Tag Archives: mcilroy

MASTERS 2013 BETTING GUIDE: Rory McIlroy and Matt Kuchar among our top tips for Augusta glory

MASTERS BETTING GUIDE: McIlroy and Kuchar among our top tips for Augusta glory

and the likeable 34-year-old, with his length off the tee and touch on the greens, can go close again.

Already a winner this year at the Accenture Match Play, Kuchar is 40-1 with Bwin.

Ian Poulter

Lee
Westwood, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose led the English charge with
top-10 finishes last year and a case can be made for all three this time round.

Westwood has settled well since moving to America and Justin Rose is up to No 3 in the world but our money is on Poulter.

Don't
expect the fist pumps and bulging eyes from Medinah but if he can play
like he did at the Ryder Cup he can better last year's seventh place.

Get on him at 40-1 (widely available) and take advantage of Coral offering 11-2 on him being top Englishman.

Augusta
National is often a graveyard for rookies – Fuzzy Zoeller was the last
man to win here on his first visit and that was way back in 1979.

Eighteen
debutants tee it up this Thursday and bookies have Nicolas Colsaerts at
the head of the betting for this market. We won't be arguing.

The
Belgian bomber has been like a kid in a sweetshop since driving down
Magnolia Lane for the first time and while a Green Jacket might be too
much to ask, expect his to still be wearing that big grin on Sunday
night. He's 5-1 to be top rookie.

* All prices correct at time of publication – subject to change

MASTERS 2013 PREVIEW: Tiger Woods must wake up and smell the azaleas: he"ll need his driver to win

MASTERS PREVIEW: Tiger must wake up and smell the azaleas: he'll need his driver to win a fifth Green Jacket this week

-Picture-archive-Seve-Ballesteros-Jack-NIcklaus-Ben-Hogan-Tiger-Woods-Sandy-Lyle.html#ixzz2Q3O0jnsU” target=”_blank”>The Masters picture archive: Sandy dances a jig, Seve is a genius at work, Hogan eyes his prey, and more from the Augusta vaults…

Despite blowing away the opposition during his three wins this season, Woods has generally kept his driver in the bag where possible, and with good reason. Tiger ranks way down in 147th spot on the PGA Tour for driving accuracy this year, and has had to rely on his near-peerless shotmaking powers to recover from all sorts of bother – witness his stunning par save from water at the Honda Classic in March.

Whoever wins this week will need to shape his driver from right to left round Augusta's famous doglegs, and that opens the door for the world's best with the long stick – the likes of Westwood, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Keegan Bradley, Louis Oosthuizen and Dustin Johnson.

It also favours the left-handers, who are able to hit less risky fades off the tee – and explains why Mike Weir, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson have won in the last 10 years since the course was lengthened in the wake of Tiger's mauling in 1997. Expect three-time winner Mickelson and defending champion Watson to be in the mix down the stretch on Sunday once again.

It is often said that short-game expertise is the key to taming Augusta's notoriously tricky greens. But, while the winner will be no slouch with the wedge or putter, it is a power game that tames Bobby Jones' design these days.

Painful memories: Rory McIlroy has had two meltdowns in the last two years at Augusta

Painful memories: Rory McIlroy has had two meltdowns in the last two years at Augusta

Rory McIlroy

And there's one other chap who's pretty handy with a driver too. Rory McIlroy often looks like a kid in a candy shop at Augusta – make that a kid in a pro shop with his visit for souveneirs on Tuesday – and with good reason. On form, there's no better driver in all of golf than the world No 2. This course is made for him. He is destined to win here one day.

Masters masters…

Augusta's champions since Tiger's last triumph:

2012 Bubba Watson
2011 Charl Schwartzel
2010 Phil Mickelson
2009 ngel Cabrera
2008 Trevor Immelman
2007 Zach Johnson
2006 Phil Mickelson

But will this be his year Not if he plays like he has for most of the time since his controversial switch to Nike clubs. He'll have to stay on the course for the entire four days for starters, which he spectacularly failed to do at the Honda Classic, where he stormed off the course blaming his state of mind and then toothache.

The words 'McIlroy' and 'meltdown' sit together uncomfortably easily at Augusta too, after his final-round implosion in 2011 (remember that tee shot on 10 Not many golfers are synonymous with a cabin off a fairway, but he is), and again last year, when the Ulsterman and Sergio Garcia embraced on the 12th green after a third-round horror show.

