May 03

Rory McIlroy sails past Gary Woodland for WGC Match Play title

Rory McIlroy would kindly like to remind you he has no plans on giving up the world No. 1 ranking to Jordan Spieth anytime soon.

McIlroy finished off three opponents on Sunday in the WGC-Cadillac Match Play en route to his 10th PGA Tour win, just a day before he turns 26. His day at TPC Harding Park culminated in a 4 and 2 win over long-hitting Gary Woodland to capture his second World Golf Championships event in his last three tries.

The Ulsterman began his day by making a 60-foot bomb to finish off Paul Casey on the 22nd hole of their quarterfinal match that resumed Sunday after darkness halted play the night prior.

The four-time major winner then drew Jim Furyk in the semifinal round. A tight match all the way through, McIlroy prevailed 1 up when he played the final three holes in 4 under par, including an eagle at the par-5 finishing hole to secure a place in the final.

Both McIlroy and Woodland played sloppy early, backing up a birdie at the par-5 first each with a pair of bogeys. However, McIlroy set a lead with a par at the fourth hole and never looked back. He made three consecutive birdies on the next three holes to take a 4-up lead at the turn. To his credit, Woodland won the 11th and 12th holes to make McIlroy sweat a little, but McIlroy's win at the par-4 14th forced Woodland to press with few holes left to make a charge. Woodland conceded the 16th hole and the match to McIlroy.

This is McIlroy's first WGC-Match Play title, but follows on his WGC breakthrough last August at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which was the sandwich in two major championship victories at the Open Championship and PGA Championship.

With the win, McIlroy joins some elite company. Only two players other than McIlroy in PGA Tour history have earned at least 10 PGA Tour wins before turning 26: Jack Nicklaus (17) and Tiger Woods (29).


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

May 03

Tiger Woods, Lindsey Vonn have ended their relationship

Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are no longer together. Woods and Vonn both issued similar statements on Sunday confirming the end of their three-year relationship.

"Lindsey and I have mutually decided to stop dating," said Woods on his website. "I have great admiration, respect and love for Lindsey and I'll always cherish our time together. She has been amazing with Sam and Charlie and my entire family.

"Unfortunately, we lead very hectic lives and are both competing in demanding sports. It's difficult to spend time together."

Vonn shared the news on Facebook.

"After nearly three years together, Tiger and I have mutually decided to end our relationship," Vonn said.  

"I will always cherish the memories that we’ve created together. Unfortunately, we both lead incredibly hectic lives that force us to spend a majority of our time apart. I will always admire and respect Tiger. He and his beautiful family will always hold a special place in my heart."

Vonn, 30, and Woods, 39, made their relationship public in March 2013. Vonn appeared at the Masters with Woods and his children, Sam and Charlie, including during his first appearance in the Masters Par-3 Contest in 11 years. 

Woods finished T-17 at the Masters and has announced a full summer schedule, including next week's Players Championship, which he won the last time he played in the event in 2013.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

May 02

Will Rory McIlroy make it to the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight?

The struggle is real for Rory McIlroy.

The Ulsterman advanced through group play into the knockout stage of the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship, coming back from 2 down with two holes to play on Friday to beat Billy Horschel in sudden-death extra holes. Next up is Hideki Matsuyama in the Round of 16. If McIlroy wins that match, then he has a conflict of interest on his hands.

Certainly he'll want to compete in the quarterfinal round at TPC Harding Park. However, he also has tickets to the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fight in Vegas, which starts around 8:30 p.m. PT. He'd be cutting it close to make it to ringside on time.

McIlroy, who would tee off in the quarterfinals between 2:50 and 3:35 p.m., has a plan.

“Get to the afternoon and try and win that match. Bring a change of clothes here, try and avoid [the media], go straight to the airport,” he said.

 

However, if his plan doesn't work out and he clearly can't make the fight, then McIlroy will play scalper and make some nice money.

He said, “I'll probably try and sell my tickets and watch it on a big screen here somewhere."


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

May 02

Lydia Ko makes N. Texas Shootout cut on the number, keeps streak alive

Lydia Ko found a way to make her 51st consecutive LPGA cut on Friday at the Volunteers of America North Texas LPGA Shootout.

More importantly, she'll be able to make some money that, at the start of the week, she pledged would all go to help children in Nepal as the country tries to recover from a recent 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

“All day I was thinking, make some birdies for the kids in Nepal, that's my big goal,” Ko said. “I think if I was just missing the cut, yes, I would be disappointed.”

Ko made her rally on her back nine, the front side at host Las Colinas C.C., making three birdies in the first six holes to get inside the cut line. She then faced a 6-footer for par that would get her to the weekend on the number. She sank it, carding 3-under 68.

“I was going to cry after my putt,” Ko said.

Ko is nine shot backs of leader Brooke Henderson, the 17-year-old who led after 54 holes last week in San Francisco. Henderson made it through the Monday qualifier to earn a spot in the field and has taken advantage. However, Ko walked away with the trophy last Sunday, so don't count her out with two rounds to play this weekend.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

May 02

Jimenez, Bradley come nose-to-nose on last hole of Cadillac match

A match that meant very little on Friday turned out to be the big story at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship.

