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.

Be sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunesTuneIn or Stitcher


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

Apr 29

Rory McIlroy may have to choose between golf and boxing on Saturday

Rory McIlroy has a potential scheduling conflict on Saturday, and it's an ugly one. 

You see, McIlroy has procured tickets to the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight in Las Vegas. That fight starts at 11 p.m. ET. However, McIlroy could also be wrapping up a quarterfinal match in San Francisco at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship around that time. 

What to do, what to do. McIlroy said Tuesday that he's going to the fight, one way or another. 

"It never happened, so sort of waiting five years for this to happen," McIlroy said. "I always said if these two guys fought each other, I wouldn't miss the opportunity to go. Luckily, we're somewhere close, and hopefully I'm still part of this tournament at that time, but it just wasn't an opportunity that I was going to miss."

The flight from SFO to LAS is just about 90 minutes, and it'll be on a private jet, so that should save some time. 

Of course, the potential conflict assumes McIlroy escapes his group in round-robin play, which includes FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel, Brandt Snedeker and major champion Jason Dufner. It also assumes he wins a round-of-16 match on Saturday morning.

But if all of that falls into place, then McIlroy knows a quick time-saver: winning early.

He said, "Nothing that a few quick birdies won't change if I try and win 7 and 6."


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

Apr 29

Tiger Woods announces early summer schedule, including U.S., British Opens

On Wednesday, Tiger Woods announced his schedule through early August, and it includes appearances in the U.S. Open and Open Championship.

Woods previously announced that he will play in next week's The Players Championship, an event he won for the second time when he last played there in 2013. 

The 14-time major winner confirmed what Jack Nicklaus revealed this week at a charity luncheon, that Woods would play in his Memorial Tournament based on a conversation the two had at the Masters.

The U.S. Open and Open Championship are must-plays for a healthy Woods. He's never seen Chambers Bay, near Tacoma, Wash. -- at least competitively -- so it will make for an interesting test. However, Woods has enjoyed great success at Open Championship host St. Andrews, where he won the 2000 and 2005 Opens on the Old Course. He complete the career Grand Slam there 15 years ago in his first try, nearly shooting 20 under par in a major.

Woods announces his schedule coming off a T-17 finish at the Masters, which marked his first start since saying Feb. 11 that he would not play competitively until his game was "tournament ready."


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