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McIlroy: Aussie win was 'nice,' not necessary

McIlroy: Aussie win was 'nice,' not necessary


THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Rory McIlroy will tee it up here at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge on the heels of his first victory this year just a few days ago in Australia.

Despite bearing the brunt of criticism for most of the year, McIlroy maintained Wednesday that he believed he was on the verge of successful results.

“Obviously, it was nice to win and it was nice to get a win before the end of the season,” he said. “But I felt like my game the last couple of months has been on an upward trend and it's been improving all the time. It was nice that some of the hard work and the practice that I have put in came to fruition last week. It was nice the way I won as well, battling with Adam [Scott] down the stretch, I guess, in his home country and hanging in there and being able to just sort of tip him on the last.”

Northwestern Mutual World Challenge: Articles, videos and photos

Even though he hadn’t triumphed in over a year, McIlroy said he didn’t feel like finding the winner’s circle was an absolute necessity.

“Did I need the win? Probably not,” he answered. “Was it nice to get the win? Of course. But I felt like I saw enough good golf in there to know that it was very close, and it wasn't going to be long before I did win.

“What I was happy with the most was the limited amount of times that I have gotten in contention this year, I have played well. I have played well down the stretch. I've played well under pressure, and that is something that I really have improved on the last few years.”

Despite rounding into form, McIlroy isn’t sad about the year ending after this week.

“No, I need a break. I'm happy this is the last event of the year. It will be nice to have a few weeks off. As I said, this last part of the season was all about trying to build momentum going into 2014. I feel like for the most part I've done that. Couple of good finishes in Asia. I got a win in Australia. I'd love to get myself in the mix this week and finish the season off on a really high note and go into the off?season and into the 2014 in a really positive frame of mind.”

Drained McIlroy admits 'it's been a long year'

Drained McIlroy admits 'it's been a long year'




Only two tournaments remain on Rory McIlroy’s 2013 schedule.

And while, yes, he’s excited about the prospect of ending his winless streak either at this week’s Australian Open or next week’s Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, he’s also looking forward to seeing the calendar flip to 2014. 

And why not?

This was a year of transition – and controversy – for the former world No. 1. 

The equipment change. The walkoff. The struggles. The management change. The relationship rumors. 

“It’s been a long year,” he told reporters in Australia on Wednesday, “I guess mentally more than physically. Physically, golf doesn’t take that much out of you, but mentally it’s quite draining, especially this year for me.

“It’s not just the golf and being frustrated with my game, but having to answer the questions and having to come up with reasons why I’m not playing well and all that stuff.”

McIlroy, who is playing the Australian Open for the first time since 2006, begins his first round at 12:10 p.m. local time (8:10 p.m. ET Wednesday). He is playing alongside Geoff Ogilvy and Matt Jone

McIlroy, Oakley settle legal dispute over contract

McIlroy, Oakley settle legal dispute over contract


Rory McIlroy and Oakley announced Sunday that they have “amicably” settled their legal dispute over the former world No. 1’s alleged breach of contract.

Last December, Oakley took legal action against McIlroy for allegedly breaking a contract when he signed his mega-deal with Nike. According to the lawsuit, Oakley tried to use its “right of first refusal” to match the Nike offer, but McIlroy’s former agent, Conor Ridge, ignored the counteroffer.

On Sunday, however, both parties announced that the issue has been resolved. No terms of the deal were disclosed.

Said McIlroy: “I always had an excellent working relationship with Oakley’s representatives and I am delighted the case is now behind me.” 

Added Pat McIlvain, the vice president of Oakley Sports Marketing, on behalf of the company: “We are very pleased the proceedings against Rory have been resolved. We enjoyed an excellent relationship with Rory as an Oakley brand ambassador. He conducted all his engagements on our behalf with energy and professionalism. We recognize that, in his business dealings with us that were the subject matter of this dispute, Rory was represented by his agent.”

McIlroy shoots shaky 71 with Wozniacki in gallery

McIlroy shoots shaky 71 with Wozniacki in gallery




Though he faded somewhat after a hot start, Rory McIlroy sits five shots off the pace after a 1-under 71 to begin the DP World Tour Championship. Thursday's round for the Ulsterman, though, was also notable for who was walking alongside him in Dubai.

