By this point, you've probably heard a lot of outrageous reactions to Rory McIlroy's ankle injury, from the ridiculous ("How dare he play anything other than golf!") to the even more ridiculous ("How dare he call it 'soccer!'"). But one opinion is in a league of its own thus far.
On Fox News' Outnumbered program on Monday, one reporter randomly called McIlroy a "leprechaun" and said she "can't stand him." A little harsh, no? Here's the odd clip (thanks to Twitter user @Wrong_Fairway for sharing) in which someone not on screen can be heard giving her extra-hot take on the situation following a report on McIlroy's injury:
Maybe she's upset that her bet on McIlroy winning two majors in 2015 probably isn't going to come through? In any matter, kudos to co-host Harris Faulkner for making such a smooth transition to the next segment. That's a pro's pro right there.
Joey Chestnut, the reigning eight-time champion of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, was usurped from this throne by Matt Stonie -- a man referred to as "the Jordan Spieth of tubed beef" -- this weekend in what the event’s emcee called “one of the greatest upsets in sports history.”
Granted, this might be a tad hyperbolic, but such is to be expected from an event that awards its winner a mustard-plated belt.
The proclamation did get us thinking: What are some of the biggest shockers in the history of golf?
Francis Ouimet’s legacy withstanding that terrible Shia LeBeouf movie
You would think pulling off the thriller of the century -- Ouimet, a 20-year-old amateur besting two of the game’s best in Harry Vardon and Ted Ray -- would be tough to tarnish. But that LeBeouf film came damn close.
Jack Fleck over Ben Hogan, 1955 U.S. Open
Hogan was the unquestioned face of the game, while Fleck was a club pro in Davenport, Iowa. Tied after 72 holes at the Olympic Club, the two faced off in an 18-hole playoff, with Fleck winning by three shots. To rub salt in the wound, Fleck won with a set of clubs manufactured by Hogan’s company.
If something similar happened today, the First Take guys would have a collective heart attack.
Rory McIlroy defeats alarm clock, Keegan Bradley
McIlroy almost missed his tee time on the final day of the 2012 Ryder Cup, excusing his tardiness for time-zone confusion. The explanation was flimsy; if McIlroy thought he was on the East Coast, wouldn’t he be early for his match at Medinah, which, thanks to its Illinois location, resides in Central Standard Time?
Despite only getting a few practice putts, McIlroy managed to beat his Sunday singles foe, Bradley, and helped spur the European team to an epic comeback.
Orville Moody, 1969 U.S. Open
A military man, Moody retired from the Army to attempt a career on the PGA Tour. In his third year on the professional circuit, Moody won the 1969 U.S. Open, finishing ahead of a crowded leader board featuring Al Geiberger, Bob Rosburg, Deane Beman, Miller Barber and Arnold Palmer.
Alas, it would be Moody’s lone victory, further adding to the aura of his national championship.
John Daly’s “Hit it Hard” song charting
When an athlete produces a record, 99.9 percent of the time, it will make one’s ears bleed. But Daly’s “Hit it Hard” ballad, shockingly, isn’t terrible! You know, for a country song, that is. It even reached as high as No. 10 on the HIGHWAY Hot 45 Countdown, which I’m told is a real thing.
Larry Mize, 1987 Masters
Not sure what’s more impressive: Mize, an Augusta native, winning the Masters in a playoff over Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros with a chip-in at the 11th, or somehow avoiding scorn for that purple ensemble he was rocking. C’mon, Larry, only the Hornets can make the lavender-n-green combo work.
Zero streaker incidents at the 16th hole, Waste Management Open
Perhaps we should add the caveat of “Yet.”
Jack Nicklaus, 1986 Masters
It would be blasphemy to even consider making light of this moment. Long live the Golden Bear.
Happy Gilmore over Shooter McGavin, Tour Championship
Bonus points to Happy for overcoming a hit-n-run from a Volkswagen, the death of his mentor and a TV tower blocking his line on the 18th green.
Y.E. Yang beats Tiger Woods, 2009 PGA Championship
Not sure if you’ve been keeping up with Woods, but he's been in a tad of a major slump ever since his runner-up finish at Hazeltine.
Poor Kevin Kisner. In less than three months, he's lost three playoffs following his latest close call at The Greenbrier Classic. Even Greg Norman must feel bad for him.
If you're saying, "That seems like an awful lot of playoffs for one guy to be involved in," you're right! In fact, Kisner is just the fourth active PGA Tour pro to have played in three playoffs in a single season, according to Golf News Net.
Kisner joins Steve Elkington (1992), Sergio Garcia (2008), Bill Haas (2011) and Webb Simpson (2011) on this rare list. The difference is all four of those guys at least one won of their attempts in extra holes.
In contrast, Bubba Watson won the week before at the Travelers Championship to run his career playoff record to a sparkling 5-1. And Tiger Woods is an incredible 11-1 in his career on tour.
Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer share the record for most wins in playoffs with 14, but both also had 10 losses. Ben Hogan holds the record for most playoff losses with 12, so Kisner has a long way to go. But he also has a long way to go to match the Hawk's eight playoff wins. Norman, who lost in a playoff at all four majors, lost seven of his first eight playoffs on the PGA Tour before finishing with a 4-8 career record.
At Harbour Town, Kisner birdied the first extra hole, but so did Furyk, who also birdied the second to end his long winless drought. At the Players, Kisner played the three-hole aggregate playoff in one under to tie with Fowler. Then Fowler birdied the 17th hole again to beat Kisner's par. Dagger.