But McIlroy's 11th hour decision to play in Texas last week led to a much-needed second-place finish and a huge boost to his confidence. Rory has a habit of turning his fortunes round quickly and on the grandest of stages – his two major wins have come immediately after periods of poor form and/or traumatic on-course experiences. So why not again here this week

England awaits: Justin Rose (left), Ian Poulter (right) and Lee Westwood (below) all have a good chance

England awaits: Justin Rose (left), Ian Poulter (right) and Lee Westwood (below) all have a good chance

England awaits: Justin Rose (left), Ian Poulter (right) and Lee Westwood (below) all have a good chance

McIlroy or anyone hailing from these shores will be battling history. 2013 marks 25 years since Sandy Lyle became the first UK golfer to win at Augusta but there has been no winner from these isles since Nick Faldo's comeback of all comebacks over Greg Norman in 1996.

Northern Irish players have taken the title at four of the last 11 majors, and McIlroy again looks most likely to triumph from the home nations.

No Tiger, no great champions

The list of Major winners since Woods won his 14th and last major at the 2008 US Open divides opinion.

Some have heralded a great and unpredictable period full of brilliant golfers, while others have suggested none have the class of Woods.

2012 Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Ernie Els Rory McIlroy

2011 Charl Schwartzel, Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke, Keegan Bradley

2010 Phil Mickelson, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer

2009 Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink, YE Yang

2008 Padraig Harrington (x2)

But Rose is in the form of his life, has a good record at Augusta and proved he can do it on the biggest stage of all when beating Mickelson at the Ryder Cup last year. Westwood is always in the mix here come Sunday, Ian Poulter reserves his best golf for when he can grab the most attention, and Graeme McDowell always seems to contend at majors these days.

So there is more than a little hope that the long wait will finally end this year. Just so long as none of them wins the traditional Par-Three Tournament on Wednesday. No-one has ever triumphed in that and gone on to win a Green Jacket four days later, as Luke Donald found to his cost two years ago.

Arguably though, the par threes are the least important holes at Augusta. The champion will have to take apart the par-fives – Watson went -8 on these holes last year – while the par-fours will separate the men from the boys (and that probably includes 14-year-old Guan Tianlang, the extraordinary Chinese who will become the youngest Masters competitor ever on Thursday, but whose tee shots will probably prove too short at 250 yards to compete.)

The two-shotters at the Cathedral of Pines ranked the second hardest of all courses on the PGA Tour last year, and collectively played at an average score of 0.2 strokes over par.

Dangermen: Keegan Bradley (above) and Phil Mickelson both boast power games that can tame the course

Dangermen: Keegan Bradley (above) and Phil Mickelson both boast power games that can tame the course

Dangermen: Keegan Bradley (above) and Phil Mickelson both boast power games that can tame the course
Shooting a number

3 – Number of players who have successfully defended their Masters title (Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Tiger Woods)

0 – Number of Australians who have won The Masters

63 – The course record for a single round, held by Nick Price and Greg Norman.

270 – Lowest winning score in history, shot by Tiger Woods, aged 21, in 1997.

23 – Number of holes-in-one at the Masters.

If the wind picks up, as is forecast for Thursday and Friday, more than a few of the favourites will be blown off course. But the sun is set to shine over the weekend, which usually means low scoring, roars echoing around the trees, and what is often the most nerve-shredding, adrenaline-rushing Sunday at any golf tournament in the world.

The good weather in Georgia this Spring has also provided a much-needed boost for those of us suffering in the chill winds this side of the pond. After last year's early bloom, August's galaxy of flowers have exploded into colour in perfect time for this year's Masters.

Woods will need to wake up and smell the azaleas: he needs his driver to win here this week.

THE 77TH MASTERS TOURNAMENT

Course: Augusta National Golf Club, par 72, 7435 yards.

Defending champion: Bubba Watson.

TV: All four days on Sky Sports. Par-three contest from 7.00pm on Wednesday.
COverage of rounds one, two and three start at 7pm, round four from 6pm on Sunday.
Day one and two highlights on BBC, plus round three from 8.30pm and round four from 7pm.

Bookies’ favourite: Tiger Woods.