McIlroy opened with three birdies across his first five holes, but was unable to birdie any of the final 11 holes on a day when 36 players in the 60-man field shot par or better. After the round, McIlroy was blunt in his assessment of his performance.

"I turned a 67 into a 71," the 24-year-old told The Telegraph. "I felt I played much better than I scored. But there is a low one out there for me."

While McIlroy toiled at the Jumeirah Golf Estates, girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki made an appearance Thursday in his gallery, potentially putting to rest recent rumors of the couple's split. McIlroy has stated a desire to "keep my private life private," but he did comment on the tennis star joining him Thursday.

"It's good to have her here," he said. "She started her pre-season training a couple of days ago and was on the court at 7 a.m. practicing before coming to see me."

‘결별설’ 매킬로이-보즈니아키 공개 데이트
  • ‘결별설’ 매킬로이-보즈니아키 공개 데이트



  • 결별설이 돌았던 스포츠 스타 로리 매킬로이(북아일랜드)와 캐럴라인 보즈니아키(덴마크)가 아랍에미리트 두바이에서 열린 골프대회에 함께 모습을 드러냈다.

    매킬로이가 14일 개막한 유럽프로골프투어 월드투어 챔피언십에 출전하자 보즈니아키가 그를 응원하러 왔다고 영국 일간지 가디언이 15일 보도했다.

    골프스타 매킬로이와 테니스 스타 보즈니아키는 최근 결별설이 돌았다.

    하지만 지난 10월 보즈니아키가 여자프로테니스(WTA) 투어 룩셈부르크 오픈에서 우승하자 매킬로이가 트위터에 축하 인사 글을 올렸다.

    이어 보즈니아키가 매킬로이를 보기 위해 두바이를 찾으면서 최근 나왔던 결별설을 일축했다.

    매킬로이는 "보즈니아키가 와줘서 좋았다"면서도 경기 내용에 대해서는 "더 잘해야 한다"고 말했다.

    매킬로이는 1라운드에서 1언더파 71타를 쳐 공동 17위에 올랐다.
매킬로이 “법정 소송 탓 경기력에 악영향”
  • 매킬로이 “법정 소송 탓 경기력에 악영향”

  • 로리 매킬로이(북아일랜드)가 이번 시즌 법정 소송을 벌이느라 경기력에 좋지 않은 영향을 받았다고 말했다.

    14일부터 나흘간 아랍에미리트(UAE) 두바이에서 열리는 유럽프로골프투어 DP 월드투어 챔피언십(총상금 800만 달러)에 출전하는 매킬로이는 "올해 만난 변호사가 작년까지 내가 평생 만난 변호사의 수보다 더 많았다"고 한탄했다.

    매킬로이는 올해 글로벌 스포츠 브랜드 나이키와 후원 계약을 맺으면서 이전 후원사인 오클리로부터 고소를 당해 미국에서 소송을 벌이고 있다.

    또 최근에는 직접 매니지먼트 회사를 차리면서 이전 소속사인 호라이즌 스포츠 매니지먼트와 아일랜드에서 법정 공방을 벌이고 있다.

    지난 시즌 세계 랭킹 1위에 올랐던 매킬로이는 올해 한 차례도 우승하지 못했고 세계 랭킹은 6위까지 밀려났다.

    매킬로이는 "골프 선수라면 여러 잡념이 없어야 하는데 올해와 같은 상황은 다시 겪고 싶지 않다"고 덧붙였다.

    '골프 황제' 타이거 우즈(미국)로부터 경기 외적인 문제에 대처하는 방법에 대해 조언을 받았다고도 소개했다.

    매킬로이는 "우즈가 작년에 나에게 '노(no)'라고 할 수 있어야 한다고 말하더라"고 밝혔다.

    그러면서 "항상 나 자신을 먼저 생각하면서 어떤 말을 해야 할지를 생각해보면 99%가 '노(no)'라는 것이 우즈의 말"이라고 설명했다.

    대회를 앞두고 주위에서 쏟아지는 여러 가지 부탁이나 질문에 대해 좋고 싫음을 분명히 밝혀야 경기력에 영향을 덜 받게 된다는 의미로 풀이할 수 있다.

