Rory McIlroy looking to tighten up driving ahead of Memorial

Different Strokes: Maguire heading for Vegas; word of mouth; by the numbers

Rory McIlroy plays his shot from the seventh tee during the third round of the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Resort’s Ocean Course. Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy plays his shot from the seventh tee during the third round of the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Resort’s Ocean Course. Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

 

Rory McIlroy’s driving is as long as it ever was, just not as straight. And the Northern Irishman – who will next reappear on tour for next week’s Memorial tournament at Jack’s place in Muirfield Village – is pondering a change in equipment in an effort to remedy his waywardness off the tee.

Although he won as recently as the Wells Fargo earlier this month, McIroy’s driving issues were exposed in the US PGA at Kiawah Island

“I just need to figure out a driver,” he admitted. “I just haven’t driven the ball as well as I know that I can for a long time. That’s where the foundation of my game (is), I guess, and once I’m driving it well, everything becomes so much easier. I just haven’t driven the ball like myself for a while, probably not since 2019, so I need to figure it out.”

McIlroy’s driving statistics on the PGA Tour so far this season back up that assessment. Although he is ranked number two in driving distance (averaging 319 yards), he is a distant 175th when it comes to driving accuracy where he has hit only 352 of 640 fairways in tournament play. The equates to a 55 per cent average, which is an ongoing concern for the player, especially with the US Open at Torrey Pines (and the USGA’s notoriously tight fairways) looming ever closer on the horizon.

Maguire heading for Vegas

Leona Maguire will aim to bounce back from a missed cut in the Pure Silk Championship when she tees it up in the inaugural Bank of Hope Matchplay Championship at Shadow Creek Country Club in Las Vegas, which has a Wednesday start.

The Co Cavan player earned her spot in the elite field - limited to 64 players, with 16 groups of four playing round robin for the opening three days before the group winners advance to knockout play over the weekend - which has a $1.5 million purse.

It is the first time since the Lorena Ochoa tournament in 2017 that a matchplay event will be held on the LPGA Tour.

Word of Mouth

“It would have been cool if I didn’t have a knee injury and got dinged a few times in the knee in that crowd . . . getting dinged a few times isn’t exactly my idea of fun. (I was) trying to protect my knee. I don’t think anybody really understands until actually you’re coming out of surgery. I mean, even when I was doing rehab and there’s five people kind of standing by your knee, you get a little skittish” - Brooks Koepka, who underwent knee surgery in March, wasn’t at all impressed at finding himself in the midst of the crowds on the 18th fairway at the US PGA finale.

By the Numbers

147: Taiwan’s Wei-Ling Hsu secured her breakthrough victory on the LPGA Tour when she held off Moriya Jutanugarn and Jessica Korda to claim the Pure Silk Championship in her 147th career start. “I think this is the happiest thing ever, how my caddie cried and somehow I just cried so hard the last hole,” said 26-year-old Hsu, who also earned an exemption into next week’s US Women’s Open with her maiden win.

On this day (25th May 1997)

David Frost slipped in under the radar to win the Colonial tournament, his 10th (and last) career win on the PGA Tour.

While Tiger Woods and David Ogrin were involved in a golfing duel in the last pairing, Frost - with a 25 footer for birdie on the 17th proving to be the defining act - posted a 67 for a 15-under-par total of 265 and waited on the clubhouse veranda with his young son Sean after signing his card to await his fate.

As it happened, nobody could catch the Springbok - who finished two shots clear of Brad Faxon and Ogrin with Woods a further shot adrift - and Frost claimed the $288,000 payday. “Of all the tournaments I’ve won, it’s probably been patience more than anything else,” said Frost.

Twitter Twaddle

Golf is insane. It’s just hitting me. The golf ball has no recollection of how old you are, and players can compete at any age. You just have to work and be willing to sacrifice things others aren’t. One day it’s great, the next it’s awful. What a sport I decided to play - Justin Thomas

Mind blowing Phil still used a legit blade putter…. zero technology in that thing. Us idiots worried about anchoring, MOI, alignment aids, toe-hang, etc… and he is using the equivalent of a persimmon wood on the greens! - tour player Keith Mitchell on Mickelson’s retro putter.

Truly inspirational to see @PhilMickelson do it again at 50 years of age. Congrats!!!!!!! - Tiger Woods being inspired by someone else…..

Hey @PhilMickelson congrats that was sick!! Let’s play a practice round at Augusta next year - Harry Higgs, after his tied-fourth finish in the PGA, his debut appearance in a Major, earned him an exemption to next year’s Masters.

Know the Rules

Q: What happens when Player A’s ball is accidentally stopped by Player B’s foot and the ball subsequently moves after Player B steps away?

A: Rule 11.1b/2 (What to do when ball moves after being accidentally deflected or stopped) covers such a scenario. If a ball comes to rest against a person or an outside influence after being accidentally deflected or stopped and the person or outside influence moves or is moved, the player must replace the ball (Rule 9.5), but neither the player nor the opponent gets a penalty.

In the Bag

Phil Mickelson, US PGA Championship winner

Driver - Callaway Epic Speed (6 degrees)

2-wood - TaylorMade “Original One” Mini Driver (11.5 degrees)

5-wood - Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (17 degrees)

Irons - Callaway X-Forged UT (4-5), Callaway Apex MB (6-PW)

Wedges - Callaway PM Grind Raw (52, 56 and 60 degrees)

Putter - Odyssey Phil Mickelson White Hot XG blade prototype

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