Three to watch

RORY MCILROY – You bet he's the one to watch. This course is made for the Northern Irishman, but has he found his form again after a horrible start to 2013 And, perhaps even more importantly, has he got over his two meltdowns in the last two years at Augusta

ADAM SCOTT – Recent history suggests great drivers do well at Augusta, and there's few to rival the big Aussie with the big dog. Went close in 2011, went even closer at Lytham last summer… it's only a matter of time before he nails a major.

LEE WESTWOOD – His last three visits have yielded finishes of second (2010), 11th (2011) and and third (2012). Has improved on his short game in Florida this year, which could make the difference in his final major before he turns 40.

Bandit

MATT KUCHAR – Boasts a game that rarely breaks down and a Cheshire Cat smile whatever happens on the course. Has also developed a taste for winning big in the last year, as his PLAYERS and WGC-Accenture Match Play title prove. The American revival is gathering momentum after the Ryder Cup – watch out, Europe.

In bloom: Augusta National is looking its best ahead of the 77th edition of The Masters

In bloom: Augusta National is looking its best ahead of the 77th edition of The Masters

MASTERS GROUPINGS AND TEE-TIMES (BST)

1:00pm S Lyle (Sco), J Peterson (USA), N Smith (USA)

1:11pm L Mize (USA), B Gay (USA), R Henley (USA)

1:22pm I Woosnam (Wal), D Lynn (Eng), K Na (USA)

1:33pm D Toms (USA), R Sterne (Rsa), T Potter Jr (USA)

1:44pm T Watson (USA), R Moore (USA), K Streelman (USA)

1:55pm R Garrigus (USA), C Pettersson (Swe), T Clark (Rsa)

2:06pm M Weir (Can), L Westwood (Eng), J Furyk (USA)

2:17pm B Snedeker (USA), R Ishikawa (Jpn), J Rose (Eng)

2:28pm J Olazabal (Esp), M Leishman (Aus), T Vogel (USA)

2:39pm C Schwartzel (Rsa), W Simpson (USA), P Hanson (Swe)

2:50pm Z Johnson (USA), KJ Choi (Kor), G McDowell (NIr)

3:12pm M Thompson (USA), J Huh (USA), J Senden (Aus)

3:23pm S Cink (USA), N Colsaerts (Bel), T Wiratchant (Tha)

3:34pm B Watson (USA), I Poulter (Eng), S Fox (USA)

3:45pm T Woods (USA), L Donald (Eng), S Piercy (USA)

3:56pm J. Day (Aus), R Fowler (USA), P Harrington (Irl)

4:07pm J Merrick (USA), T Olesen (Den), DA Points (USA)

4:18pm C Stadler (USA), B Curtis (USA), M Weaver (USA)

4:29pm M O'Meara (USA), M Laird (Sco), J Donaldson (Wal)

4:40pm P Lawrie (Sco), T Bjorn (Den), G Fernandez-Castano (Esp)

4:51pm T Immelman (Rsa), G Coetzee (Rsa), A Dunbar (NIr)

5:13pm E Els (Rsa), S Stricker (USA), N Watney (USA)

5:24pm B Crenshaw (USA), M Manassero (Ita), T Guan (Chn)

5:35pm B Langer (Ger), L Glover (USA), H Stenson (Swe)

5:46pm V Singh (Fij), B Van Pelt (USA), YE Yang (Kor)

5:57pm A Cabrera (Arg), S Garcia (Esp), A Scott (Aus)

6:08pm F Couples (USA), D Johnson (USA), B Grace (Rsa)

6:19pm H Mahan (USA), H Fujita (Jpn), F Molinari (Ita)

6:30pm P Mickelson (USA), L Oosthuizen (Rsa), M Kaymer (Ger)

6:41pm R McIlroy (Nir), K Bradley (USA), F Jacobson (Swe)

6:52pm J Dufner (USA), M Kuchar (USA), B Haas (USA)

Texas Open – PGA Tour: Rory McIlroy shoots five-under second round to move two shots behind the lead

Rory's back in the groove! McIlroy shoots five-under second round to close in on Texas lead

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

23:55 GMT, 5 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

00:06 GMT, 6 April 2013

LIVE LEADERBOARD

Click HERE for the latest scores from the Texas Open in San Antonio

Rory McIlroy allayed fears about the state of his game by storming into contention at the Valero Texas Open.

With the Masters just days away, the world No 2 shot a five-under-par 67 to follow his even-par opening round, and move three behind leader Billy Horschel in San Antonio.