    DT 월드투어 챔피언십에서 2년 연속 우승에 도전하는 매킬로이는 올해 호주오픈과 우즈가 주최하는 비공식 대회인 월드챌린지 등 2개 대회에 더 출전할 예정이다.
McIlroy trailing after sluggish finish to Friday 72

McIlroy trailing after sluggish finish to Friday 72

  • By Will Gray
  • Nov 1, 2013 6:19 AM ET
Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy led the WGC-HSBC Champions by two shots after an opening-round 65, an advantage he increased to three shots through nine holes in Friday's second round.

Things changed quickly at Sheshan International Golf Club, though, as McIlroy's poor finish combined with Dustin Johnson's record-tying round suddenly left the Ulsterman five shots off the pace at the halfway mark.

The former world No. 1 started slowly Friday but appeared to jump-start his round with three consecutive birdies from Nos. 6-8, making the turn at 10 under. Those would prove to be his final birdies of the day, however, as bogeys at the 11th and 15th holes were followed by another on the par-5 18th. With an even-par 72 Friday, McIlroy was the only player among the top 22 names on the leaderboard who failed to break par during the second round.

WGC-HSBC Champions: Articles, videos and photos

"Obviously played nicely the front nine and then started to hit a lot of sloppy shots on the back," McIlroy told reporters following a round in which he failed to reach any of the final six greens in regulation. "I just hit a couple of bad shots and then I guess I let it affect me a little bit and then I started to doubt myself sometimes. I didn't hit a lot of quality shots on the back nine."

Still in search of his first win of 2013, McIlroy now shifts from tournament leader to a member of the chase pack. At 7-under 137, the 24-year-old is tied for second alongside AmericansBoo Weekley and Bubba Wason, with a six-player group just one shot further back, headlined by Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell and defending champion Ian Poulter. All of them are trailing Johnson, who tied the course record with an 9-under 63 Friday and at 12 under holds a five-shot lead through two rounds.

Despite his late-round struggles, McIlroy remains optimistic about his chances heading into the weekend.

"It would have been nice to play a bit better and start tomorrow with a few more shots in hand," he added. "But I guess I'm in decent position ... and still have a great chance at winning this tournament."

McIlroy makes eight birdies to lead WGC-HSBC

McIlroy makes eight birdies to lead WGC-HSBC

  • By Doug Ferguson
  • Oct 31, 2013 4:15 AM ET
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy had eight birdies and one bogey in his opening-round 65. (Getty Images)

SHANGHAI – Rory McIlroy found himself in a spot that must have seemed vaguely familiar Thursday in the HSBC Champions.

He was in the lead.

McIlroy looked more like a two-time major champion than someone who hasn't won all year. He rarely had any stress and opened with a 7-under 65, building a two-shot lead after one round of this World Golf Championship.

"It felt good to be out there and in control of my golf ball," McIlroy said. "If only one round, 18 holes. But it's definitely the way I wanted and needed to start."

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, coming off a win last week in the BMW Masters across town, and Jamie Donaldson each had 67. U.S. Open champion Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth, starting his second full season on the PGA Tour, were among those at 68.

WGC-HSBC Champions: Articles, videos and photos

British Open champion Phil Mickelson had a chance to join McIlroy in the lead until it all went wrong. One shot behind with two holes to play, Mickelson hit two wedges into the water fronting the par-5 eighth green and took a quadruple-bogey 9. His second wedge landed some 30 feet beyond the pin and had so much spin that it raced off the green and down the bank into the water.

He hit another shot into the water on No. 9, and followed that with a shot to 2 feet to escape with only a bogey. He fell back to a 71.

But this day ultimately was about McIlroy, who started the season at No. 1 in the world and fell into a slump that has lasted longer than usual. He started the week with his first win of the year – OK, it was an 18-hole exhibition against Tiger Woods – though he carried that form to Sheshan International.

"It's obviously different playing in an environment like that and coming out here trying to win this golf tournament, even though I did hold off Tiger Woods down the stretch," McIlroy said, laughing at the mock importance he placed on that exhibition.

It was the first time McIlroy held the outright lead after any round this year. He was part of a seven-way tie for the lead at the Wells Fargo Championship in early May. His only better score this year was a 64 in the third round of the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston, though conditions were soft that day.

