The Local Knowlege

Tenuous golf connection

Drop what you're doing and check out this incredible golf-themed video parody of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"

By Alex Myers

The problem with parody songs? Unless you're "Weird Al" Yankovic, they usually come across as cheesy, unfunny, and they are generally not well done.

Not this one.

The Grind: Watch Lee Westwood sing and a very dangerous trick shot

Nigel Tait's annual golf buddies trip to Australia has a tradition of featuring parody songs. We're going to assume this rendition of Queen's famed "Bohemian Rhapsody" is the group's best. Check it out:

Tait had help from his golf mates with the lyrics and in the video, but it appears that he was responsible for all instruments, lead vocals, harmonies and sound effects. Very impressive.

"Golfing really matters, anyone can see. Golfing really matters. Golfing really matters to me . . ." Tait swoons near the end of the song.

Related: Rory & Jagermeister: An unauthorized history

We can tell, Nigel. We can tell.

(h/t GolfChannel.com)

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Golf & Business

Baby, You're a Rich Man: What Winning Another Major Means for Rory's Finances

By Peter Finch

What does a golfer get for winning a major championship, beyond the prize money?

Even more money.

Rory McIlroy’s win at Hoylake earned him nearly £1 million, or $1.7 million. But paydays like those pale next to what he makes off the course. His contract with Nike is worth an estimated $10 million to $12 million a year. And that’s just one in a package of endorsements that placed him at No. 5 on Golf Digest’s most recent ranking of the game’s 50 biggest earners.

You can safely assume McIlroy will be even higher on our list next time. While Nike declines to comment on specifics of its endorsement deals, it’s common for golfers to have incentive clauses that reward them with bonuses for wins and major championships. 

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"Almost all contracts have bonuses tied to winning, and to winning majors," gent Mac Barnhardt of Crown Sports LLC told Golf Digest’s Ron Sirak earlier this year. "And the bonus for winning a major is two to four times higher than for a regular win. So we're talking bonuses from $100,000 to $500,000 per contract."

Sirak continued: “According to one agent who spoke on the condition of anonymity, [Justin] Rose's $1.2 million TaylorMade deal doubled in value after his Open victory. The same agent says [Phil] Mickelson got a $1 million bonus from Callaway for winning the British Open. A second agent says Rose and Masters winner Adam Scott will earn an extra $3 million to $5 million annually for winning a major."

McIlroy’s other sponsors include Bose speakers, the Spanish bank Santander and Omega watches.

On top of all that, McIlroy’s appearance fees are likely to climb too. At the moment, he collects $1 million per appearance in South Korea and China, according to the Irish Times. He is said to have asked for $2 million to appear in the Australian Open two years ago -- an amount equal to Tiger Woods’ fee -- but was turned down, Australian Golf Digest reported. Next time he asks for $2 million, he might well get it.



Photo: Getty Images ... Read
Travel

Deal of the Week: Plays and rays at Troon North

By Matthew Rudy

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It's a dry heat. 

Scottsdale probably isn't your first pick for a summertime game, with temperatures in the 90s by 8 a.m. and 110 by lunchtime. But many of the best resort courses in the Phoenix area are doing their best to drum up play during this traditionally slow period. 

Troon North is offering one of the best -- and most clever -- embrace-the-heat deals. You can play 36 holes on either the Tom Weiskopf-designed Monument or Weiskopf/Jay Morrish-designed Pinnacle and get a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses for $199. The Maui Jims usually retail for more than $200, so you're getting shades with a nine-hour suntan thrown in for free.  

The offer is limited to the first 150 customers who buy it through the Troon North e-store, and is good through Aug. 16. 

If you don't need the glasses, you can make a golf-only deal for $125. That leaves plenty of cash left for an Arnold Palmer in the air-conditioned Dynamite Grille or a rehydrating spa treatment at the Four Seasons next door.
 