The Northern Irishman was a late entry for this tournament as he desperately sought to play himself into form for Augusta, and by the looks of today's performance he has done precisely that.

Strong showing: Rory McIlroy carded a five-under round of 67 to finish three shots off the lead in San Antonio

Strong showing: Rory McIlroy carded a five-under round of 67 to finish three shots off the lead in San Antonio

Improvement: McIlroy started the day at level par after his opening round 72

Improvement: McIlroy started the day at level par after his opening round 72

He finished off with birdies at 16, 17 and 18 to make an already good round a quite excellent one, tying with Charley Hoffman and KJ Choi for the lowest score of the day.

McIlroy had a 25-foot eagle putt at the last to go into a share of the lead, and he put it close, but he would have settled for five under at the start of the round and made sure of that by tapping in from inside a foot.

Charley Hoffman, Daniel Summerhays and Steven Bowditch were in the clubhouse on six under, before back-to-back birdies from Horschel moved him two clear at eight-under.

In his stride: McIlroy entered at late notice

In his stride: McIlroy entered at late notice

Leader: Billy Horschel moved to eight-under-par

Leader: Billy Horschel moved to eight-under-par

Meanwhile, Ian Poulter’s attempt to use the Valero Texas Open to help get ready for the Masters threatened to leave him even more short of confidence instead.

Europe’s Ryder Cup hero, who has slipped outside the world top 10, went almost immediately to the driving range to do more work after his second round 75 left him one over for the tournament, just inside the cut.

Poulter tweeted: ‘On the range giving myself a talking to. I was utter dog meat today. Absolutely disgraceful off the tee. But I can still win. No mistakes.’

Struggle: Ian Poulter carded a round of 75 to end day two one-over-par

Struggle: Ian Poulter carded a round of 75 to end day two one-over-par

Struggle: Ian Poulter carded a round of 75 to end day two one-over-par

Later he added: ‘I hit two out of 14
fairways. That’s just simply s***. I’m so mad it’s crazy. Just hit 100
drives on the range and sorted it.’

He drove into the rough at the first hole and missed two short putts, then it got worse as he double-bogeyed the second.

Tiger Woods tops world rankings after Arnold Palmer Invitational win

Tiger back on top of the world after victory march at Arnold Palmer Invitational

: Returns to top 10 with victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

June 3, 2012: Returns to top five with win in the Memorial Tournament

2013: Closes gap on leader Rory McIlroy with early-season wins at Farmers Insurance Open and WGC-Cadillac Championship.

March 25, 2013: Returns to number one spot by winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Woods has also won the Farmers Insurance Open and the Cadillac Championship this year as he prepares for next month's Masters.

The 37-year-old, who announced he was in a relationship with skier Lindsey Vonn last week, is the bookies' favourite for Augusta as he bids to win the Green Jacket for a fifth time.

Rickie Fowler was Tiger's playing partner for the final round but his challenge hit the buffers when he put two in the water at the 16th.

More to follow…

The one to watch: The 14-time major champion Woods had plenty of support in Orlando

The one to watch: The 14-time major champion Woods had plenty of support in Orlando

Taste for success: Tiger, with caddie Joe LaCava, has a quick bite to eat as he walks up the sixth fairway

Taste for success: Tiger, with caddie Joe LaCava, has a quick bite to eat as he walks up the sixth fairway

Keeping it interesting: Woods had the odd wobble on the tee but he was able to recover

Keeping it interesting: Woods had the odd wobble on the tee but he was able to recover

Gave it a go: Rickie Fowler was Woods' playing partner for the final round at Bay Hill

Gave it a go: Rickie Fowler was Woods' playing partner for the final round at Bay Hill

THE WORLD No 1s SINCE WOODS

Tiger Woods was world No 1 for 281 weeks in a row between June 12, 2005 and October 30, 2010.

