McIlroy’s poor form continues

first_img McIlroy won five times last year, including his second major title in the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, but has struggled to reproduce that form in 2013. The 24-year-old finished 41st in the US Open at Merion a fortnight ago and on Wednesday apologised for throwing a club and bending his nine iron out of shape during a final round of 76. Sweden’s Oscar Floren carded a six-under-par 66 to lead by one from former champion Shane Lowry, Michael Hoey, Joost Luiten, Peter Uihlein and Jean-Baptiste Gonnet. Lowry, who was still an amateur when he won at Baltray in 2009, was playing alongside McIlroy – whom he beat in the first round of the Accenture Match Play in February – while the third member of the group, the in-form Thomas Bjorn, carded a 68 that was matched by the likes of Paul Casey and former Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal. McIlroy cut a disconsolate figure after his round and there was a long pause when he was asked what was going wrong. “I don’t really know,” the world number two said. “No aspects of my game are standing out as strong. I’m hitting it well on the range and struggling hitting shots out on the course. The game is not coming as easy to me as it did last year. “Off the tee I’m missing it left and right and it’s difficult to stand on the tee and be confident that at least one side is out of play. I don’t know if it’s a case of playing through it or grinding it out on the range. “I just feel a little lost at the moment. I had a good chat with my dad and Michael Bannon (his coach) the Saturday night of the US Open and felt like we got a bit of direction from there, but it’s tough when you have rounds like this or you have tournaments where you think you’re getting somewhere and all of a sudden you’re stopped in your tracks and you’ve got to re-assess everything again. “I’m staying patient and I don’t want to say I’m accepting this, but there’s nothing else I can do apart from trying to play well, practise and try to hit better shots.” Rory McIlroy admitted to feeling “a little lost” as he struggled to a first round of 74 in the Irish Open that left him eight shots off the lead and battling to make the cut.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Miller: NBA’s offseason intrigue more riveting than regular season

first_imgKevin Durant made the cover of Sports Illustrated this month simply because he switched teams, pro basketball’s transition game again yielding in significance to its transaction game.I have to be honest, until he signed with the Lakers, Timofey Mozgov seemed about as relevant in the NBA as a Zamboni. Then, in an instant, he couldn’t have been more popular on social media had his name been Timofey Kardashian.Where players once were celebrated for breaking their opponents’ ankles, they now are recognized more for breaking their fans’ hearts.LeBron James “The Decision” is still more jarring than LeBron James “The Block,” the former also leading directly to two championships compared to only one for the latter.What these players might do in the first week of July is now undeniably titillating, particularly when compared to what they might do in the first quarter of a game in January. The TV ratings for this season’s NBA Finals were down from a year ago until Game 7 produced the highest number since Michael Jordan was making history happen for the Bulls.Yet, no one, at least based on the sheer volume being produced by various media outlets, can consume enough speculation about who’s coming, who’s going and who’s staying put.Just take Blake Griffin, who, given the rumors, is doing all three of those things and probably at the same time.Last week, the story was about the Clippers trading Griffin to Boston, perhaps at any moment. This week, the story was about Oklahoma City signing Griffin next summer to pair with Russell Westbrook.The second report ran in direct contrast to the report that had Cleveland pursuing both Griffin and Westbrook, assuming the report that had Chicago preparing to trade Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic for Griffin doesn’t happen first.At this rate, by the end of July, about the only team not linked to Griffin will be the Clippers, and they’re the ones who actually have him and, in all likelihood, will still have him when the 2016-17 season opens.Doc Rivers, who not only coaches the Clippers but also makes pretty much every important decision about the franchise not relating to Chuck the Condor, has made a point in the past of emphasizing his desire to keep Griffin.It is a well-reasoned stance, seeing how Griffin is really good at basketball and the Clippers are interested in remaining really good at basketball, too.According to those who know these things, the Clippers are focused on adding stars – that is the trend in the NBA, you know – not subtracting them.But, I will admit, we can’t be 100-percent certain about any of this stuff anymore, the only evidence needed being all those stories about how Durant was going to remain with the Thunder.There has been speculation about Griffin and the Clippers parting ways going back to the NBA trade deadline in February, when his potential landing spots were rumored to be Atlanta, Boston, New York and Denver.Eventually, someone is bound to be right about Griffin leaving, even baseball’s worst hitters – by which I mean everyone who has attempted to play left field for the Angels since 2014 — manage a batting average above .000.Until then, we must rely on the insight of “sources,” some of whom have insight that isn’t terribly insightful at all.I know The Oklahoman employs plenty of quality journalists. So I’m not sure why the newspaper felt the need to, in a story about Westbrook, report the following: “One source described him as ticked off about the Kevin Durant departure.”Really? No way. I’m pretty certain everyone else assumed this fact without consulting their sources. I mean, being abandoned in Oklahoma is bound to tick off anyone who, legally speaking, can’t be classified as livestock.But I don’t blame The Oklahoman for chasing every story angle when it comes to the Thunder. This is summer, after all, a time when the NBA is free to fascinate us without also burdening us with actual games.It is the greatest example yet of the proliferation of fantasy sports, reality having no place in a world where a player the quality of Blake Griffin, who once jumped over a car to dunk, can be passed around like an old trade-in.Yeah, so many of these rumors seem like long shots, but long shots sometimes do go in. Who knows? Soon enough, the longest of them could even be worth four points. No one knows basketball success quite like Phil Jackson, who can’t even wear all his NBA title rings simultaneously unless he pierces his ears with two of them and sticks the 13th through his nose.So it was notable recently when Jackson suggested the league could increase its appeal by adding a 4-point shot.Like the idea or not, you have to appreciate Jackson trying to come up with a way of making things more interesting.Frankly, these days, the NBA offseason is way more entertaining than the NBA in season; the games are helplessly definitive while the off-court possibilities are limitless – in both number and intrigue.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more