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McIlroy tries to plot how to salvage a season without winning a major

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Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland waves as he walks off the 18th green following his second round of the British Open Golf Championships at Royal Troon golf club in Troon, Scotland, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his tee shot on the fifth hole during his second round of the British Open Golf Championships at Royal Troon golf club in Troon, Scotland, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays from the rough on the fourth hole during his second round of the British Open Golf Championships at Royal Troon golf club in Troon, Scotland, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts after playing from the rough on the third hole during his second round of the British Open Golf Championships at Royal Troon golf club in Troon, Scotland, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts after missing a birdie putt on the fourth green during his opening round of the British Open Golf Championships at Royal Troon golf club in Troon, Scotland, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays from the rough on the 15th hole during his opening round of the British Open Golf Championships at Royal Troon golf club in Troon, Scotland, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits off the sixth tee during his opening round of the British Open Golf Championships at Royal Troon golf club in Troon, Scotland, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland chips onto the fifth green during his opening round of the British Open Golf Championships at Royal Troon golf club in Troon, Scotland, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

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TROON, Scotland (AP) — Rory McIlroy had plenty of time to accept that a 10th straight year would pass without him winning a major. He now has to wait 265 days for the next one, when he hears the starter at Augusta National say, “Fore, please. Rory McIlroy driving.”

The realization came on the fourth hole of the second round. He needed a good start to make the cut, maybe get back in the British Open. What he got was a triple bogey.

“Twenty-two holes into the event and I’m thinking about where I’m going to go on vacation next week,” McIlroy said after rounds of 78-75 to miss the cut by five shots.

Whatever he had in mind for vacation, his next thought was how to salvage another season that will not include a trophy from the four biggest events.

This has been a tougher year than most because of the previous major.

He had a two-shot lead on the back nine of the U.S. Open. He was very much in control until missing a 30-inch putt on the 16th hole and then falling behind when he missed a par putt from inside 4 feet on the last hole.

McIlroy was so distraught he peeled out of Pinehurst, withdrew from the next tournament that week and spent a few days in Manhattan trying to collect his thoughts.

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It brought to mind McIlroy famously saying after the 2023 U.S. Open — another opportunity he let slip away — that “I would go through 100 Sundays like this to get my hands on another major championship.”

His takeaway from Troon?

“I’d much rather have a disappointing Sunday than going home on Friday,” he said.

One lesson from the U.S. Open was to remind himself that he’s a very good player who has accomplished more than he would have thought when he turned pro in 2007 at age 18. He has four majors and 26 titles on the PGA Tour alone, along with three FedEx Cup titles.

“It’s not as if we only play four events a year,” McIlroy said. “We play like 25. So there’s still a few things there’s left to play for. Obviously, the majors have come and gone.”

Next up for McIlroy is the Olympics, and that raises a question how much a gold medal could fill the void of so many silver trophies he left behind this year.

The royal and ancient game is relatively new to the Olympic program, having only returned in 2016 at Rio de Janeiro. McIlroy skipped those Summer Games, still torn and slightly irritated about a Northern Ireland golfer having to choose between flags of the UK or Ireland.

He played in Tokyo as an Irish golfer and lost in a seven-man playoff for the bronze. “I’ve never tried so hard in my life to finish third,” he said.

McIlroy believes a gold medal might feel like a gold standard several years down the road, much like it has in tennis. For now, it’s about all he has.

“And then again, I’m in contention to try to win both titles on either side of the Atlantic,” McIlroy said, referring to the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour and the Race to Dubai on the European tour. McIlroy is at No. 3 in the FedEx Cup, and leads in Europe.

“Still some things to play for until the end of the year,” he said.

There really isn’t another choice but forward, as long as that includes looking 265 days ahead to the start of the Masters.

Tiger Woods went 11 years between majors, but that was easy to explain. His personal life imploded after a shocking revelation of serial adultery, followed by more injuries to his legs, four surgeries on his back, the pain medication that led to an embarrassing arrest for DUI and age.

McIlroy was 25 when he won his last major. He missed one major with an ankle injury from playing soccer with friends.

If he has underachieved in the last decade, it’s more than not winning — it’s a player of this talent having so few chances to win. There was Pinehurst and Los Angeles at the last two U.S. Open. There was Carnoustie in the 2018 British Open. And there was St. Andrews in 2022, when he two-putted every green and closed with a 70.

McIlroy is 35, by all accounts entering the prime of his career. If he seems older it’s because this is his 17th year on tour. That’s a lot of scar tissue that builds up over time. Losing happens far more often than winning in a sport like this.

Only five players in major championship history have gone 11 years between majors — Woods, Ben Crenshaw, Hale Irwin, Julius Boros and Henry Cotton. The longer McIlroy goes between winning his next major, the tougher it likely will get.

AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

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Country singer rory feek marries his daughter’s teacher 8 years after death of his wife joey.

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Rory Feek said “I do” again — eight years after the death of his previous wife Joey.

The country singer revealed on his blog he married his 10-year-old daughter Indiana’s school teacher, Rebecca, on July 14.