"But this is probably better, just because it was a little trickier conditions," McIlroy said. "There was a bit of breeze, and you've got to play good golf to shoot 7 under around this place."

His lone bogey came on his second hole, No. 11, when his tee shot plugged into the face of the bunker. He holed a 6-foot par putt on the par-3 fourth hold to avoid a three-putt bogey, and that was one of his goals for the round.

His driving made him look like the McIlroy of old, though it has been solid since he returned from a four-week break in Korea two weeks ago. His short game carried him, especially during a stretch around the turn when he made four birdies in a five-hole stretch.

McIlroy hit a 3-wood just over the back of the par-4 16th hole and chipped to 3 feet for birdie. His 3-iron from light rough was about 20 yards short of the green on the par-5 18th, and he chipped to 5 feet for birdie. And on the par-5 second hole, another 3-iron from the rough left him 30 yards short, and he pitched that to 6 feet for birdie.

The other birdie during that stretch was on No. 1, his only tee shot off line. From the rough, his 9-iron from 160 yards covered the flag and settled about 7 feet away.

"It's just learning from each week and just trying to put the pieces together," McIlroy said. "A little bit of confidence from Monday, of course, but I think it was these two previous weeks just getting back into competitive play and learning what I needed to do to improve and sort of work on those things coming into this week."

Fernandez-Castano was impressive at Lake Malaren for his first win of the year, and he kept right on form. The Spaniard moved up to No. 4 in the Race to Dubai, with an $8.5 million purse, and he is still in the hunt to catch Henrik Stenson atop the money list.

The surprise might have been Spieth, the 20-year-old American who has been unwinding at home in Texas while buying a house and planning for a two-month break. This is his first trip to China, and he was struggling with jet lag earlier in the week after arriving Monday.

Spieth hit into the water – it didn't have a chance – on the par-3 17th and was 2 over, hopeful to get back to par by the end of the round. He birdied the next two holes and kept right on going.

"Felt right back at the end of last season the way I was swinging and putting," Spieth said. "It was really nice to get those feelings back. Just took a few holes to do it."

He charmed the Chinese along the way, especially when asked if he had any plans for Halloween as a young player.

"I guess ... do people dress up as Americans or anything?" he said. "Maybe American sports player?"

McIlroy: Rumors of split with Woz not true

McIlroy: Rumors of split with Woz not true

  • By Jason Sobel
  • Aug 25, 2013 10:19 PM ET

JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Rumors of Wozzilroy’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Rory McIlroy and tennis star Caroline Wozniacki have been dating since 2011, but a recent report in The Independent claimed they have broken up.

In response, McIlroy confirmed to GolfChannel.com that the report is untrue. In fact, he plans to see her this week prior to the start of the U.S. Open.

Early Sunday, McIlroy tweeted the following: “I'd love to know who this guy source is... Seems to pop up in the papers all the time and is wrong 99.9% of the time!”

Speculation ran rampant in recent days due largely to each of them removing a photo with the other from their Twitter avatars.

For a gallery of photos of McIlroy and Wozniacki, click here or on the photo below.

Rory McIlroy Caroline Wozniacki

McIlroy rallies from cut line into PGA contention


McIlroy rallies from cut line into PGA contention

  • By Rex Hoggard
  • Aug 9, 2013 2:03 PM ET
Rory McIlroy

PITTSFORD, N.Y. – For 11 holes on a rainy and gray morning at Oak Hill, Rory McIlroy was locked in a familiar battle against himself and time.

“Walking up the second hole, my 11th of the day, all I want to do is be here for the weekend. Now I’m right back in it,” said the world No. 3, who finished his round with four birdies over his last seven holes for a 71 and an even-par total.

Before McIlroy rallied with birdies from 6 feet at No. 3, 10 feet at No. 4, 35 feet at the seventh and 3 feet at the eighth, he was on the wrong side of the cut at 4 over after an opening nine of 39.

PGA Championship: Articles, videos and photos

It was the kind of gritty comeback that has eluded the Ulsterman this season.

“If this happened at the middle of this season I wouldn’t be standing here, I’d be headed home,” he said.

McIlroy was tied for 28th when he finished his round, seven strokes behind early leader Adam Scott.