Jack Nicklaus told Rory McIlroy ‘we have to sit down and talk someday’ after the world No. 3 made seven bogeys in a horrific 75 that saw him drop from first to seventh at the Memorial Tournament yesterday.
Nicklaus, the 18-time major winner promoting the $20 million tournament in Muirfield Village, Ohio, shakes hands with all the players behind the 18th green. But never before had he been so sharp when making the mandatory as he was with McIlroy.
In his pre-tournament press conference, Nicklaus lamented McIlroy’s propensity to follow a series of small numbers with ruinous holes, but it was more of a steady and relentless drip as he made three bogeys in four holes from the fifth, then three in a row. starting on the 12. McIlroy also bogeyed on the 17 before Nicklaus made his kind offer.
The problem was that the exchange was captured live on TV and is probably the last thing McIlroy needs – in any season. After missing the cut at the Masters, McIlroy blamed himself for a $3million penalty for skipping the following week and later came back claiming it was for his “sanity”.
McIlroy produced an in-fight tie for seventh place and although he was in contention at the Memorial, another top 10 finish should probably be seen as a positive given his technical issues.
He is defending his Canadian Open title this week before the US Open. McIlroy has a lot to deal with, although he remains positive.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” he said. “I feel a little better about everything compared to where I was a few weeks ago at Oak Hill. Obviously not the result I wanted today, but I feel like there were a few more positives than a few weeks ago.
Viktor Hovland finally received the legendary handshake with Nicklaus after the Norwegian beat American Denny McCarthy in a play-off.
The Norwegian’s victory was great news for Ryder Cup Europe captain Luke Donald. Hovlad are established in the world’s top 10 and will play an important role in the blue and gold challenge to rob the United States of their first away Ryder Cup victory in 30 years. McIlroy might not have won, but his hometown of Holywood (population 12,000) could still celebrate because of Tom McKibbin’s win.
The 20-year-old has long been referred to as McIlroy’s big Holywood sequel and his two-stroke win at the Porsche European Open added substance to all the hype by becoming the youngest Irish Tour winner since McIlroy in Dubai in 2009. .
And McKibbin’s shot to the 18th green of the Green Eagle course in Hamburg would grace McIlroy’s highlights reel. “I watched every shot this morning – I was really happy for him,” McIlroy said. “For a 20-year-old, he’s shown so much composure. We all know from home what potential he has, but I think breaking through and winning at this age shows there’s a bright future ahead. him. I’m so happy and so proud of him. I’ve known Tom since he was 10 years old and seeing his progress and seeing where he is today and getting his first win in Europe, it’s really cool.
McKibbin was a shot ahead playing the last par five and when he pushed his drive to leave his ball behind a tree, the obvious second shot was to chip. But McKibbin went for the green more than 200 yards above a water hazard, conjuring his ball within 15 feet and the resulting two putt saw him register a 70 to reach nine under , two strokes ahead of local favorites Marcel Siem and Max Kieffer, as well as Frenchman Julien Guerrier. “Rory has always been great, everything is so laid back with him,” McKibbin said.
“When we go to play, it’s just two guys going out and playing golf together. He’s given me advice over the years, but it’s advice for this time. “Listen, I heard the comparison [with Rory] since I was 9 or 10 so if anything, it’s kind of aged now. It’s always a compliment to be compared to Rory. I’ve been compared to him a lot since I was young and of course that’s a compliment. He’s so good, one of the greatest golfers of all time. “But that doesn’t change me. I probably thought it was so cool when I was younger, but now I’m just Tom and I’m gonna do my own thing.
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