The couple tied the knot “under a beautiful timber-frame pavilion” in Greycliff, Montana, in front of family and friends where he surprised her with a special wedding song written by him.

Rory Feek and Rebecca wedding

The 59-year-old wrote that he and Rebecca’s love story began with his daughter saying it was actually her idea.

“Rebecca and I had committed to be together. To choose each other and see where it might lead. And although we knew marriage was a possibility, it wasn’t something that either of us felt like we could seriously talk about,” he explained.

“Mostly because up until that time Indiana only saw Rebecca as ‘Miss Rebecca’ her schoolteacher and our friend. And although she had become much more than that to me, I was very careful to let Indy ‘figure it out’ on her own. And honestly, I wasn’t really sure if she ever could, or would, at all.”

Rory Feek and Rebecca wedding

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“Her love for her Mama is so great and so big in her life. Neither Rebecca or I wanted to hurt that in any way,” Rory wrote.

“And so we just waited and watched to see if it might ever occur to Indiana that Rebecca could be more than just a friend to her Papa, and to her.”

It wasn’t until late March when Rebecca visited the father-daughter duo at their farmhouse for their usual morning routine that she revealed Indiana asked her to marry her father.

rory Feek

“I asked Indy, and she told me that she said, ‘Ms. Rebecca, I think you should marry Papa…'” he wrote.

“And then Indy looked at me and said ‘and I told Miss Rebecca that my Mama’s been gone a long time. And if she marries you, maybe she could be my new mother…'”

Joey Feek died in March 2016 after a two-year battle with cervical and colorectal cancer.

Rory also has two daughters, Heidi and Hopie, whom he welcomed in a previous relationship.

Rory Feek and Rebecca wedding

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Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau Shoot Themselves Out of Contention at British Open

Bob harig | jul 18, 2024.

McIlroy (78) and DeChambeau (76) struggled throughout their opening rounds at Royal Troon.

TROON, Scotland – The drama of their duel at Pinehurst seemed a long way away on Thursday on the West Coast of Scotland, where U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and tough-luck runner-up Rory McIlroy pretty much played their way out of contention in the opening round of the British Open.

Royal Troon turned nasty on Thursday and both players struggled to adjust to the conditions and a different wind direction, combining for one birdie and an eagle between them and shooting a collective 12 over par.

DeChambeau shot 76 on the par-71 course after the first-nine 42 that included just three pars. And McIlroy had two double bogeys, leaving one shot in a bunker near the short par-3 8th green and hitting his tee shot out of bounds and onto a rail line on the 11th, to finish with a 78.

“The course was playing tough,” said McIlroy, who made a single birdie, two doubles and four bogeys. “The conditions are very difficult in a wind that we haven't seen so far this week.

“I guess when that happens, you play your practice rounds, you have a strategy that you think is going to help you get around the golf course, but then when you get a wind you haven't played in, it starts to present different options and you start to think about maybe hitting a few clubs that you haven't hit in practice.

“Just one of those days where I just didn't adapt well enough to the conditions.”

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DeChambeau had similar sentiments.

“Yeah, it's a completely different test,” said DeChambeau, who noted he had some equipment issues to work out in light of the cooler temperatures and the golf ball not “compressing’’ as much. “I didn't get any practice in it, and I didn't really play much in the rain. It's a difficult test out here. Something I'm not familiar with. I never grew up playing it, and not to say that that's the reason; I finished eighth at St Andrews (in 2022). I can do it when it's warm and not windy.”

That certainly wasn’t the case Thursday. After relatively mild conditions during the practice rounds, players arrived to rainy conditions and a different wind, one that was coming out of the south. That meant the opening holes—typically the easiest part of the course—played far different.

McIlroy actually managed them well enough, following an opening bogey with a birdie. But at the 8th hole, known as the postage stamp, the fine line of links golf came into play.

The four-time major winner hit a tee shot that appeared fine, but was simply too close to the edge of the green, rolling off into a bunker. From there, McIlroy hit his shot out only to to see it roll back in. That led to a double-bogey 5.

“But still, felt like I was in reasonable enough shape being a couple over through nine, thinking that I could maybe get those couple shots back, try to shoot even par, something like that,” McIlroy said. “Then hitting the ball out of bounds on 11, making a double there. Even though the wind on the back nine was helping, it was a lot off the left. I was actually surprised how difficult I felt like the back nine played. I thought we were going to get it a little bit easier than we did.”

McIlroy was unable to add any birdies and had bogeys at the 15th and 18th holes to shoot his highest score since a 79 in the first round of the 2021 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

In 2019, McIlroy began the Open with a 79 at Royal Portrush and furiously rallied the following day but came up short of making the cut.

“That’s all I can focus on,’’ he said.

DeChambeau was more optimistic. After his poor first nine, he calmed down, with a bogey at the 15th and an eagle at the 16th.

“I'm just proud of the way I persevered today,” DeChambeau said. “Shoot, man, I could have thrown in the towel after nine and could have been like, I'm going home. But no, I've got a chance tomorrow. I'm excited for the challenge. If I have some putts go in and hit some shots the way I know how to and figure out this equipment stuff, I'll be good.”