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Courses & Travel

The St. Andrews skyline will look a little different for the 2015 British Open

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

The Hamilton Grand -- or Hamilton Hall, as it's more widely known -- is one of those distinctly Scottish buildings that litters the skyline of St. Andrews. It's among the town's more recognizable landmarks, sitting just behind the 18th green of the Old Course, a wedge from the R&A clubhouse.

And it’s looking a little grander these days.

In work that was completed earlier in 2014 the building now boasts a sixth floor and a four-bedroom penthouse, according to a company representative. The penthouse is believed to be valued at around $11 million and is part of a series of renovations being undertaken by owner Herb Kohler, a process included a 30-bedroom expansion.

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Hamilton Grand opened in 1895 as a hotel and remained as such until World War II, when the military used it to aid its war efforts. After that is was sold to the University of St Andrews and used as a residence hall for students until 2006. In subsequent years the building fell into disrepair before Kohler bought the property in 2009 with a view of turning it into a luxury apartment building.

In the before and after shot below, you can see a new row of windows and the penthouse extending over the dome on the right side of the building. It won't be a huge adjustment to the one, but a noteworthy one for St. Andrews' most astute followers.

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My Usual Game

Up the road from the Open: ordeal by asparagus, death by bacon and the Formby Hippo

Less than an hour up the Lancashire coast from Royal Liverpool Golf Club, where the 2014 British Open was held, is the village of Formby, which is the home of two terrific courses, Formby Golf Club and Formby Ladies Golf Club. (It's also the home of a forgettable Florida-style golf course called Formby Hall.) Formby Golf Club abuts the Ainsdale Sand Dunes National Nature Reserve, one whose attractions is a small plot on which farmers grow asparagus, a once significant local crop.

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A man I met during a trip to the region last year told me that banquets for area golf-club captains held at Formby Golf Club had once been "ordeals by asparagus," because diners had to be careful not to drip butter onto their red-silk tailcoats. I visited the Ainsdale dunes one afternoon between rounds, and, among other things, studied an informative historical display.

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I also bought a cup of coffee at a mobile stand, which was operated by a middle-aged couple.

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The man, whose name was Phil, noticed my golf cap and invited me to play golf with him and his son, Sean, at Southport & Ainsdale, a few miles farther up the road, where he was a member. We played a day or two later. The course is one of my many favorites in the area.

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Phil is a retired Merseyside policeman. At lunch after our round, I asked him what his toughest case as a cop had been, and he told me about a 43-year-old woman who had died under mysterious circumstances. “I attended her autopsy,” he said, “because she was from a tough neighborhood and there was a presumption of foul play.” The pathologist was baffled, but then, as he was finishing up, he noticed something odd in her throat and gripped it with a clamp -- like that scene in “Twin Peaks” in which Special Agent Dale Cooper finds a typed letter “R” under Laura Palmer’s fingernail. Phil said, “It was a piece of bacon rind, six or seven inches long. She had choked to death on a bacon sandwich” -- an unsettling thought, since that’s what I was having for lunch, and since bacon is pretty much the No. 1 nutrient of the Sunday Morning Group.

Incidentally, Formby has foxes in addition to asparagus.

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And Southport & Ainsdale has rabbits.

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And Formby also has the Formby Hippo -- about which I may have more to say later.


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News & Tours

The Grind: McIlroy wins the Open, Westwood sings, DJ's b-day pics, and our career "Grand Slam"

By Alex Myers

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we are pleased that Rory McIlroy used the same target words, "spot" and "process," we use around here on his way to his latest major triumph. Confused? Let us explain. First, we "spot" the golf week's most interesting happenings (Yes, this entails more than clicking refresh on Paulina Gretzky's Instagram account). Then, we go through the "process" of putting them all together in a hopefully somewhat entertaining format so you don't have to search for these things yourself and . . . voila! It sounds so simple, right? Well, it's not. Pros like Rory and us just make it look that way. So sit back, relax, and let us do our thing.

