Devil Ball Golf
  • A day after finishing runner-up at the BMW SA Open in South Africa, world No. 2 Rory McIlroy withdrew from this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in the United Arab Emirates, citing a rib injury.

    “It’s bitterly disappointing to have to withdraw from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship,” McIlroy said in a statement released by the European Tour. “I think everyone knows how much I love playing this tournament, which is one of the best on the European Tour.

    “To be forced to miss this week through injury is really quite annoying to be perfectly honest, but I am sure the tournament will be a huge success and I hope everyone involved has a great week. In situations like this you simply have to listen to the experts, and the team I have consulted have all advised me to rest until my rib has fully recovered.”

    McIlroy injured his rib earlier in the week. (Getty Images)
    McIlroy injured his rib earlier in the week. (Getty Images)

    McIlroy first experienced a tweaking pain on Friday in Johannesburg, suggesting that there

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  • Phil Mickelson has been rarely hampered by injury in his career. (Getty Images)
    Phil Mickelson has been rarely hampered by injury in his career. (Getty Images)

    Phil Mickelson is in his first year at the ambassador — basically, the host — of the CareerBuilder Challenge, scheduled to start on Thursday. However, a pair of off-season sports hernia surgeries have his place in the field in doubt.

    At the Friday deadline to commit to the event, Mickelson’s name remained on the field list, suggesting the five-time major winner isn’t ready to abandon plans to play.

    Then on Saturday, a Mickelson spokesman told Golf Channel that the left-hander is “hopeful” to compete in the event in the California desert.

    Mickelson last played on the PGA Tour in October at the season-opening Safeway Open in Napa, Calif. Then he underwent the first of his two sports hernia surgeries, followed by another in December.

    If Mickelson is unable to play at the CareerBuilder, he’s committed to play in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, just outside of San Diego, the following week.


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  • McIlroy injured his back earlier in the week. (Getty Images)
    McIlroy injured his back earlier in the week. (Getty Images)

    Rory McIlroy finished the playoff runner-up on Sunday at the BMW SA Open, but he was frankly fortunate to finish the tournament at all.

    McIlroy suffered a back injury before his second round on Friday in Johannesburg, South Africa, and it led to an up-and-down round that included eight consecutive one-putt greens. The world No. 2 had considered withdrawing before the round, but he played through the pain and got through 75 holes of competition before losing to winner Graeme Storm on the third playoff hole.

    Ahead of his planned start at this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, McIlroy will have an MRI on Monday.

    “I am going for a scan tomorrow,” McIlroy said. “I fly to Dubai tonight and then will go for an MRI tomorrow just to see what’s up with this joint in my back. It was manageable this week with tape and a few pills, so I am fine, but first and foremost I have to get fully fit and healthy again and hopefully I’ll be all

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  • Graeme Storm is a winner on the European Tour again. (Getty Images)
    Graeme Storm is a winner on the European Tour again. (Getty Images)

    It seemed as though Graeme Storm had lost his European Tour card last season by the slimmest of margins, missing out on finishing inside the top 111 in the Race to Dubai in order to maintain status. The ramifications on his career would be huge.

    Then, Patrick Reed, who has European Tour membership, decided not to play in the Turkish Airlines Open, leaving him short of the five European Tour-specific events required to be a member. All of a sudden, Storm had a reprieve, given his card back by sliding into the top 111.

    Storm took full advantage of his career revival on Sunday, holding off Rory McIlroy on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff to win the BMW SA Open in South Africa.

    Both Storm and McIlroy finished regulation at 18-under 270 at Glendower Golf Club, and they each made par 4s on the 18th hole during each of the first two holes of the playoff. Then McIlroy missed the green the third time around, unable to

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  • New PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is keeping an open mind to all kinds of new opportunities and avenues now that he is at the helm — including not shutting the door on an embrace of legalized sports betting.

    “You look at [daily fantasy sports providers] DraftKings and Fan Duel, you look at gaming in the international markets, there’s a lot of opportunity there,” Monahan said in a Tuesday interview with Golf Channel. “There’s some complexity, and that complexity has held us back from moving forward. But we will look at it and have an open mind toward it.”

    Sports betting is only legal in a few American states, including full sports betting in Nevada. However, through online off-shore sportsbooks and local bookmakers, Americans are estimated to wager in the hundreds of billions on sports each year. Overseas, particularly in Europe, sports betting is legal and in the open, with books sponsoring sports teams and leagues.