The Open has a 36-hole cut of 70 and ties.

Bob Harig

Bob Harig is a senior writer covering golf for Sports Illustrated. He has more than 25 years experience on the beat, including 15 at ESPN. Harig is a regular guest on Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio and has written two books, "DRIVE: The Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods" and "Tiger and Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry." He graduated from Indiana University where he earned an Evans Scholarship, named in honor of the great amateur golfer Charles (Chick) Evans Jr. Harig, a former president of the Golf Writers Association of America, lives in Clearwater, Fla.

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British Open 2024: Among top players missing cut, Rory McIlroy pondered vacation early in second round

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Rory McIlroy walks off the 18th green.

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Another fruitless major season is over for Rory McIlroy.

Struggling to find fairways and greens in the high winds at Royal Troon, the Irishman didn’t survive the British Open battle into the weekend after shooting four-over-par 75 on Friday. McIlroy got off to a bad start to the tournament with a 78, and his 11-over total was well off the cut line of six over—the highest trim in the tournament in 11 years.

By not reaching the last 36 holes in the final major of the year, McIlroy is guaranteed to not have won any of golf’s four biggest men's titles in a full decade, his last triumph coming in the 2014 PGA. The disappointment also follows McIlroy’s crushing loss to Bryson DeChambeau last month in the U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

Unlike the occasion of that disappointment, McIlroy did speak briefly with reporters on Friday and said he figured his tournament might be over when he started the second round by going six over through his first six holes, including making an 8 on the par-5 fourth.

“Yeah, I think once I made the 8 on the fourth hole, that was it,” McIlroy said. “Twenty-two holes into the event and I'm thinking about where I'm going to go on vacation next week.”

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In analyzing the week, McIlroy said, “When I look back on the two majors that I didn't play my best at, here and the Masters [where he was T-22], the wind got the better of me on Friday at Augusta, and then the wind got the better of me the last two days here.

“I didn't adapt well at all to that left-to-right wind yesterday on the back nine, and then this afternoon going out in that gusty wind on the front, as I said, it got the better of me, and I felt pretty uncomfortable over a few shots.”

For McIlroy to come close to winning majors has been routine; him missing cuts is extremely rare. He’s played on the weekend in all but four of the last 23 majors and has missed only three cuts in 15 British Open tries. This cut snapped a streak of 26 straight made overall for McIlroy, dating back to missing the cut in last year’s Masters.

If there is any consolation, the Troon puzzle and conditions were unsolvable to many of the best in the game. Of the top 20 in the World Ranking, half missed the cut, including Ludvig Aberg (nine over), DeChambeau (nine over), Viktor Hovland (six over), Sahith Theegala (14 over), Tommy Fleetwood (nine over), Tony Finau (10 over) and Keegan Bradley (seven over), the recently named captain for the 2025 U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Of course, there also will be the notable absence of Tiger Woods, who shot 77 in the second round, had a 14-over total and missed his third straight major cut of the season after finishing 60th in the Masters. Woods said afterward that he would not play again until the unofficial Hero World Challenge that he hosts.

“I've gotten better, even though my results really haven't shown it, but physically I've gotten better, which is great,” Woods said. “I just need to keep progressing like that and then eventually start playing more competitively and start getting into kind of the competitive flow again.”

The two players who made the last Open at Troon such a thriller had mixed results. Henrik Stenson, the 2016 champion, couldn’t recover from his opening 77 and missed the cut at eight over, while his challenger back then, Phil Mickelson, made the weekend with a five-over total. For the 54-year-old Mickelson, it was only the second cut made in his last six major starts.

Is it the British Open or the Open Championship? The name of the final men’s major of the golf season is a subject of continued discussion. The event’s official name, as explained in this op-ed by former R&A chairman Ian Pattinson , is the Open Championship. But since many United States golf fans continue to refer to it as the British Open, and search news around the event accordingly, Golf Digest continues to utilize both names in its coverage.

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Tiger Woods among notables to miss cut at The British Open Championship Royal Troon

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Tiger Woods lamented his lack of competitive reps, never got anything going, and never came close to making the cut at The Open Championship at Royal Troon.

Woods, who saw the toughest conditions as part of the less favorable early-late wave, will miss the cut at Royal Troon after shooting 14-over 156 (79-77). The performance marked his highest opening two rounds at a major since the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I just wish I was more physically sharp coming into the majors,” Woods said. “It tests you mentally, physically, emotionally and I just wasn’t as sharp as I needed to be.

“I was hoping I would find it somehow,” he continued after his third straight missed cut (PGA Championship, U.S. Open, Open Championship) in the wake of a solo 60th at The Masters Tournament. “I just never did, and consequently my results and scores were pretty high.”

Max Homa had a better time of it Friday. He knew he needed his nearly 30-footer to drop on 18 to get to 6-over par and with a chance to play the weekend, and when he drained the birdie he looked to the heavens and roared. So did the crowd that ringed the 18th green.

Max Homa drained a 28-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole on Friday to play the weekend. (Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR)

Max Homa drained a 28-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole on Friday to play the weekend. (Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR)

It was one of the day’s loudest cheers for a man who was more than a dozen shots off the lead.