WE'RE BUYING

Rory McIlroy: With his two-shot win (it felt like more, right?) at the British Open, McIlroy joined Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only golfers to win three majors by age 25. Bet you've heard that one, but you probably didn't hear about the big 500-to-1 bet his dad placed on him when he was 15 . . . oh, you have? Fine. What else is there to say? This guy is insanely good when he's on and he's on pace to be one of the all-time greats. Oh yeah, and he won me the Golf Digest British Open Fantasy Draft, meaning I've now won the "career Grand Slam" in our office pools in less than two full seasons of majors. Try to keep up, Rory!

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When Rory wins big, his family wins big. Literally.

Sergio Garcia: At least this close call will be easier to shake off than others since Garcia made a spirited run with a Sunday 66. Plus, he gained a lot of respect for how he graciously handled defeat. "It looks like I'm finally growing up," he said after. It only took 34 years.

Related: Pictures of PGA Tour wives and girlfriends

Rickie Fowler: We laughed when he said he gears his game up for the majors at the U.S. Open -- this is a guy with just ONE PGA Tour win to his credit -- but apparently, he wasn't kidding. With his T-2 at Hoylake, Fowler became the first player since Tiger Woods in 2005 to finish in the top five in each of the year's first three majors. Incredibly, those are his only top-five finishes in 19 stroke-play events this season. But hey, if you're going to have three great weeks a year, those are the three weeks you want to have them.

Lydia Ko: Rory wasn't the only phenom to win Sunday. Ko, 17, picked up her fourth LPGA title and became the youngest female golfer to bank more than the $1 million in career earnings, breaking Lexi Thompson's record by 17 months. And that doesn't even include the two wins and other high finishes she picked up while she was still an amateur. Is it too late to get a 500-to-1 bet on her winning a major?

WE'RE SELLING

Tiger Woods: He really teased us with that opening 69, didn't he? Overall, making the cut at a major in his second start since having back surgery less than four months ago should probably be viewed as a positive step. But finishing T-69 -- Woods' career-worst 72-hole position at a major by far -- doesn't leave us expecting much the rest of the year and even leaves his position on the U.S. Ryder Cup team doubtful. After all, he and captain Tom Watson don't appear to be too chummy these days.

Related: The winners and losers from Hoylake

Dustin Johnson: Rory's closest challenger entering the weekend only managed a T-12. We've been waiting on Johnson to break through at a major for awhile. Now 30, it's really time for DJ to get going.

Bubba Watson: Speaking of long hitters coming up short, Watson, after winning the year's first major has now missed the cut in the last two. More so, he came off as whiny when he complained about "negative comments" in the press after Friday's round. "Bubba Golf" isn't as fun when things aren't going his way, is it?

Jagermeister: In the claret jug? Really, Rory? You're 25 now. But McIlroy can't seem to shake the disgusting dark drink (sorry, bad memories). In fact, he has a long history with it. Don't worry, we broke it all down in our latest piece of hard-hitting journalism. Maybe Rory really meant to say his target words were "shot" and process.

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ON TAP

The PGA Tour heads to Canada for the RBC Canadian Open, aka that tournament Hunter Mahan left when he was leading after 36 holes to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. Well played, Hunter.

Related: 15 undeniable truths from the British Open

Random tournament fact: This year's event is at Royal Montreal Golf Club, the site of the Americans romp at the 2007 Presidents Cup. Or, if you're Canadian, the site of Mike Weir's singles win over Tiger Woods in 2007.

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK 

-- Ben Hogan drank Jagermeister from the claret jug: 1 million-to-1 odds 

Related: 15 signs you watch too much golf on TV

-- Rory McIlroy will complete the career Grand Slam at some point: 1-to-2 odds

-- Between Rory and Phil, you'll get sick of hearing about career Grand Slams at some point next year: LOCK

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"I've really found my passion again for golf. Not that it ever dwindled, but it's what I think about when I get up in the morning, it's what I think about when I go to bed. I just want to be the best golfer I can be." -- Rory McIlroy. That doesn't bode well for other golfers.