    New PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is diving into his new role head first (Getty Images)
    New PGA Tour commissioner
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  • Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike is looking to help run a flawless 2020 Olympic Games. (Getty Images)
    Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike is looking to help run a flawless 2020 Olympic Games. (Getty Images)

    Yet again, golf faces a conflict over a high-profile club and its membership practices.

    Kasumigaseki Country Club will host the men’s and women’s Olympic golf tournaments during the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The problem is that the club doesn’t admit women as full members. It’s a practice Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike would like to see changed. She has asked the club personally to admit female members.

    “I feel very uncomfortable about women not being able to become a regular member in this era,” Koike said Friday, according to Reuters.

    Women are also reportedly banned from playing at the club on Sundays — which seems an obvious optics problems considering Olympic medals will be on the line for women, perhaps on a Sunday, at the course.

    This is the second time in the space of two years that a prominent golf club has come under fire for choosing not to admit women as full members. In May

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  • Breaking 60 has become so passe in golf that Woody Austin did it on Friday in the first round of the Diamond Resorts Invitational … and didn’t know he’d done it.

    We kid, of course; shooting 59 or better is still a big deal. However, Austin wasn’t keeping track of his strokes in the conventional sense at the Orlando event. The field, which features a mix of 27 PGA Tour Champions and four LPGA Tour pros, as well 47 celebrities, is being contested under the modified Stableford scoring system. Austin made 10 birdies and an eagle, adding up to 43 points and first place among the pros. It also added up to 59 at the par-71 Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons Resort.

    “I really never thought about it until I birdied 16,” Austin said. “That got me to 11 under and I thought, OK.”

    Woody Austin becomes the second pro in as many days to shoot 59. (Getty Images)
    Woody Austin becomes the second pro in as many days to shoot 59. (Getty Images)

    The thing is, Austin didn’t know the host course was a par-71 track. So when he walked off the 18th hole, he had no idea of what he

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  • Justin Thomas shot the eighth round of sub-60 in PGA Tour history on Thursday, shooting 11-under 59 in the first round of the Sony Open in Hawaii.

    For anyone who thought last week’s winner of the SBS Tournament of Champions was due for a post-victory letdown, they were wrong.

    Thomas came to his final hole of the first round of the Sony Open in Hawaii at 9 under on the day. With a birdie on the second of the two par 5s he’d see on the round, he could top the course record he already had a share of from two years ago. After finding the fairway bunker with his tee shot, Thomas smashed his 207-yard second shot to 15 feet from the hole for an eagle that would give him a 59.

    “I was so bummed when that tee shot went in the bunker,” he said. “I thought it was going to be good. I got up there and had a perfect lie, and I’m like, you know what am I going to do, lay up? And if it comes off, great, and if not, whatever.”

    Justin Thomas is the latest member of the Sub-60 Club (Getty Images)
    Justin Thomas is the latest member of
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  • Rory McIlroy has said he
    Rory McIlroy has said he “resents” the Olympics for forcing him into an awkward choice. (Getty Images)

    Don’t expect to see Rory McIlroy in the Parade of Nations at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

    Ahead of this week’s BMW SA Open in South Africa, the reigning FedEx Cup champion said he doesn’t intend to compete in the Olympic golf tournament — for either Ireland or the United Kingdom.

    “More likely than not, I won’t be going to the Games in 2020,” McIlroy said. “Just because of my personal feelings towards – not the Olympic Games, the Olympic Games are great and I think golf included in the Olympics is fantastic. But for me, it’s just something I don’t want to get into, and that’s a personal choice and hopefully people respect that decision.”

    When McIlroy bowed out of the 2016 Olympics, he cited the Zika virus threat in Rio de Janeiro. However, in an interview last week with the Irish Independent, McIlroy came clean with his real reason: a resentment of the Olympics that he was forced to

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  • Jim Furyk is the new U.S. Ryder Cup captain (Getty Images)
    Jim Furyk is the new U.S. Ryder Cup captain. (Getty Images)

    Jim Furyk is the new United States Ryder Cup captain, set to lead the American dozen into Paris for the 2018 matches.

    Furyk was officially named the head man on Wednesday, winning over the votes of the Ryder Cup committee that includes three PGA of America officials, as well as players Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and outgoing captain Davis Love III.

    “I am anxious to get started and recapture the momentum we enjoyed at Hazeltine, both in the team room and on the golf course,” Furyk said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve won in Europe and I am looking forward to the challenge.”

    Love won’t be going far from the Ryder Cup, however, as Furyk has named Love as one of his assistant captains for the matches.

    “Davis is going to be a tough act to follow. He put a system in place, got the players behind it,” Furyk said. “His experience, two captaincies and a vice captaincy, will be priceless for me, so I’m happy to have him by my side.”

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