Devil Ball Golf

  • Fowler defends McIlroy, says pros can't live in a bubble to avoid injury

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 1 day ago

    Rory McIlroy withdrew from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Monday, citing a rib injury that could have him out for weeks. McIlroy attributed the injury, in part, to vigorous off-season practice to find new equipment to play in 2017. It’s also known McIlroy, like many modern players, is a gym rat and works out pretty hard.

    Of course, McIlroy’s critics chastised the Ulsterman in the wake of his withdrawal, suggesting the four-time major winner should take it easy and not do things that could injure his body. Then again, many of those same critics said the same thing when McIlroy injured himself while playing a friendly soccer game in 2015, forcing him to miss his title defense at the British Open.

    Defending Abu Dhabi champion Rickie Fowler doesn’t see it that way. Fowler believes, like any sane person, that pro golfers can’t seclude themselves and only hit golf balls all day and night.

    Fowler did say that he has walked away from dirt-bike riding and racing in recent years, but that’s really the only activity he’s shied away from since becoming a top-15 player in the world.

  • Phil Mickelson will play, after all, in CareerBuilder Challenge

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 1 day ago

    After a little bit of will-he-won’t-he, Phil Mickelson is going to play in the CareerBuilder Challenge this week, the first year Mickelson is considered the ambassador (read: sort-of host) of the event.

    There had been some doubt if Mickelson would play after the five-time major winner had a pair of off-season surgeries to repair a sports hernia he dealt with throughout 2016. Following an October procedure that had him on pace to start the year in the California desert, a second surgery in December led to some speculation Mickelson would be unable to compete. Then last Friday, Mickelson’s name remained on the list of tournament entries when the official deadline to commit was reached. Mickelson had said earlier in the week that it would be a last-minute decision.

    Mickelson will play with two-time tournament winner and all-time event money leader Bill Haas for the first three rounds of the event as the professionals and amateurs in the event cycle through the three-course rotation of La Quinta Country Club, as well the Nicklaus Tournament and TPC Stadium courses at PGA West for the first three rounds. Mickelson and Haas will play with two amateurs on Thursday at 8:40 a.m. local time.

  • Changes made to 2018 European Ryder Cup qualifying process

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 1 day ago

    After suffering a resounding defeat to the Americans — for just the first time since 2008 — in the Ryder Cup last fall, the European side and the European Tour have jointly announced changes to the qualifying process which they hope will give new captain Thomas Bjorn more opportunity to field a team of 12 players in peak form when the biennial matches resume in Paris next year.

    “The change to our minimum tournament requirement will help many of our members who play around the world but who, at the same time, wish to remain loyal to the European Tour,” said European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley.

    As for the Americans and new captain Jim Furyk, there has been no announcement of changes to the qualifying process for their side.

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

  • Rory McIlroy withdraws from Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with rib injury

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 2 days ago

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    A day after finishing runner-up at the BMW SA Open in South Africa, world No. 2 Rory McIlroy withdrew from this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in the United Arab Emirates, citing a rib injury.

    “It’s bitterly disappointing to have to withdraw from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship,” McIlroy said in a statement released by the European Tour. “I think everyone knows how much I love playing this tournament, which is one of the best on the European Tour.

    “To be forced to miss this week through injury is really quite annoying to be perfectly honest, but I am sure the tournament will be a huge success and I hope everyone involved has a great week. In situations like this you simply have to listen to the experts, and the team I have consulted have all advised me to rest until my rib has fully recovered.”

  • Mickelson 'hopeful' to compete in CareerBuilder Challenge

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 3 days ago

    Phil Mickelson is in his first year at the ambassador — basically, the host — of the CareerBuilder Challenge, scheduled to start on Thursday. However, a pair of off-season sports hernia surgeries have his place in the field in doubt.

    At the Friday deadline to commit to the event, Mickelson’s name remained on the field list, suggesting the five-time major winner isn’t ready to abandon plans to play.

    Then on Saturday, a Mickelson spokesman told Golf Channel that the left-hander is “hopeful” to compete in the event in the California desert.

    Mickelson last played on the PGA Tour in October at the season-opening Safeway Open in Napa, Calif. Then he underwent the first of his two sports hernia surgeries, followed by another in December.

    If Mickelson is unable to play at the CareerBuilder, he’s committed to play in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, just outside of San Diego, the following week.

  • Rory McIlroy to undergo MRI for back injury suffered in SA Open

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 3 days ago

    Rory McIlroy finished the playoff runner-up on Sunday at the BMW SA Open, but he was frankly fortunate to finish the tournament at all.