“I don't know, maybe I'm just proud of myself,” said Homa, who will make the cut on the number. “This is my favorite tournament in the world, so to have the chance to potentially play two more days, I don't know, I had an out-of-body experience. I didn't really expect to yell like I won a golf tournament. It just felt really good. I felt like I fought all day.”

Max Homa drains clutch birdie putt to make the cut at The Open

The most notable casualty of the cut was Rory McIlroy, who was trying to rebound from a deflating opening-round 78 in the worst of the weather on Thursday. He got off to a terrible start Friday, though, including a triple-bogey 8 at the par-5 fourth hole.

“Obviously got off to the worst start possible today, being 6-over through six,” McIlroy said. “But then played the last 12 holes pretty well, bogey-free. If I need to remember something about this week, it'll be the last few holes that I played.”

Rory McIlroy holes bunker shot for birdie at The Open

Joining Woods and McIlroy outside the cut line were Henrik Stenson (77-73), Nick Taylor (75-75), Min Woo Lee (71-80), Francesco Molinari (73-78), Tommy Fleetwood (76-75), Ludvig Åberg (75-76), Bryson DeChambeau (76-75), Tony Finau (71-81), Viktor Hovland (75-77), Tom Kim (76-77), Cameron Smith (80-74), Sahith Theegala (77-79) and Wyndham Clark (78-80).

Many of these players competed early Thursday and late Friday, when some of the pre-tournament favorites seemed to struggle the most.

"It was tough," said Fleetwood. "Yeah, look, conditions are tough, the golf course is tough. But it's your job to figure it out and to put in a score, and I just couldn't do that."

Golf is Hard: Wind edition

With his week at Royal Troon coming to an end, this also marks the conclusion of Woods’ competitive calendar for 2024 (at least in official events). He was a combined 44-over par in the year’s four majors, finishing last among players who made the cut at the Masters and missing the cut at the other three. His scoring average in those four events was 75.6 strokes.

The only other event he played in 2024 was The Genesis Invitational, which he hosts at Los Angeles’ Riviera Country Club. He shot 72 in the opening round before withdrawing from the second round with the flu.

“Hopefully next year will be a little bit better than this year,” he said.

While his son Charlie begins play Monday in the U.S. Junior Amateur at Michigan’s Oakland Hills Country Club, Tiger won’t be seen playing publicly until the Hero World Challenge and the PNC Championship at the end of the year.

“I’m not going to play until (the Hero),” Woods said. “I’m just going to keep getting physically better and keep working on it.”

Clark’s struggles continued at Troon, where he shot 16-over 158 (78-80). The 2023 U.S. Open champion was 39-over par in the 2024 majors, missing the cut at the Masters (151, 7-over) and PGA Championship (146, 4-over) and finishing T56 in his U.S. Open defense (292, 12-over).

Cameron Morfit is a Staff Writer for the PGA TOUR. He has covered rodeo, arm-wrestling, and snowmobile hill climb in addition to a lot of golf. Follow Cameron Morfit on Twitter .

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The angst of Rory McIlroy, from New York to Holywood

HOLYWOOD, Northern Ireland — About 3,000 miles from here, Rory McIlroy walked along Manhattan’s West Side five weeks ago; shoulders pushed up, head slung down, earbuds in. He strolled the High Line, a repurposed freight rail running from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street. The 1.5-mile footpath towers 30 feet over 11th Avenue, above the fray, but through the noise of America’s busiest city.

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That’s where McIlroy went to get away from it all.

He needed to process the latest close call in a career coming to be defined by them. This one? Especially cruel. Pinehurst. Three bogeys in the final four holes. Those missed putts. Two feet and 11 inches on the 16th. Three feet and nine inches on the 18th. A solo runner-up finish at the U.S. Open. Again.

McIlroy wanted the blur of a big city, where everything is fast, faceless. It’s what he prefers nowadays. He walked alone, hidden under the brim of a baseball cap, then dipped into Milos, a world-class Mediterranean restaurant in Hudson Yards. He elbowed up at a bar seat, checked his phone and opened a text message from a close friend.

That message? It asked if he’d just been walking the High Line. Apparently, McIlroy had been spotted. Word got around.

“It’s hard to get any sort of privacy these days,” he says. “But it’s nice to try to blend in as much as possible.”

Ages ago, McIlroy found solace along the narrow streets of Holywood, this small town where the butcher knows the baker, and the bartender knows the banker, and the bookmakers know the bookkeepers. They all live here, tucked between Belfast and Bangor, along the shoreline of Belfast Lough, the inlet connecting this section of Northern Ireland to the Irish Sea. A little more than 10,000 people. Solidly middle-class. Wealth around the edges. A mix of Protestant and Catholic. They’re abundantly proud to have raised generations of kids well isolated from the religious tensions that long defined the region.

As one local puts it: “A lovely little town. Everybody has grown up with everybody.”