Since then four different players have held top spot:

LEE WESTWOOD (17 weeks)
October 31, 2010 to February 26, 2011

MARTIN KAYMER (Eight weeks)
February 27 to April 23, 2011

WESTWOOD (Five weeks)
April 24, 2011 to May 28, 2011

LUKE DONALD (40 weeks)
May 29, 2011 to March 3, 2012

RORY McILROY (Two weeks)
March 4 to 17, 2012

DONALD (Four weeks)
March 18 to April 14, 2012

McILROY (Two weeks)
April 15 to 28, 2012

DONALD (One week)
April 29 to May 5, 2012

McILROY (Three weeks)
May 6 to 26, 2012

DONALD (11 weeks)
May 27 to August 11, 2012

McILROY (32 weeks)
Aug 12, 2012 to Mar 25 2013

Rory McIlroy plans humanitarian mission to Haiti

McIlroy plans humanitarian mission to Haiti during build-up to Masters

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

15:14 GMT, 25 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:14 GMT, 25 March 2013

Rory McIlroy will spend part of his week before the Masters on a humanitarian mission in Haiti.

McIlroy says he will meet with children and their families April 1 and 2 to see how their lives have changed since the 2010 earthquake that ravaged the country. McIlroy also made a trip to Haiti before going to the U.S. Open in 2011. He won his first major at Congressional with a record score.

Heading back: McIlroy will return to Haiti, where he spent time in 2011

Heading back: McIlroy will return to Haiti, where he spent time in 2011 following the disastrous earthquake

Laying low: McIlroy has been spending time with his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki in Florida

Laying low: McIlroy has been spending time with his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki in Florida

Laying low: McIlroy has been spending time with his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki in Florida

McIlroy is an Ireland ambassador to UNICEF and has geared his own charity work toward children.

The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland says he is excited to return. He calls Haiti an inspiring and humbling country where children face daily struggles. McIlroy says he hopes his presence can create international awareness of the plight Haitian children are facing.

Out on the range: McIlroy rocked up at a local course to hit some ball on the driving range

Out on the range: McIlroy recently rocked up at a local course in Miami to hit some ball on the driving range

Out on the range: McIlroy rocked up at a local course to hit some ball on the driving range

Caroline Wozniacki poses for photoshoot – PICTURE SPECIAL

At least she's in fine form! Struggling McIlroy's girlfriend Wozniacki poses in steamy shoot to launch underwear range

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

18:53 GMT, 19 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:49 GMT, 19 March 2013

After apologising for storming off at the Honda Classic and struggling to get to grips with his new set of clubs, it's hardly been a stellar start to the golf season for Rory McIlroy.

But the world No 1 golfer's girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki, has hit some fine form in this steamy photo shoot.

The 22-year-old tennis star, who was beaten by Maria Sharapova in the BNP Paribas Open final last week, has been in solid form on the court this year.

Scroll down for video

Stunner: Caroline Wozniacki models her new underwear range with Danish company JBS

Stunner: Caroline Wozniacki models her new underwear range with Danish company JBS

But now she's attracting attention outside the white lines too.

The former world No 1 has teamed up with Danish company JBS to launch her own line of underwear – and posed for a series of raunchy shots to promote her new product.

The new range Wozniacki has launched has been called 'this is me'.

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki

Raunchy: Wozniacki launched he range which she says reflect who she is as a person

Caroline Wozniacki

Rory McIlroy

Under par: Golfer Rory McIlroy (right), Wozniacki's boyfriend, has struggled so far this season

Wozniacki's description of the 'sexy, durable underwear' says: 'What I wear reflects who I am.

'That’s why I chose to create my own underwear collection for the girl who wants the good looks from fashion, a perfect fit for her body, and a quality that’s hard to beat.'

The photoshoot was also filmed too for good measure. Click the link below to watch the Danish star in action.

In action: Wozniacki lost to Maria Sharapova at the BNP Paribas Open last week

In action: Wozniacki lost to Maria Sharapova at the BNP Paribas Open last week

VIDEO Watch Caroline Wozniacki pose in her new underwear range

Caroline Wozniacki bares all for sexy underwear range advert

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Rory McIlroy admits he was wrong to storm off at Honda Classic

It was the wrong thing to do, admits McIlroy after storming off at Honda Classic

By
Derek Lawrenson

PUBLISHED:

00:48 GMT, 5 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:16 GMT, 5 March 2013

Rory McIlroy had barely made it back to his new home ten miles away on Jupiter Island on that fateful Friday last week when he knew he had done the wrong thing.

As Jack Nicklaus so wisely opined, if only he had thought for five minutes, he wouldn't have done it.

In an interview with American magazine Sports Illustrated last night, McIlroy held up his hand and admitted it was a terrible mistake to walk off the course after eight completed holes of his second round at the Honda Classic.