"It's tough to win out here, man. I've had a heckuva year," Kisner said after his third P-2 finish on Sunday. "If I keep playing like this, I'll get plenty of wins."
That's right, Kevin. Keep posting the low 72-hole score at tournaments and eventually you'll have to win. We think.
So does Rory deserve criticism for his off-the-course injury? Or should we give the 26-year-old a pass for enjoying himself with his friends? The Twitter reaction has been mixed, but this much is true: The issue will remain a polarizing one, particularly if the defending Open champion must formally withdraw from St. Andrews in the next few days.
✔ￏRun away with a major at young age
✔ￏWin @ Hoylake & Valhalla
✔ￏAwkwardly end a marriage
✔ￏInjure left leg
Rory or Big Cat?
Depending on where you looked, Rory McIlroy was either the favorite or the co-favorite with Jordan Spieth heading into the Open Championship at St. Andrews. News of his ankle injury obviously has changed that, but not as much as you might think.
Jeff Sherman, the golf oddsmaker at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, now lists McIlroy at 8-to-1 odds to win, up from his previous 5-to-1. Not surprisingly, Spieth, winner of the year's first two majors, is now a heavy favorite.
British Open odds updated with McIlroy injury
J Spieth 9/2
R McIlroy 8/1
D Johnson 12/1
J Rose 15/1
A Scott 20/1
H Stenson 20/1
T Woods 25/1
Ah, OK. Still, it doesn't seem like a smart bet. Sherman also addressed questions about pending bets on McIlroy's number of major wins this year. Essentially, unless you made the bet after the U.S. Open, those wagers still stand. Bad news if you thought McIlroy would add to his major total this year, but good news if you thought he'd get shut out.
One non-Rory betting note: Tiger Woods is now 25-to-1 odds to win at St. Andrews, where he won two of his Open titles. Following his missed cut at the U.S. Open, Woods had fallen to 60-to-1. Apparently, a T-32 at the Greenbrier Classic goes a long way these days.
Driver changes seem to work at the Greenbrier Classic. Last year Angel Cabrera won the tournament in his first week using Ping's G30 driver and this year Danny Lee emerged victorious after switching to a 9-degree Callaway XR with an Aldila Rogue Black 70x shaft. Lee hit 43 of 56 fairways (76.8 percent) for the week, ranking T-17 in that stat.
Example No. 3,467 of why "these guys are good": Robert Streb made five birdies on the back nine on Sunday at the Greenbrier Classic. Putting with his wedge.
That's pretty boss, although it would have been even more impressive if he just did it for the heck of it like in "Tin Cup" when Kevin Costner broke all his clubs except his 7-iron and parred every hole on the back nine at a U.S. Open qualifier. Instead -- as you'd probably figure -- Streb started putting with his 56-degree wedge after damaging his putter throwing it to his caddie on the ninth hole.
Streb was allowed to put a new putter in play for the three-man playoff, however, he never got a chance to use it. He missed the green with his tee shot on the par-3 18th and didn't get a chance to make a par putt after Danny Lee and David Hearn made their birdies.
Still, it was a heck of an effort. And it might just have a few weekend hackers toying with benching their flatsticks. Don't do it, guys. These guys are pros.
What would have been considered a tough week in good times is now a good week in tough times in a world turned upside down for Tiger Woods.
A cut made and an also-ran finish at the Greenbrier Classic were cause for optimism for a man who once considered anything less than victory as unacceptable.
Yet there he was on Sunday, claiming a moral victory that means who knows what in a year as unpredictable as his best years were predictable.
A bogey-free round, Tiger’s first in 56 competitive rounds, left him all smiles with a major championship on deck, the British Open at St. Andrews, where he has won twice, in 2000 and 2005.
“It’s been a very positive week,” he said following his round of three-under par 67 on Sunday. “I’ve made some nice strides heading into the British Open. I’ll do some work and be ready by Thursday [of Open week].”
The question is still this: Ready for what? In the statistical department, nothing stood out in a way that suggested he was ready to launch an assault in a bid to assume his rightful place in the golf hierarchy. At least he began to reacquaint himself with the fairway, hitting 12 of 14 of them in the final round.
“I played really well today,” he said. “I hit the ball the best I’ve hit it in a long, long time. And made absolutely nothing. I had six lip outs for birdie, so this could have been one of those special rounds. I really could have gone low.
“It’s a great sign. I had full control over all clubs. I hit it great. I had shapes both ways — right to left, left to right. I had it all on call today.”
It would not seem sufficient, one solid round, to erase the trauma of the four rounds he played prior to the Greenbrier, the last two at the Memorial and two at the U.S. Open. He played them in a collective 31 over par with a scoring average of 78.75. An 85 in the third round at Muirfield Village was the worst of his professional career.
“I thought I made a big giant step at Memorial, even though I shot those numbers,” he said. “But the pattern was set. I just had to refine it. And this week I definitely refined it. If I’d just made a couple putts, this week could have been completely different.”
We can only take his word for it. Woods tied for 32nd.
Paratore ended up shooting a one-over-par 72 with the course having four par 3s and just three par 5s. Unfortunately, that left him at eight over and well off the cut line. At the very least, he'll leave France with a unique accomplishment.
The European Tour has hosted 1,556 tournaments and more than 700,000 rounds. Before today, no one had ever made 18 fours in a round.