Holywood was the early proxy used to explain Rory to the world upon his arrival in 2008 as a potential superstar. Sportswriters and broadcasters traveled here like pilgrims. More and more from his breakout U.S. Open win in 2011 to his thunderclap in 2014 — winning his third and fourth majors in succession at age 25.

The visitors drove rental cars down High Street. They squeezed into parking spaces and popped into one business after another. Holywood’s main strip is dotted by coffee shops, cafes and retail shops. You can’t read a story from back then without a mention of Skinners Bakery, where owner Valerie Baker designed biscuits and buns with Young Rory’s face. In 2014, after McIlroy’s win at the PGA Championship, she told the Belfast Telegraph: “It’s become something of a tradition now. This is the fourth time we’ve baked our special Rory biscuits. They always sell out.”

Next door to Skinners is Orrs Butchers. That’s where writers found Stephen Moore. He’d say how much the town was buzzing. How Rory put little Holywood on the map. How he was going to win the next major, and then the next one after that.

Inevitably, the visitors would head up the hill, deeper into town, to Holywood Golf Club. Where Rory learned the game. Where local liquor laws were winked at as family and friends watched final rounds of major tournaments long after last call. Where television cameras broadcast them cheering their boy, Rory. He would win, return to town with a trophy, and everyone would be together again.

Today, things are different, but Holywood remains.

It’s a Friday afternoon and Paul the barman is looking for the key again.

Two Americans are coming off the 18th hole and want their turn. Rory’s Corner, a mini custom-built McIlroy museum in the middle of Holywood GC’s clubhouse, is open to the public. The walls are covered. Pictures of a 15-year-old with big freckles and bigger hair. Framed newspapers of long ago wins. Plaques. Memorabilia.

So for the umpteenth time today, the trophy case is opened, and replicas of the Claret Jug and Wanamaker Trophy are handed over. Big smiles. Pictures snapped.

Later, two Aussies will come in to do the same. Paul will fetch the keys, take them to the trophy case, pop it open again.

Shortly after that, near sunset, a sightseeing bus from a docked cruise ship will climb the hills of Holywood, turn down Demesne Road, and pull onto Nun’s Walk, the tiny road leading up to the clubhouse. The Home of Rory McIlroy is a stop on the tour.

“All day, every day, seven days a week,” says Stephen Tullin, president of Holywood Golf Club.

You can make a reasonable case no club is so associated with a player it produced as Holywood is with Rory. Arnold Palmer and Latrobe Country Club? Jack Nicklaus and Scioto? It’s a short list.

“I don’t know what course Tiger Woods was involved with as a lad,” says Tony Denvir, a Holywood GC member. “But everyone knows Rory McIlroy was, and is, a member of Holywood Golf Club.”

The reason, it seems, is the fairy tale, one told so many times. Born in 1989 to Gerry and Rosie McIlroy, Rory McIlroy was immediately a prodigy. His parents worked multiple jobs, trading night and day shifts, assuring the boy every opportunity. Gerry, a fine player in Belfast’s amateur golf leagues, taught his son the game and let him loose at Holywood. He was so good, so soon, the club made him a member at age 7. Rory left high school at 16 to focus on a game that grew larger than life. The result was a young lad coming from a working man’s club to conquer the world.

“Nobody was ready for what happened,” says Barry Dobbin.

Now 78, Dobbin still seems to be wrapping his head around it all. A lifetime ago, he owned a timber-frame housing kit company and employed Gerry as an insulation installer. He, Gerry, and Gerry’s father, Jimmy (Rory’s grandfather), played golf together. Dobbin drove Gerry and Rosie to their 1988 wedding, then to the reception at Pips International, the best-known nightclub in Belfast.

He remembers Rory as a baby.

And he remembers that baby suddenly becoming the biggest story in the golfing world.

“It all happened so quickly,” Dobbin says. “And suddenly we were this magic place.”

The waves of tourists that come through today want exactly that. A piece of magic. Americans, Canadians, Swiss, French, Japanese. They fork over greens fees to play what amounts to a simple, short, 120-year-old parkland course. They ask to hear all the stories. They take pictures of the sign in front of Rory’s reserved parking spot.

On this day, a nondescript sedan is parked there.

“Oh, that’s Paul’s,” Denvir says.

The sound on the 18th green at Pinehurst last month was guttural. A gasping, shrieking, sighing, moaning anguish. The thousands of fans surrounding the final hole of the 2024 U.S. Open couldn’t believe McIlroy missed that putt. At the same time, they absolutely could believe it. They’ve seen it before. That’s how a major tournament winless streak goes from 36 to 37.

In Holywood? All was quiet that night.

“Back in the day, Rory in contention at a U.S. Open, this place would’ve been jam-packed for that,” Denvir says. “Bar would’ve been full. Overflow seating in the other room. Would’ve been fantastic craic.”

That was back when the bar stayed open late and the cameras came out. BBC, Sky Sports. Maybe ESPN. Photographers snapping away.

“That’s died off a wee bit,” Denvir says.

Instead, everyone watched the misadventures of Pinehurst from home.

Blank faces in front of the flickering screens.