Backtracking: Rory McIlroy is now saying he was wrong to walk off

Backtracking: Rory McIlroy is now saying he was wrong to walk off

Whatever has been said in the aftermath
during the storm that has become McIl-gate, 'I have probably said to
myself,' he commented.

'It was the wrong thing to do,' added
McIlroy, and with those seven words he did what he's always done on the
few occasions he has made mistakes, and taken full responsibility for
his actions.

World No 1: But the defending champion insisted he wasn't in the right frame of mind to play on

World No 1: But the defending champion insisted he wasn't in the right frame of mind to play on

'It was a reactive decision. What I
should have done is take my drop, chip it on, try to make a five and
play my hardest on the back nine, even if I shot 85,' he said.

'What I
did was not good for the tournament, and not good for the kids and fans
who were watching me.' Mcilroy said at the time he was 'not in a good
place mentally,' and then a statement was issued on his behalf an hour
later blaming a sore wisdom tooth.

Concerning: There had been no signs that McIlroy was about to withdraw

Concerning: There had been no signs that McIlroy was about to withdraw

The latter is an ongoing problem –
his Belfast dentist Mark Conroy has faxed a letter to the PGA Tour
describing the problem – but McIlroy admitted it can be treated with
painkillers and did not constitute the sort of injury that would be a
mitigating reason for walking in.

This, after all, is the man who played
on with a badly strained tendon in his wrist after damaging it while
playing from off a tree root at the 2011 USPGA Championship.

McIlroy will learn from this, like he
always does. He will learn that it is always best to come clean, and not
seek to pull the wool over people's eyes. Here's betting he never walks
off a course again.

Miserable: The Northern Irishman did not appear to be enjoying himself

Miserable: The Northern Irishman did not appear to be enjoying himself

McIlroy breaks four-day Twitter silence

For every complex problem, there is a simple solution. #FTB

Now it's time to work on those damn
swing issues that are far more infuriating than a bad tooth.

McIlroy admitted to suffering teething problems since his switch from Mike. 'The driver and the ball took some time to get used to, but I had weeks at Nike before the start of the year, and I feel comfortable with all the equipment,' he said. 'The problem is, I’m bringing the club too upright on the backswing then dropping it in too much on the downswing.'

The next
time he will be seen in public is tomorrow at Doral and the WGC-Cadillac
Championship.

Caught in the act McIlroy had been pictured eating a sandwich, despite later claiming a tooth ache

Caught in the act McIlroy had been pictured eating a sandwich, despite later claiming a tooth ache

Regret: He has since withdrawn that as an excuse

Regret: He has since withdrawn that as an excuse

Rory McIlroy still backing Paul McGinley over Colin Montgomerie for Ryder Cup capatin

Forget Monty, McGinley is the man! McIlroy still backing Irishman for Ryder Cup captain

By
Derek Lawrenson

PUBLISHED:

08:35 GMT, 15 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:06 GMT, 15 January 2013

Rory McIlroy ramped up the
pressure on Europe’s Tournament Players’ Committee on Tuesday by
repeating his insistence that Paul McGinley had to be the next Ryder Cup
captain.

The 15-man committee meet on Tuesday
night to nominate the successor to Jose Maria Olazabal and speculation
has grown in recent days that Colin Montgomerie, the skipper at Celtic
Manor in 2010, might get the nod for a second term at Gleneagles next
year.

Scroll down for video

Backing: Rory McIlroy wants Paul McGinley to captain the European team at the 2014 Ryder Cup

Backing: Rory McIlroy wants Paul McGinley to captain the European team at the 2014 Ryder Cup

In the money: McIlroy was unveiled as Nike's latest big-name signing in Abu Dhabi

In the money: McIlroy was unveiled as Nike's latest big-name signing in Abu Dhabi

‘I have a very strong opinion about
this and I’d be disappointed if it was Monty,’ said McIlroy.

‘I firmly
believe that captaincy should be a one-time thing. I first played under
Paul at the Seve Trophy in 2009 and he is the best captain I have played
under, and deserves his chance. His attention to detail his second to
none and he is also very inspirational.’

McIlroy believes that the voice of the players who worked their miracle at Medinah last year ought to be heard.

‘When you have myself, and Poults
(Ian Poulter), Luke (Donald) and several others all saying the same thing,
I’d like to think our opinion is valid,’ he said.

