WEDNESDAY  | JULY 17, 2019
by Adam Schupak

From as early as the time he was chipping golf balls into a washing machine on TV as a 9-year-old prodigy from Holywood, Northern Ireland, Rory McIlroy has shouldered great expectations. But the stories of his abundance of talent and potential to be his country’s next great champion went next-level when, at age 16 in the stroke-play qualifying for the North of Ireland Championship, McIlroy blitzed Royal Portrush’s Dunluce Links in a course-record 11-under 61.

“A member of the golf club phoned me and told me, and I thought it was a joke,” Michael Bannon, McIlroy’s longtime instructor, told TheOpen.com recently. “No one can shoot 61 around Royal Portrush.”

 


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by John Hawkins

Meet Brooks Koepka. Part-time golfer, four-time major champion, big-time chameleon. The more we learn about the guy, the less we seem to know. Does he want more love and attention for all he’s accomplished over the past two years, or is that just a competitive ploy? When he’s leading the PGA by seven shots after 36 holes and CBS sends a camera guy out to shoot him arriving for his third round, why does Koepka shoo away his girlfriend without even giving her a peck on the cheek?

Jena Sims is her name. She showed up for ESPN’s annual awards show last week wearing a fishnet dress and no bra, then joked about it on Instagram, where you can find photos of her – guess what? – making out with her favorite golfer. Are we trying to turn heads here, or are we more intent on chopping them off? It’s as if Koepka turns into some superhero/serial killer at the game’s biggest tournaments, leaves with the trophy and a paycheck just south of $2 million, then hops into a phone booth and changes back into a college sophomore totally stoked for spring break.

 


Competitors need to earn spots in British Open
Alex Miceli bemoans the fact that young PGA Tour players Matthew Wolff, Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland will not appear in the British Open this week, even though Wolff has a tournament victory and Hovland is the reigning U.S. Amateur champion (“Some future stars won’t be seen at Open,” July 15).

Miceli notes that Wolff’s win at the 3M Open automatically qualifies him for the Masters and that Hovland lost his automatic exemption to the British Open when he turned professional. Yes, it would be nice to see them at Royal Portrush, but they need to earn it.

 


1st

The order of play for Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke, who will hit the opening tee shot in Thursday’s first round of the British Open at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. Clarke, the 2011 Open champion, will begin play at the first Open to be played in Northern Ireland since 1951.

 


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RADIO, TV AND PODCASTS

Hawk & Rude: Draft codgers
Veteran scribes John Hawkins and Jeff Rude size up the field for this week’s British Open by holding their first major-championship draft. Seven picks apiece, plus full analysis on what one might expect at Royal Portrush.


The Grill Room Golf Show
Co-hosts Bob Bubka and Jay Randolph Jr. interview Brian Keogh from the Irish Golf Desk for insight about this week's British Open at Royal Portrush.




FROM THE INDUSTRY

Four courses in Kauai, Hawaii, have been named to Golfweek magazine’s “Best Courses You Can Play” list for the state. Princeville Makai Golf Club ranked No. 4 in Hawaii, followed by No. 6 Poipu Bay Golf Course, No. 11 The Ocean Course at Hokuala and No. 14 Wailua Golf Course. Kauai and Maui, with four apiece, had the most courses listed among the Hawaiian islands.

 

Casa de Campo Resort & Villas is promoting stay-and-play packages through Dec. 19 at the resort in La Romana, Dominican Republic. Casa de Campo features three Pete Dye-designed courses, including Teeth of the Dog.

 

In addition to nearly 50 hours of live coverage this week from the British Open, NBC Sports plans to present nearly 70 hours of news programming, led by “Golf Central Live From The Open.” The coverage includes storytelling about the Open’s return to Royal Portrush and Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951.

 

The Kendrick B. Melrose Family Foundation donated $500,000 to the Environmental Institute for Golf, the philanthropic arm of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. The money will support First Green, which provides STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education at golf courses.

 

To celebrate the British Open this week in Northern Ireland, Garmany Golf is offering a discount on its Northern Ireland Golf Experience. For bookings made by July 31, a 10-percent discount is being offered on minimum seven-night stays for travel in the next 18 months.

 

Club member Connie Beal recently recorded her third hole-in-one at Talking Rock in Prescott, Ariz. Beal, a Talking Rock member since 2005, used a 7-wood to ace the 130-yard, par-3 third hole on April 24. It was her fourth lifetime ace.

 


CALENDAR
July 15-20
Boys junior: U.S. Junior Amateur

Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio

July 16-19
Women’s amateur: Pacific Northwest Women’s Amateur

Arrowhead GC, Molalla, Ore.

July 16-20
Women’s amateur: Women’s Western Amateur

Royal Melbourne CC, Long Grove, Ill.

July 17-20
Men’s amateur: Southern Amateur

Chenal CC, Little Rock, Ark.

LPGA: Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational

Midland (Mich.) CC

July 18-21
Korn Ferry: Pinnacle Bank Championship

Club at Indian Creek, Omaha, Neb.

PGA Tour: Barbasol Championship

Keene Trace GC, Nicholasville, Ky.

Symetra: Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic

Brook Lea CC, Rochester, N.Y.

PGA/Europe: British Open

Royal Portrush (Northern Ireland) GC


      
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