THIS WEEK IN PAULINA GRETZKY-DUSTIN JOHNSON PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION

"Good luck today baby!! Love you" Paulina posted before Sunday's final round. Unfortunately, her well wishes didn't do DJ much good:

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Mmm. Are those giant . . . Oreos? And for some reason, DJ waited until Saturday to post this pic of the couple celebrating his birthday that happened nearly a month ago. We didn't miss it, though. "Spot" and "process"!!!

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Related: DJ & Paulina's magical year in pictures

THIS WEEK IN AWFUL GOLF BY CHARLES BARKLEY

The Chuckster competed in the American Century Championship, the biggest celebrity golf tournament. It did not go well. Here's a look at his scorecard from the three days:

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Over the course of 54 holes, the best Barkley could do was five bogeys. Amazing. Oh, and the reason for all the double bogeys is that is the maximum score you can take in the modified Stableford system. Paul Azinger offered Barkley free golf lessons on Twitter and said he'd shave his head if he couldn't fix the former Hank Haney student in 20 minutes. Please take him up on that, Charles. It's a win-win for everyone.

VIRAL VIDEO(S) OF THE WEEK

It's one thing to let John Daly hit a golf ball that's teed up on your face. It's another to let some random dude hit one off your crotch. Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars did just that at a charity golf event:

OK, so he later said the guy was a "pro." We hope so. He also yelled that it "tickled." Interesting.

And then there's Lee Westwood's singing, courtesy of Stephanie Wei.

Who says this guy doesn't have a lot of guts?

THIS AND THAT

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Mark Rypien won the American Century Championship for the first time since the inaugural event in 1990. That's a long time to wait for another major. This guy is the Ernie Els of celebrity golf! . . . Caroline Wozniacki won her first tournament in nine months on the same day Rory captured the claret jug. What are the odds? . . . Speaking of odds, did I mention that I won our office pool and a small, legal wager on Rory McIlroy (18-to-1!) winning the British Open? Cashing in a bet is always nice, but collecting in pounds makes it feel so much more sophisticated.

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

Why doesn't Rickie Fowler play better in regular tour events?

How many majors will Rory McIlroy win?

Did Gerry McIlroy bet on that too?

-- Alex Myers is an Associate Editor for GolfDigest.com. Feel free to email him and please follow him on Twitter since he has self-esteem issues.

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Gear & Equipment

The next Callaway driver hints at swing speed

By Mike Stachura

When a company starts putting physics formulas on its products, it's probably not a stretch to assume the nod to science has something to do with the product's performance intent. 

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So when the USGA updated its conforming list of clubheads this week to include a driver emblazoned with the equation for kinetic energy, it's safe to assume the driver is going to be pushing the idea of creating swing speed. In golf, kinetic energy is best described as the energy created in the clubhead coming into the ball as a result of its speed. In scientific terms, it is the product of the mass of an object (like a clubead) and the velocity (or swing speed) squared, times one-half. Because velocity is squared in the equation, this means that for an object like a clubhead, whose mass might change only a relatively small amount, if you can develop a way to increase speed, you can deliver more energy into the ball at impact. More energy at impact can lead to more distance. In simpler terms, the theory might be that it may be much more important to figure out how to produce a driver that can be swung faster than to figure out how to swing a heavier driver clubhead as fast as you can swing a standard- weight driver clubhead. The idea of pursuing ways to increase clubhead speed has been seen in several companies' drivers in the past, including Cleveland's Launcher DST, TaylorMade's Burner SuperFast, Adams' Speedline and most recently Ping's new G30.

Enter the Callaway Big Bertha V-Series. Although the company is mum on specifics, the USGA's listing describes the club as having a sole that includes the company's trademark caricature of Sir Isaac Newton and its catchphrase, "You can't argue with physics." The sole also includes the words "Speed Optimized Technology," as well as the aforementioned equation for kinetic energy. The listing references 9, 10.5 and 13HT lofts, and from the image the club appears to be adjustable. It would not be a stretch to suggest the "V" might stand for "velocity." 

