing icon, Rory McIlroy was approached. “Rory; if you need anything this week, you just let me know.”
For all that the Ryder Cup involves two sides, it is difficult to deviate from the notion that the narrative of this, the 41st playing of the event, focuses mainly on one.
The identity of the man looking to halt a Dustin Johnson procession to the FedEx Cup and $10m prize is more fascinating than the fact a battle has ensued in the first place. Rory McIlroy’s third round of 66 at the Tour Championship, combined with an unforeseen late stumble by Johnson, has set up a thrilling finale on the outskirts of Atlanta.
No sooner had Davis Love III issued his strongest Ryder Cup war cry yet than Lee Westwood endorsed his status as Europe’s agent provocateur. If the event matches the preamble, there may be a need to stand back from the Hazeltine fireworks.
The first blow of the phoney war which always precedes a Ryder Cup has been landed by Lee Westwood, who has pointed towards the potentially “adverse” influence of Tiger Woods as a vice-captain of the USA.
The murmurings in relation to Paul Casey’s refusal to make himself eligible for the Ryder Cup could take the form of an epic storyline within days.
Critics of the Open’s move away from live BBC television coverage have been given impetus after the peak audience for the first day of the championship dropped by almost 80%.
Even when broken, don’t fix it.
Danny Willett has said his brother Peter’s pre-Ryder Cup criticism of American supporters was backed up by the behaviour of some supporters at Hazeltine.
It is difficult to deviate from the notion that Jordan Spieth has inflicted a fatal blow on golf’s alliance with the Olympic Games.
Ian Poulter, who has afforded himself symbolic Ryder Cup status, believes the United States have made a “smart” choice in selecting Tiger Woods as a vice-captain for next year’s event at Hazeltine.
On the opening day of the WGC Match Play Championship Rory McIlroy summoned the spirit of recovery which defines a champion.
Darren Clarke has revealed Jürgen Klopp will be among those he will approach for advice before the Ryder Cup battle with the United States at Hazeltine later this year.
La Fin. In France, the country where Zlatan Ibrahimovic has won so many hearts as he played out the past few years of his career in his own inimitable style at Paris Saint-Germain, a yellow curtain fell.
Frustration got the better of Rory McIlroy on moving day and by the end of it he had to find time to head over to the Nike truck by the driving range and get the head fixed back on to the fairway wood he crashed into the ground at the 16th causing the club-head to fly off.
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.