    McIlroy suffered a back injury before his second round on Friday in Johannesburg, South Africa, and it led to an up-and-down round that included eight consecutive one-putt greens. The world No. 2 had considered withdrawing before the round, but he played through the pain and got through 75 holes of competition before losing to winner Graeme Storm on the third playoff hole.

    Ahead of his planned start at this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, McIlroy will have an MRI on Monday.

    “I am going for a scan tomorrow,” McIlroy said. “I fly to Dubai tonight and then will go for an MRI tomorrow just to see what’s up with this joint in my back. It was manageable this week with tape and a few pills, so I am fine, but first and foremost I have to get fully fit and healthy again and hopefully I’ll be all right to play next week.

    “We will see what happens, but like I said, it is manageable with the tape and a few anti-inflammatories, but it’s not 100 percent.”

  • Graeme Storm upsets Rory McIlroy in SA Open playoff

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 4 days ago

    It seemed as though Graeme Storm had lost his European Tour card last season by the slimmest of margins, missing out on finishing inside the top 111 in the Race to Dubai in order to maintain status. The ramifications on his career would be huge.

    Then, Patrick Reed, who has European Tour membership, decided not to play in the Turkish Airlines Open, leaving him short of the five European Tour-specific events required to be a member. All of a sudden, Storm had a reprieve, given his card back by sliding into the top 111.

    Storm took full advantage of his career revival on Sunday, holding off Rory McIlroy on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff to win the BMW SA Open in South Africa.

    Both Storm and McIlroy finished regulation at 18-under 270 at Glendower Golf Club, and they each made par 4s on the 18th hole during each of the first two holes of the playoff. Then McIlroy missed the green the third time around, unable to get up and down for par with an 8-foot putt. Storm, who found the center of the green again, converted the two-putt for the winning par.

    The win is the 38-year-old Storm’s first on the European Tour since the 2007 French Open.

  • New PGA Tour commissioner open to possible legal sports betting

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 5 days ago

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    New PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is keeping an open mind to all kinds of new opportunities and avenues now that he is at the helm — including not shutting the door on an embrace of legalized sports betting.

    “You look at [daily fantasy sports providers] DraftKings and Fan Duel, you look at gaming in the international markets, there’s a lot of opportunity there,” Monahan said in a Tuesday interview with Golf Channel. “There’s some complexity, and that complexity has held us back from moving forward. But we will look at it and have an open mind toward it.”

    Sports betting is only legal in a few American states, including full sports betting in Nevada. However, through online off-shore sportsbooks and local bookmakers, Americans are estimated to wager in the hundreds of billions on sports each year. Overseas, particularly in Europe, sports betting is legal and in the open, with books sponsoring sports teams and leagues.

    There is some legislative momentum to bring about an overhaul of federal gambling laws, including allowing sports betting and clearing the way for more regulated and taxed online gambling sites.

  • Tokyo governor implores 2020 Olympic golf host club to admit women

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 5 days ago

    Yet again, golf faces a conflict over a high-profile club and its membership practices.

    Kasumigaseki Country Club will host the men’s and women’s Olympic golf tournaments during the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The problem is that the club doesn’t admit women as full members. It’s a practice Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike would like to see changed. She has asked the club personally to admit female members.

    “I feel very uncomfortable about women not being able to become a regular member in this era,” Koike said Friday, according to Reuters.

    Women are also reportedly banned from playing at the club on Sundays — which seems an obvious optics problems considering Olympic medals will be on the line for women, perhaps on a Sunday, at the course.

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

  • Woody Austin unwittingly shoots 59 in Diamond Resorts Invitational

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 5 days ago

    Breaking 60 has become so passe in golf that Woody Austin did it on Friday in the first round of the Diamond Resorts Invitational … and didn’t know he’d done it.

    We kid, of course; shooting 59 or better is still a big deal. However, Austin wasn’t keeping track of his strokes in the conventional sense at the Orlando event. The field, which features a mix of 27 PGA Tour Champions and four LPGA Tour pros, as well 47 celebrities, is being contested under the modified Stableford scoring system. Austin made 10 birdies and an eagle, adding up to 43 points and first place among the pros. It also added up to 59 at the par-71 Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons Resort.

    “I really never thought about it until I birdied 16,” Austin said. “That got me to 11 under and I thought, OK.”

    The thing is, Austin didn’t know the host course was a par-71 track. So when he walked off the 18th hole, he had no idea of what he accomplished.

    “I didn’t know it was a par-71 so when I walked off the last green I thought I shot 60,” Austin said. “Everybody goes, ‘No, it’s a par-71.’ So, ah, cool.”