Next in line Paul McGinley

Take two: Colin Montgomerie could return

Decision: Paul McGinley (left) is tipped to lead Europe but Colin Montgomerie could be back for a second term

Australian Open 2013: Caroline Wozniacki wins in first round

Caroline overcomes slow start to ensure double success for Wozzilroy after Rory's Nike deal

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

02:20 GMT, 15 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

03:47 GMT, 15 January 2013

Former world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki rallied from a set and 3-0 down in the decider to win her first-round match at the Australian Open 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 against Sabine Lisicki of Germany.

The 10th-seeded Danish player only hit 12 winners to 45 for Lisicki, but the big-hitting German also made 57 unforced errors to just eight for Wozniacki.

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki

In the hunt: Caroline Wozniacki was made to fight against Sabine Lisicki

Wozniacki's form coming into the Australian Open wasn't encouraging – losing in the first round at the Brisbane International and the second round at Sydney.

She was the top-seeded player last year at Melbourne Park before losing in the quarter-finals.

On Monday, her golfer boyfriend Rory McIlroy signed a lucrative multi-year contract with Nike.

Tough: Wozniacki was forced to come from behind against Lisicki

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Rory McIlroy signs Nike deal in Abu Dhabi to set him on way to billion dollar prize

Billion dollar Rory! Nike deal sets McIlroy on his way to UK record haul… but Ryder Cup storm clouds threaten his Abu Dhabi party

By
Derek Lawrenson

PUBLISHED:

22:48 GMT, 14 January 2013

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UPDATED:

23:09 GMT, 14 January 2013

Dude, is that your real hair

Watch the first Nike advert featuring both new signing Rory McIlroy and original superstar Tiger Woods.

Rory McIlroy took a major step to becoming the United Kingdom's first billion-dollar sportsman after he was officially unveiled as a Nike athlete.

At a press conference in Abu Dhabi filled with glitz and glamour, the Northern Irishman, 23, signed a $25million-a-year (about 15.5m) contract that, alongside tournament earnings and appearance fees of similar magnitude, could see him break the 10-figure earnings barrier before he finishes his glittering career.

Jack Nicklaus was 46 when he won his last major and the legendary Arnold Palmer is still raking in $20m (about 12.4m) a year in sponsorship despite now being in his eighties.

Just done it: Rory McIlroy has signed a sponsorship deal with Nike that will see him net 155m

Just done it: Rory McIlroy has signed a sponsorship deal with Nike that will see him net 155m

Just done it: Rory McIlroy has signed a sponsorship deal with Nike that will see him net 155m

If McIlroy can avoid the scandals that have affected other Nike athletes such as Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong and keep his form, that gargantuan billion-dollar figure is clearly within range.

McIlroy was welcomed into the fold by fellow Nike superstars Wayne Rooney, Roger Federer and Woods himself. Messages of support from the trio were played on a big screen behind where McIlroy and Cindy Davis, president of Nike Golf, were sitting.

Spectacular: McIlroy's image was projected onto water at a glitzy ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Monday

Spectacular: McIlroy's image was projected onto water at a glitzy ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Monday

Spectacular: McIlroy's image was projected onto water at a glitzy ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Monday

No details of the Nike deal have been revealed but the initial contract is believed to be worth up to $25m a year and could run for a decade. That equates to around $68,000 (over 42,000) a day but McIlroy vowed not to let the staggering sums of money distract him from his game.

Rory the cleaner's son mops up

Read Derek Lawrenson's verdict on the sponsorship deal that everyone is talking about…

'I don't play golf for money, I am well past that,' he said. 'I am a major champion and world No 1, which I have always dreamed of being, and I want to keep on living the dream. If I haven't won another major by the end of this year I am going to be very disappointed.'

McIIroy's megabucks deal heralded what promises to be a momentous week in Abu Dhabi, with Europe's Ryder Cup captain due to be announced on Tuesday.

The Holywood star reiterated his backing for Paul McGinley but there are plenty of whispers that the 15-man Tournament Players' Committee, who have the vote, might go for Scot Colin Montgomerie on home soil at Gleneagles next year.

If that happens, McIlroy might find himself leading a revolt among the men who were at Medinah.

Welcome to the big time: McIlroy joins Tiger Woods in earning a huge sum as the face of Nike's golf division

Welcome to the big time: McIlroy joins Tiger Woods in earning a huge sum as the face of Nike's golf division