Tour Notebook: Rory, Reid and Romero punches the lights out
The teasing is over – Rory’s playing in the PGA
The boy wonder Rory McIlroy will return this week to defend his PGA title after missing just a month out with a ‘total rupture’ of ankle ligaments while playing football.
McIlroy missed his Open Championship defence at St Andrews and was also expected to be forced out of a return to Whistling Straits. But he will tee it up, and still as the World No 1.
Throughout last week the Northern Irishman hinted through his Twitter and Instagram accounts that he was on the verge of a return – first a video of a work-out, then pictures of a bruised ankle, then a video of him hitting the driver before, finally, the inside of a plane with emojis of an American flag, a thumbs up and a golf flag – and he confirmed his place in the field when he retweeted the PGA of America’s tee time which will see him line up with Jordan Spieth and Zach Johnson, the Major winners from 2015. The trio have won the game’s last five Majors.
The last time McIlroy was at Whistling Straits, he tied for third at the 2010 PGA, one stroke out of the play-off which was won by Martin Kaymer.
Reid plays her way on to Solheim Cup team
The first stage of Europe’s Solheim Cup qualifying campaign is over with Mel Reid playing her way on to the team with her tie for fifth in the Czech Republic.
Reid has endured a horrible few years, losing her mum, Joy, in 2012 after she was involved in a car crash at a tournament in Germany. The 27-year-old’s appetite and form dropped off but, in the past year, has rededicated her efforts, with a lot of help from coach Kevin Craggs, and she then won in Turkey in May.
She came into the Tipsport Golf Masters needing to finish in the top eight to leapfrog Anna Nordqvist and, despite a bogey at the 18th, posted a 69 to make it. For Nordqvist she will make it through the world rankings but it does free up a captain’s pick for Carin Koch who would likely have picked Reid.
Koch said afterwards: “Mel knew what she had to do and she went out and did it. It’s a lot of pressure, knowing that you have to perform and it’s one of the toughest things in golf. It’s great to have four strong and experienced players that have already qualified.”
Suzann Pettersen, Gwladys Nocera and Charley Hull are the others to have already guaranteed themselves a place on the team. That will be finalised on August 25.
Romero punched a sign on the 15th tee and injured his hand. Unable to tee off he took out his putter on the last four holes, made contact with the ball and picked it up. Romero lands costly punch
This is one of the more bizarre stories of the year. Andres Romero, you’ll remember him from nearly winning the Open at Carnoustie in 2007, was playing in the Barracuda Championship on the PGA Tour when he bogeyed the 13th and 14th holes.
He then punched a sign on the 15th tee and injured his hand. Unable to tee off he took out his putter on the last four holes, made contact with the ball and picked it up.
Lucky for the Argentinean the format was a modified Stableford so the worst he could do, which he successfully managed, was to record a double bogey and lose three points.
He then withdrew.
LPGA founder Louise Suggs dies
The world of the LPGA Tour is a very different place to the world where Louise Suggs displayed her notable skills in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.
One of the LPGA’s original 13 founders Suggs helped create the Tour in 1950 and was one of the six inaugural inductees into the LPGA Hall of Fame. She later joined the World Golf Hall of Fame along with Patty Berg, Babe Zaharias and Betty Jameson. The Rookie of the Year is now named after her and, earlier this year, she was one of the first seven women the Royal & Ancient Golf Club admitted as members.
She died on Friday aged 91.
Suggs won the US Women’s Open in 1949 by 14 shots, the margin of victory remains a record and was one of 11 Major victories. By the time she had retired she had 61 wins to her name, the fourth highest amount of victories behind Kathy Whitworth (88), Mickey Wright (82) and Annika Sorenstam (72).
Her bitter rivals were Zaharias and Berg and, when asked whether they got together to decide who was going to win that week, she said: “Have you ever seen three cats fight over a plate of fish?”
But they teamed up to build the LPGA; marketing and running tournaments and doing everything themselves like marking hazards and keeping the scores. To drum up support they would put on clinics at local minor league baseball games as well as local civic meetings.
“The girls on tour now, they don’t have any idea how hard it was,” she once said.