Given that it's been a year since Callaway launched the FT Optiforce, which promoted the idea of increasing swing speed through a more aerodynamic head shape and lighter overall weight, it seems natural the Big Bertha V-series with its reference to kinetic energy could be the next evolution of those ideas. Last year, the FT Optiforce actually drew some interest and success from tour players; both Chris Kirk and Patrick Reed won with one in the bag in late-season events last year, and Jim Furyk used one to shoot a 59 during the BMW Championship. 

It is not clear whether the Big Bertha V-Series will be played or even tested at any tour events this week, but being on the conforming list means the club is available to be used in competition immediately. More details are sure to be available fairly, er, quickly.

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News & Tours

6 things you need to know about the International Crown

By Ron Sirak

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The inaugural International Crown is this week at Caves Valley Golf Club, a Tom Fazio design playing 6,628 yards and par 71 for this competition. Here are 6 things you need to know to follow the action.
 
1. THE TEAMS

Eight countries divided into two pools, four players per country. Pool A: No. 1 United States, No. 4 Thailand, No. 5 Spain, No. 8 Taiwan. Pool B: No. 2 South Korea, No. 3 Japan, No. 7 Sweden, No. 8 Australia. Seedings based on points of top four players on Rolex Rankings as of March 31.
 
2. THE PLAYERS

USA -- Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, Lexi Thompson, Cristie Kerr; SOUTH KOREA -- Inbee Park, So Yeon Ryu, Na Yeon Choi, I.K. Kim; JAPAN -- Mika Miyazato, Ai Miyazato, Mamiko Higa, Sakura Yokomine; THAILAND -- Pornanong Phatlum, Ariya Jutanugarn, Moriya Jutanugarn, Onnarin Sattayabanphot; SPAIN -- Azahara Munoz, Beatriz Recari, Carlota Ciganda, Belen Mozo; SWEDEN -- Anna Nordqvist, Caroline Hedwall, Pernilla Lindberg, Mikaela Parmlid; AUSTRALIA -- Karrie Webb, Minjee Lee, Katherine Kirk, Lindsey Wright; TAIWAN -- Yani Tseng, Teresa Lu, Candie Kung, Phoebe Yao

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3. THE FORMAT

The first three days, each country plays two best-ball matches against every other country in its pool. Points accumulate over the three days: Win = 2; Halve = 1; Loss = 0. The top two countries in each pool advance. If there is a tie within a pool, this tie-breaker will be used:
 
    • Total points in head-to-head match-ups between the tied teams
    • Total number of matches won in all six four-ball matches
    • Highest-seeded team entering competition
The country with the third most points in each pool will playoff to determine the fifth country to advance to Sunday. In that situation, each country in the playoff chooses two players to represent them. The format for the playoff will be sudden death best ball, and the tie-breaker will be the second ball from each country.

So, for example, suppose Taiwan and Australia both finish third in their pools and go into a playoff. Let's say Taiwan chooses Yani Tseng and Candie Kung, and Australia chooses Karrie Webb and Katherine Kirk. After the first playoff hole the players make the following scores:
 
Tseng = 4
Kung = 4
Webb = 4
Kirk = 5
 
In that scenario, Taiwan would win the playoff because Kung made 4 and Kirk made 5
 
On Sunday, the five countries will be seeded based on their total points from the first three days. If countries are tied, the following tie-breaker will be used:
 
    • Total points earned in head-to-head match-up (if they were in the same pool)
    • Total number of matches won in all six four-ball matches
    • Highest-seeded team entering competition

Each country will play one singles match against every other country for a total of 10 matches. Points carry over to Sunday. The team with most points over the four days wins.
 
In the event of a tie, each country in the playoff must choose one player to represent them. The format will be sudden-death singles.
 
4. WHO'S LEFT OUT

Rolex Rankings No. 2 Lydia Ko (New Zealand), No. 4 Suzann Pettersen (Norway), No. 8 Shanshan Feng (China) and No. 27 Charley Hull (England) are left out because their countries did not qualify. If the U.S. team were based on the current Rolex Rankings, No. 6 Michelle Wie would be in and No. 12 Paula Creamer would be out.