“Pinehurst was … ” Denvir says, lifting his hands and dropping them. “You really could tell that the wee lad just wanted to stand there and cry. He was obviously heartbroken. It was so hard to watch.”

Sitting on a deck perched over Holywood’s 18th green, Denvir looks over at Tullin, who has known McIlroy’s family for 50-some-odd years. Tullin remembers watching Rory play junior competitions when the bag was taller than the boy, when he’d step to the tee and the whispers would begin. “Who’s this now? Oh, that’s Rory McIlroy.”

“We were heartbroken as well, yeah?” Tullin says, looking back at Denvir.

“Absolutely. Just stunned,” Denvir says, pausing, thinking, “Ten years now, since he’s won a major? Ten. Just incredible.”

“It is incredible.”

“2014, yeah? That’s just…“

“Crazy, isn’t it?”

These are the conversations that have replaced the parties at Holywood Golf Club. The lover’s lament, so to speak. It’s impossible to change the topic when there’s only one topic. So pints are poured and Rory is discussed. The keening of near-misses or summoning of old times. Eventually, inevitably, his face pops up on the TV screen and everyone stops.

The whole town is subscribed.

“Hi, I’m wondering if Stephen Moore is here?”

“Ah, s—,” the old man says, eyes pressed closed, hands atop the cold metal of a butcher’s display, “what’ve I done now?”

Meet the most popular man in Holywood. Moore was born here in 1965, took a job at Orrs at age 15, bought the shop years later, continued working, sold it a few years ago, and now shows up each Saturday, pulling on an apron, mainly so he can still see everyone, and so they can see him. Moore can not go more than two minutes without being interru…

“Hi, Tommy!” he hollers. “Stephen!” “You good?” “I’m fine.” “Good man.”

Moore was interviewed by the likes of ESPN and the Washington Post back in 2011, when Rory was on the rocket and the Open Championship was on its way to Royal Portrush, only 60 miles from Holywood.

“It was a phenomenon,” he remembers.

Moore went to school with Brian McIlroy, the youngest of Rory’s uncles, and worked at Orrs alongside Eva McIlroy, Rory’s grandmother. She drove a Volkswagen Beetle, but couldn’t park it. So she’d arrive at work, leave the VW in the middle of the street, and tell Young Stephen to go park it. Later, Moore’s sister married Colm McIlroy, another of Rory’s uncles.

Today, all the McIlroys still live in Holywood. Colm runs a pressure-washing business and plays golf out of HGC. Gerry and Rosie split time between Northern Ireland and the United States. When they’re in town, Gerry can be found each morning on the 4-mile stretch of beach from Seahill to Holywood. He likes to walk alone, Moore says.

“Down to earth, solid people,” he adds, waving to a passerby.

“Heyyy, Sam.” “Hello, Stephen!” “You get that thing sorted?” “I did, I did.” “Good, good. Cheers.”

Moore remembers both childhood Rory bouncing down High Street as a kid and, only a few years later, a freshly famous Rory drawing crowds and newspaper photographers when stopping for coffee. He couldn’t imagine such attention.

“Hi, Stephen!” a passing woman says. “Hi, Annie! Go sit in your garden and enjoy this weather, would ya!”

Moore watched the U.S. Open at his house. A few mates. A few beers. They thought it was over as Rory teed off on 15. The boys damn near began celebrating.

“Two silly putts,” he says. “Everyone was heartbroken.”

It’s odd, like storms in one sea changing the currents upon another shore. Even though he’s not there — and hasn’t been here in at least a year or two — as Rory goes, so goes the Holywood. There’s the buildup to each major, that this will be the one. Then the letdown. McIlroy has 11 top-five finishes in the 37 majors since his last win, including three second-place finishes in the last three years. It didn’t seem like anything could be more wrenching than the near-miss at St. Andrews in 2022, but Pinehurst was somehow worse.

So here sits Holywood, waiting for time to change.

“I think it’d just be a relief, to tell you the truth — to just see ‘em get it off his back,” Moore says. “I think he’s just trying too hard sometimes. Who can blame ’em? He’s won loads of championships, but this major thing is just following him around.”

At The Maypole, a pub in Holywood’s town center, you’ll find things can begin to feel odd after 10 or 15 minutes. Then it hits you — the bar is full, but also quiet. Everyone is talking, but not shouting. No music is playing. No TV is on. A sign by the door reads: “In the interest of good conversation and serious drinking, please refrain from using mobile phones.”

This place is a free competition of ideas, and when it comes to Rory, everyone has an opinion.

One local philosopher, eyebrows raised toward the ceiling, slows his brogue to say McIlroy needs to stop speaking to the media and only worry about playing golf.

Others have their own varying thoughts, namely, the man is worth multiple hundreds of millions, so, yeah, it’s tough to feel too bad. “Poor Rory?” one said. “I don’t think so.”

But even those cynics want to see McIlroy win again, if only for a change of conversation.

Plenty in town are suspicious of an out-of-towner. Antennae are up, assuming questions about golf will lead to questions about Rory’s personal life, one month after he withdrew his petition to divorce wife Erica Stoll after a seven-year marriage. Seeing a notebook, plenty in Holywood kindly scooted away.