Miguel Angel Jimenez and Keegan Bradley squared off in the third and final round-robin match in their group at TPC Harding Park, both with no chance to move onto the weekend knockout stage. However, both played the match with intensity and hoping to snag at least one win in the three days.

The match went to No. 18, where Bradley drove his ball left and into a television compound -- considered a temporary movable obstruction under the Rules of Golf and eligible for a free drop. Bradley and caddie Steve Hale, known as Pepsi out on Tour, called in a PGA Tour rules official for the ruling and the drop. However, after Bradley made the drop, Jimenez, who was on the other side of the fairway, came over to dispute the drop with the 2011 PGA champion.

Both Bradley and Hale were annoyed Jimenez had interjected after a rules official gave his opinion, which is typically the be-all-end-all in stroke play, but not match play. As Jimenez continued talking to Bradley, Hale stepped in to stand up for his guy. Jimenez told Hale to "shut up," which prompted Bradley to get into Jimenez's face, saying, "You don't tell my caddie to shut up."

After the match, which Jimenez won 2 up, the two had, according to Golf Channel, an awkward, heated exchange in the locker room in which the Spaniard looked to clear up his side of things. However, Bradley and Hale didn't seem satisfied with Jimenez's explanation and all parties left without a handshake or an apology.

Both parties spoke to the media after that, with Bradley explaining his actions.

“I felt like he was being disrespectful not only to me but my caddie,” Bradley said. “I was kind of standing up for my boy here.”

Jimenez simply wanted to move on.

“Whatever happened there is finished and is done. There is no point in talking about it,” he said.

Bradley and Jimenez are now out of the tournament, but leave with a strained relationship that may take some time to heal.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Apr 30

Lydia Ko in danger of missing first LPGA cut after bizarre tree incident

Ahead of this week's Volunteers of America North Texas LPGA Shootout, world No. 1 Lydia Ko said she would donate her entire check for the week to charities helping Nepal after the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake that has left over 5,000 dead.

Unfortunately, Ko is in danger of not receiving a check and missing her first-ever LPGA cut after an opening 4-over 75 at Las Colinas C.C. in Irving, Texas.

Ko's entire round was stymied by an unfortunate three-hole stretch on the back nine. Coming to the tee at the par-4 14th, Ko was 2 under par on the round. However, her third shot landed in a tree and, despite the best efforts of her tree-climbing caddie Jason Hamilton, the ball would not fall to the ground. In the end, LPGA rules officials -- perhaps mistakenly -- declared Ko could take an unplayable lie en route to a triple-bogey 7.

It didn't get better from there, with Ko going double bogey, bogey on the next two par 4s. 

In 50 career LPGA starts, both as an amateur and a pro, Ko has never missed the cut.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Apr 30

Ben Martin scores dagger hole-in-one in match with Matt Kuchar

Ben Martin and Matt Kuchar were all square in their Day 1 match at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship heading to the par-3 17th. The hole is a behemoth 243 yards, making par a great score and one that could have meant a decisive win before heading to the final hole.

Martin did two better.

The winner in Las Vegas early in the season stepped in and made a hole-in-one that left Kuchar with nothing to do but smile and high-five his competition. The ace put Martin 1 up with a hole to play. Kuchar had a short putt to square the match and force extra holes, but he missed to give the match to Martin.

Fortunately for Kuchar, in the new tournament format, he and Martin will both have two more matches with the other players in their four-person group before figuring out who moves on to the Round of 16.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Apr 29

African-American golf great Calvin Peete dead at 71

African-American golf great Calvin Peete has died at the age of 71.

Born in Detroit on July 18, 1943, Peete notched 12 PGA Tour wins, including the 1985 Players Championship. He won four times in 1982, finishing fourth on the money list that year. He also had two-win seasons in 1983, '85 and '86.

Peete was a member of the 1983 and '85 Ryder Cup teams, earning a 4-2-1 mark. He won the 1984 Vardon Trophy, awarded to the player with the PGA Tour's lowest scoring average.

Despite suffering from a broken arm as a child that was never set right, Peete was one of the most accurate drivers of the ball in PGA Tour history. For 10 years, from 1981-1990, Peete led the Tour in driving accuracy. In 1983, he hit an astounding 84.55 percent of fairways. He's the only player in the last 35 years to lead the PGA Tour in both driving accuracy and greens in regulation, doing so in 1981, '82 and '83.

Peete posted three top-four finishes in the majors, including a T-3 finish in the 1982 PGA, and T-4 efforts in the 1983 U.S. Open and 1984 PGA.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Apr 29

The 19th Hole Golf Show: Baltimore, riots and golf

With so many horrible images of Baltimore -- a city I love and spent so many of my formative years in -- on TV this last week, it seemed worthwhile to offer a few reflections on Charm City in the context of its role in teaching me the game of golf. The city's golf courses, especially Carroll Park, were critical in bringing me to fully fledged participation in the sport.

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Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.