News

Golf’s biggest stars going in opposite directions

Golf’s biggest stars going in opposite directions

GOLF: Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, hits from the fairway on the 18th hole during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Valhalla Golf Club on Thursday, Aug. 7, in Louisville, Ky. Photo: Associated Press/Mike Groll

PAUL NEWBERRY, AP National Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The divide between golf’s two biggest names just keeps growing.

There’s Rory McIlroy, shooting another round in the 60s and looking very much like the man to beat at the PGA Championship.

Then there’s Tiger Woods, spraying shots all over Valhalla and now most concerned with making it to the weekend.

Clearly, they are two players heading in very opposite directions.

“I’m really happy with everything,” said McIlroy, who opened with a 5-under 66 on Thursday despite one bad swing that led to a double bogey. “I’ve got a good thing going right now.”

Woods can’t get anything going.

Just four days after withdrawing at Firestone because of back pain, he shot a 3-over 74 that included only one birdie — and he had to hole out from the fairway to do that.

“It wasn’t very good,” Woods said.

He faced a daunting nine-shot deficit heading to the second round. Lee Westwood, Ryan Palmer and Kevin Chappell all shot 65 on a day when plenty of players went low, taking advantage of a course that was soft and gentle.

Coming off wins at the British Open and at Firestone, McIlroy likely would’ve had the lead all to himself if not for his second shot on the par-5 10th hole. He hooked it over a fence and out-of-bounds, leading to a 7. Still shaken, he made a three-putt bogey on the next hole. Then, just like that, he bounced back with four straight birdies to get right back into the mix.

“Whenever you are confident and you have some momentum on your side, it’s easier to do what I did,” he said.

It was his 11th straight round under par, and his third straight round of 66.

Westwood followed up a season-best 63 in the final round at Firestone by matching his best score in a major championship. He made nine birdies, helping offset a double bogey of his own.

“I’ve played better rounds of golf, but I was really pleased,” he said. “I hit a lot of quality iron shots, and it felt like 65 was a fair enough score for the way I played. I got a couple of bad breaks out there, but I rolled a couple of putts in that you probably wouldn’t expect to hole.”

Latest Headlines

5 hours ago in Music

Stone Temple Pilots shoot down Scott Stapp rumors

scottstapp

Stone Temple Pilots have denied reports suggesting the former Creed rocker is set to become their new lead vocalist.

5 hours ago in Entertainment, Viral Videos

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ as told by emojis

11-overlay-2

If the blockbuster movie was told entirely by characters on your cell phone.

5 hours ago in Sports

Cavaliers beat Hawks in series opener

14-overlay-1

A week off did not disrupt the Cleveland Cavaliers' momentum, nor was it enough time to alter the Atlanta Hawks' history against them. The Cavaliers still have never lost to the Hawks in the postseason, but this one was not easy.

5 hours ago in Sports

Murray makes his mark as Pens beat Caps

capsREUTERS

The Pittsburgh Penguins do not have a goal yet in the series from Sidney Crosby. Or a power-play goal. What they do have is a 2-1 lead over the Washington Capitals.

5 hours ago in Sports

British soccer team Leicester celebrates 5,000-1 title success

leichesterREUTERS

Leicester City's Premier League title dream became reality on Monday when one of the greatest sporting fairytales reached its conclusion in west London where chasing Tottenham Hotspur were held 2-2 by Chelsea.