The instinct, of course, is to protect.

He is theirs, not ours.

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Walking off the 18th green at Royal Troon on Monday, 21-year-old Tom McKibbin folded his arms, thinking about home. He grew up in Newtownabbey, across the Belfast Lough, about 12 miles from Holywood. Growing up, he spent his days playing on Rory’s old course, training in facilities installed by Rory and, after developing into an elite talent, answering constant questions about being The Next Rory.

McKibbin turned professional in April 2021 at age 18, just as Rory did. This year, he won the European Open in Germany — his first tournament championship on the DP World Tour. Cameras returned to Holywood to capture members’ reactions.

This week, McKibbin is appearing in his first Open Championship. He says he feels comfortable. A top-40 finish in last month’s U.S. Open — his first career major — was reassuring. Plus, he’s getting older and is out on his own more. While McKibbin lives at home with his parents in the summer, he now spends part of the calendar in Dubai and is eying an eventual move to the States — “hopefully someday soon.”

On a recent return trip home, he got a glimpse of how such success changes things.

“Suddenly a lot more people know you at home,” McKibbin says. “I guess that’s sort of what you sign up for.”

McKibbin is a product of what McIlroy means to Holywood. There’s been charitable work — both seen and unseen. There’s been loads of money made off his draw to the town. According to those at the club, he helped keep the place afloat during COVID-19 and single-handedly put €800,000 into clubhouse renovations. He pumped financing into an expanded junior program, thinking that, if every kid in the area wants to be Rory McIlroy, they should be able to practice where he played.

Part of the clubhouse renovations Rory paid for included the installation of a modern gym, one for him to use when in town, whenever he visits the massive property he owns. Though it’s been awhile, he’s been known to show up at the club in shorts and T-shirt, wearing earbuds, to get in a workout. “He’s totally normal when he’s here,” Tullin says. “Like he just wants to be normal.”

But that’s the hard part. The longer he’s gone, the harder it is to be normal.

“When you go home seldomly, it’s almost like you’re more of a novelty,” McIlroy said last week. “It’s sort of counterintuitive.”

Perhaps there needs to be a reason for a proper reunion.

And perhaps this could be it.

Stephen Moore says he played a round at Holywood with Colm McIlroy the day after the U.S. Open. The two smacked shots and recounted that impossible ending at Pinehurst. According to Stephen, Colm decided to fire off a text message to Rory. Something like, “Well, nephew, get ‘em the next time.”

The phone dinged back. Rory replied that the loss only made him more determined to win at Troon.

Wouldn’t that be something? After all this time? As of now, the plan is for the bar at Holywood Golf Club to stay open on Sunday. Maybe this is the one.

(Illustration: Dan Goldfarb / The Athletic ; photos: Brian Lawless /PA Images, Luke Walker, Saype / Belfast Photo Festival)

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Brendan Quinn

Brendan Quinn is an senior enterprise writer for The Athletic. He came to The Athletic in 2017 from MLive Media Group, where he covered Michigan and Michigan State basketball. Prior to that, he covered Tennessee basketball for the Knoxville News Sentinel. Follow Brendan on Twitter @ BFQuinn

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Where are we on the tgl timeline here's a full look at league led by tiger woods, rory mcilroy, share this article.

In August of 2022, a new vision for golf was born.

Backed by TMRW Sports, golf legends Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy headed the creation of Tomorrow’s Golf League, an interactive league that fuses the traditional sport and advanced technology in an indoor arena.

The Palm Beach Gardens-based league was originally set to launch in January of this year but was pushed back due to arena damages caused by a windstorm and power outage back in November.

Now, the league’s first match is just around the corner, set to begin Jan. 7, 2025. Follow along Woods and McIlroy’s journey to tee time.

New Tiger Woods golf arena at PBSC campus in Palm Beach Gardens could be metal

Will Tiger Woods’ new tech golf league get a metal arena on Palm Beach State College land in Palm Beach Gardens?

The PBSC Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet soon to discuss further a proposal to rebuild the indoor golf arena on the school’s campus off PGA Boulevard with prefabricated metal instead of an air-inflated dome.

The Palm Beach State College Board of Trustees will allow TMRW Sports to construct a permanent arena for an interactive golf league led by stars such as Tiger Woods and Rory McElroy on their Palm Beach Gardens campus — just as long as the company pays it hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

Photos: Construction of the TGL’s new SoFi Center is underway in Florida

TGL, as the league is known, was supposed to start play this year in an inflatable dome on a 3-acre site along PGA Boulevard. In November, when work on the dome was nearly done, fierce winds and rain ripped apart the dome, forcing TMRW Sports to change plans.

TGL, the interactive golf league headed by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, has announced the first three dates for its inaugural 2025 season after receiving approval from Palm Beach State College last Friday to construct a permanent arena.

The league, backed by TMRW Sports, will play its first three matches the first three Tuesdays in January, debuting Jan. 7. The prime-time matches will be televised by ESPN. The remainder of the schedule was not revealed.

