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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy: Legalized sports betting could increase hecklers in golf

Rory McIlroy

Sports betting is expected to be legalized across more US states in the coming years, and that presents a multitude of issues that professional sports organizations will have to keep an eye on. Rory McIlroy is anticipating at least one significant one for the PGA Tour.

During a recent episode of The Golf Channel’s “Rory & Carson Podcast,” McIlroy spoke about the issue Ian Poulter had at the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational in Memphis last month when a fan Poulter described as an “idiot” openly rooted for his approach shot on the 18th hole to find its way into a bunker. McIlroy said that is an unfortunate part of the sport, and he thinks it could become more prevalent with the legalization of sports gambling.

“I think that’s going to be one of the big things about golf and legalizing sports betting in this country. What is going to happen is you will see more of this (heckling) stuff occurring because there are going to be those who have bet against you, and the guy you are playing with,” McIlroy said, as transcribed by Tony Leen of the Irish Examiner. “Whether it’s the fantasy (golf game) or just sports betting, they’re going to want to try and alter the result because they will potentially either make or lose money from it.”

McIlroy may have a point, but that has been going on at sporting events for a very, very long time. Sports betting has been legal in Nevada for many years, and there is no shortage of bookies, online gambling sites, or other avenues for fans to place bets. Could it make the problem worse? Sure, but that’s not a new concept.

Golf has become increasingly popular among younger fans (think college age) in recent years, and that has led to more unruly behavior during tournaments. Poulter also gets heckled more than the average golfer because he has always been very outspoken and loves playing the role of heel at the Ryder Cup. While McIlroy’s prediction about sports gambling may prove to be accurate, there are plenty of other factors that lead to fans behaving inappropriately. Poulter’s flamboyant personality is one of them, and he brought a lot of that on himself.

Rory McIlroy holds up Kyle Lowry jersey after winning RBC Canadian Open

Rory McIlroy blew the field away to win the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday, and he knew just how to celebrate with fans following his big day.

After he fired a 9-under 61 to finish an impressive 22-under for the tournament, McIlroy walked off the course holding up a Kyle Lowry jersey. There were undoubtedly some Toronto Raptors fans in attendance, and they loved the move.

The RBC Canadian Open is held at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, which is about one hour south of the city of Toronto. McIlroy has clearly been following the NBA Finals and knows the Raptors are one win away from capturing their first ever title, so it was pretty cool to see him plan ahead.

Rory McIlroy shows off Raptors jersey after winning Canadian Open

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy is getting caught up in the Toronto Raptors hype while finishing things off at the Canadian Open.

McIlroy posted a dominant final round 61, good for a score of nine-under and a seven-stroke victory on Sunday. As he walked off the 18th green, he produced a Toronto Raptors jersey in front of the crowd.

McIlroy was actually in attendance for Game 2 of the NBA Finals and seemed to enjoy the atmosphere.

McIlroy is definitely a basketball fan, though he has no obvious ties to the Raptors. If you’re in town and took in a recent game, though, you might as well show some love to the home team, especially with Canada in the midst of basketball fever.

Rory McIlroy not concerned if he does not win another major

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy has impressively won four majors during his young career, but none have come since 2014. That does not seem to have him worried.

Speaking before the Irish Open, McIlroy said that he’s not too concerned about not winning another major.

Rory McIlroy not concerned if he does not win another major.

“It’s still my career, and I still want to make the most of it and I still feel like I have a lot of time to make my mark on golf, but at the same time it doesn’t keep me up at night thinking, if I never won another major, I can’t live with myself,” McIlroy said, via Golf.com. “There are other things in my life that are more important than golf.”

The 29-year-old is now married and seems to have a more balanced life perspective. And though he’s missed three straight cuts at the US Open — including last month at Shinnecock Hills — McIlroy has seven top-10 finishes at majors since 2015.

Currently No. 8 in the world golf rankings, McIlroy hasn’t exactly fallen off even if he hasn’t captured a major in a few years. He still has time to get another — including maybe the elusive Masters.

Rory McIlroy: All the pressure is on Patrick Reed for final round

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy may need to make up three strokes against Patrick Reed in the final round of the Masters, but he’s not worried. McIlroy says that all the pressure is on Reed entering Sunday’s final round.

“This is my first final group here since 2011 and I feel like I learned an awful lot from that day. Hopefully all that I did learn seven years ago I can put into practice. So I’m really excited to go out there, show everyone what I got, show Patrick Reed what I’ve got. All the pressure’s on him tomorrow. He went to August State, he’s got a lot of support here. I’m hoping to come in and spoil the party,” McIlroy told CBS after his round on Saturday.

McIlroy shot a 7-under 65, tying with Rickie Fowler for the low score of the day. He’s 11 under for the tournament after shooting a 69 in the first round and 71 in the second round before Saturday’s 65. He’s certainly well within range of being able to take home his first green jacket.

The 28-year-old has won three of the four majors and just needs the Masters to complete the career grand slam. His best career finish at the Masters was when he was fourth in 2015. In 2011, he entered the final round as the leader but bombed on Sunday and finished tied for 15th. Reed has not won a major during his career.

Rory McIlroy chips in eagle to move into tie at Masters (Video)

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy is in the hunt at the Masters.

McIlroy charged forward on Saturday at Augusta, having come into the day at 4-under-par, five back of Patrick Reed, who led the field through 36 holes. McIlroy erased that deficit within the first eight holes of play on day three, moving into a share of the lead with an eagle on No. 8.

The shot briefly moved McIlroy to 5-under on the day, and into a tie with Patrick Reed at 9-under overall. Perhaps this stat pertaining to Reed’s lead through 36 holes will prove predictive after all.

Rory McIlroy: Jordan Spieth is the most underrated player in golf

Jordan Spieth

With Tiger Woods struggling to stay healthy over the past several years and not winning a major since 2008, you could make the argument that Jordan Spieth has become the most popular player on the PGA Tour. Even if that is the case, Rory McIlroy does not think the 24-year-old gets enough credit for how good he is.

In a recent sit-down with Paul Kimmage of the Irish Independent, McIlroy and Padraig Harrigton had extremely high praise for Spieth. The conversation began when Harrington suggested Spieth’s buddies — like Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas — should be paying Jordan a retainer because they have the privilege of getting to golf with him in their free time.

“They are all much better golfers because of Jordan Spieth,” Harrington said.

McIlroy seemed to agree.

“I had a chat with Brandt Snedeker last night and we both said it: ‘Jordan Spieth is the most underrated player in the game,'” he said. “When you look at what he’s done, and what he’s achieved, but all you hear are negatives. … ‘He doesn’t have this and he doesn’t have that.'”

Spieth has already won three major championships, and he’ll play in three more before his 25th birthday. He has won the Masters once and finished as the runner up two times. The only win he needs to complete the career grand slam is the PGA Championship, and he finished second there in 2015.

McIlroy is considered by many to be golf’s next greatest thing, but he has only one more major win than Spieth and is more than four years older than him. A chart shared by Kyle Porter of CBSSports.com shows how both McIlroy and Spieth are tracking right along with Phil Mickelson in terms of career wins per tournament played. Woods remains in his own stratosphere, but that will probably never change.

Spieth has been criticized for some pace of play issues, most notably with the disaster of a situation during the final round of his win at the Open Championship last year. But you could argue that he gets plenty of credit for how good he is, so it says a lot that McIlroy thinks he’s underrated.