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5. THE SKINNY

The United States and South Korea are the favorites, but Thailand, with the Jutanugarns sisters and Phatlum, is deep. Australia has Hall of Famer Karrie Webb and amateur teen sensation Minjee Lee, and in Nordqvist and Hedwall, Sweden has Solheim Cup-tested talents. The most Twitter-friendly team is Taiwan (Tseng, Lu, Kung and Yao - total of 14 characters). Least Twitter-friendly is Thailand (Phatlum, Jutanugarn, Jutanugarn and Sattayabanphot - total of 41 characters).

6. ON THE TUBE

All coverage will be on Golf Channel. July 24-25, 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. ET; July 26-27, 3-7 p.m.

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Golf instruction

Make The Turn Challenge #19: Trap Perfection

By Jeff Ritter

Coaching golf has come a long way. If you're working with someone on your game, chances are you've utilized video analysis and possibly even super high-tech devices such as force plates and launch monitors, which dissect every action and reaction associated with your golf swing.

While advances in technology provide golfers with more information than ever before, the real secret to playability is to develop the "feelings" unique to you that deliver the contact and control over the golf ball you're looking for.

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A great way to do this on your own, is by practicing a simple self-coaching trick called "trapping." This is a fantastic exercise in personal development, that can quickly deliver big results. The key is to create an environment where you allow yourself to make drastically different swings. Instead of always seeing the same pattern in your golf shots and not knowing quite "HOW" to change them, trapping pushes the parameters of cause and effect to intentionally produce opposite ends of the ball flight spectrum. Once you establish your "extremes" in a particular characteristic such as: Contact point, height, direction or curvature, you essentially know that your perfect result lies somewhere in the middle, "trapped" between swings A and B. Within only a few attempts you should now be able to find the motion that delivers the upgraded contact and flight pattern you desire.

My goal as a coach is always to empower the player in a manner that makes them as self-sufficient as possible. Commit to practicing this exercise in the art of self-discovery and you can count this challenge as complete!

BENEFITS
Increased Impact Awareness
Develop Self-Coaching Skills
More Accurate Shots


Jeff Ritter is the CEO/Founder of MTT Performance. The program operates out of Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif. Follow him on Twitter at @mttgolf

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Celebrity

There are countless reasons to envy Rory McIlroy, but apparently Nadia Forde isn't one of them

By Sam Weinman

Just when you thought the stars had aligned once more in Rory McIlroy's universe -- claret jug in hand, big hug for Mom, big payday for Dad -- there is this about McIlroy's budding romance with Irish model Nadia Forde: actually, there is no budding romance.

Or at least that is what the Irish Independent is reporting following McIlroy's two-stroke win at Royal Liverpool. Citing friends of both McIlroy and Forde, the paper Monday said the two are not dating and have only been together recently because of mutual friends (Forde's fellow model and friend, Katie Larmour, is engaged to Rory's friend Harry Diamond).

According to a McIlroy friend, in fact, "she's not his type."

Right. Of course. We totally see what he means.

The new reports dampens a rumor that took hold last month, when Forde and McIlroy were spotted leaving a Dublin nightclub at 3 a.m. McIlroy dismissed talk of any relationship at the Scottish Open earlier this month, when he said "I'm very single and very happy at the minute." But after recently breaking off his engagement with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, McIlroy might intentionally be coy when talking about anyone else. 

Regardless, McIlroy has plenty to keep himself occupied for now. After celebrating his Open win into the early hours Monday, he will soon set his sights on a second PGA Championship next month at Valhalla. Then there's the Ryder Cup in September, where the safe money is he'll again fly solo (Wozniacki didn't attend the matches at Medinah although the two were already dating in 2012). You'd think the young fella could scrape up a date by then, but it's tough out there. If you have a sister, keep him in mind.

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