Exclusive: Tiger Woods talks TGL with USA Today Network: ‘I couldn’t be more excited for January’

2024 British Open

Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the 12th hole during the first round of the Open Championship golf tournament at Royal Troon. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Sports

TGL, the Palm Beach Gardens-based interactive golf league, is “full steam ahead” according to one of its co-founders, Hall of Famer Tiger Woods.

Woods, the Jupiter Island resident, answered questions via e-mail exclusively for The Palm Beach Post (part of the USA Today Network) about his team, Jupiter Links GC, and the league that has overcome the setback of the roof on its original building collapsing in November due to a power outage and wind storm. The incident forced the start date to be pushed back one year.

Tiger Woods’ TGL team includes top 10 player in the world, rising PGA Tour star

Max Homa called it “a dream” to play in Tiger Woods’ group the first two days of the Masters. When asked following Friday’s competition what he will remember from his round, he said just “a lot of Tiger stuff.”

Now, Homa will build on those memories going forward.

Max Homa’s take on why he believes he’s on Tiger Woods’ TGL team will surprise you\

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US golfer Max Homa waits on the 12th green on the opening day of the 152nd British Open Golf Championship at Royal Troon on the southwest coast of Scotland on July 18, 2024. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) 

Max Homa gave a quick lesson Tuesday when it comes to TGL, the interactive golf league headed by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.

And he kept coming back to one word: fun.

“It should be fun,” he said. “I think you’re going to have to see it to fully get it for everybody like it’s a lot bigger than playing simulator golf.”

Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy-led TGL rosters for all six teams in interactive golf league

TGL, the interactive golf league headed by Woods and Rory McIlroy, is preparing for its inaugural season, which starts Jan. 7. The league will be played in Palm Beach Gardens at a venue to be built on the campus of Palm Beach State College.

Here are the rosters. Boston and San Francisco each will add a fourth player. Although San Francisco’s team officially has not been revealed, its roster will include those remaining players who joined TGL.

Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy golf league fills out final roster spot with another top 15 golfer

2024 Genesis Scottish Open

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan looks across the 16th hole during day two of the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club on July 12, 2024 in North Berwick, Scotland. (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

With less than seven months before TGL launches in Palm Beach Gardens, the interactive golf league headed by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy has filled its final roster spot.

Japanese legend Hideki Matsuyama was announced as the fourth member of Boston Common Golf, joining Jupiter’s McIlroy, Keegan Bradley and Adam Scott. Matsuyama, ranked No. 12 in the world, replaces Tyrrell Hatton, who vacated his spot on the team after joining LIV Golf.

How Palm Beach Gardens is growing: Tiger Woods’ golf arena towers over PBSC campus

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Crews build the SoFi Center for the TGL indoor golf league that was founded by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy on Palm Beach State College land on July 10, 2024, in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

The indoor golf arena rising on the Palm Beach State College campus in Palm Beach Gardens now towers over nearby homes, neighborhood buildings, passing delivery trucks and neighboring trees at around 75 feet tall.

Crews have finished building the SoFi Center’s foundations. And the steel and walls and roof panels are on site. Roof work began this month, and crews are working six days a week for 10 hours per day, said a spokesperson for TGL, the interactive golf league that will call the center home. That league is being led by golf legends Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, who both have homes in the region.

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Rory Webley

Latest release.

  • 31 MAR 2023
  • Everybody Dies - Single
  • Everybody Dies
  • Everybody Dies - Single · 2023
  • Teenage Tragedy
  • Teenage Tragedy - Single · 2022
  • Deal With the Devil
  • Deal With the Devil - Single · 2021
  • Player 2 - Single · 2021
  • Joker - Single · 2020
  • There's Something in the Water
  • Are You Scared Yet? - EP · 2020
  • I'm the Boogeyman
  • Buried Alive
  • Something Super Sweet
  • Genie in a Bottle

Singles & EPs

Similar artists, alec benjamin, isaac dunbar, nico collins, ethan jewell, melanie martinez, naethan apollo, africa, middle east, and india.

  • Côte d’Ivoire
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  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Niger (English)
  • Congo, Republic of
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania, United Republic Of
  • Turkmenistan
  • United Arab Emirates

Asia Pacific

  • Indonesia (English)
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic
  • Malaysia (English)
  • Micronesia, Federated States of
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • Solomon Islands
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • France (Français)
  • Deutschland
  • Luxembourg (English)
  • Moldova, Republic Of
  • North Macedonia
  • Portugal (Português)
  • Türkiye (English)
  • United Kingdom

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina (Español)
  • Bolivia (Español)
  • Virgin Islands, British
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chile (Español)
  • Colombia (Español)
  • Costa Rica (Español)
  • República Dominicana
  • Ecuador (Español)
  • El Salvador (Español)
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  • Honduras (Español)
  • Nicaragua (Español)
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  • St. Kitts and Nevis
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  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos
  • Uruguay (English)
  • Venezuela (Español)

The United States and Canada

  • Canada (English)
  • Canada (Français)
  • United States
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  • الولايات المتحدة
  • États-Unis (Français France)
  • Estados Unidos (Português Brasil)
  • 美國 (繁體中文台灣)

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