Almanac Golf: Golf Capital – Rory roars in Florida, TV ratings boost continues with Tiger in the mix




A collection of golf news, thoughts and notes. Tiger Woods contended again as Rory McIlroy won for the first time since September 2016 plus Inbee Park triumphed for the 29th time in her professional career. This week sees a double dose of PGA Tour action with match-play in Texas and the nation of the Dominican Republic hosts its first top level event.


Opening drive
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy surged home with a best of the day 65, which featured five birdies on the last six holes, to claim the Arnold Palmer Invitational by three strokes. Tiger Woods contended until very late on the back nine as overnight leader Henrik Stenson posted a pedestrian 71 whilst Bryson DeChambeau held second from overnight to finished second. This is promising for the world number 61 as he looks towards the first major of the season having finished T21 at his only previous Masters outing in 2016 when he was the low amateur.


Despite the presence of a WGC event on the calendar this week several players are letting the event ride before next month’s Masters with Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler amongst those bypassing this event.


Seven-time major winner Inbee Park closed with a 67 to post a five-stroke victory at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup in Phoenix. The South Korean last won in March of 2017 when she prevailed by a stroke over Ariya Jutanugarn who also finished T2 in this tournament at the Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa course. This week the LPGA is heading to California for the Kia Classic, last year won by Mirim Lee.


Player performance notes
Players I’m interested to see how they go with notes related to capital investment if that’s your thing. From Florida to Texas the WGC Match Play takes place at the Austin Country Club. 64 players are split into 16 four-player groups of round robin match-play before the winner of each group progresses to the knockout phase. Four picks, but not one from each side of the bracket.


Under 20: Jon Rahm. The Spaniard has a 6-1 record in WGC events of this format and the world number three has already won in 2018.


50 to 100: Rafa Cabrera-Bello. In the same quarter of the draw as Rahm his countryman has won his only Ryder Cup single match but also owns a 70% overall record in match play.


50 to 100: Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy’s round of 65 aside Chappell registered an equal best on Sunday at the Arnold Palmer with his final round 67 to finish seventh. The Californian is incredibly consistent having not finished further back than 31st in his last eight starts.


100 to 200: Patton Kizzire. In a tough group with world number two Justin Thomas the two-time winner since September has been dazzled playing with Tiger Woods recently but in a format where he has limited external expectations he could be suited.


Greens in regulation
Now up to 105 in the rankings Tigers Woods with a 12-T2-T5 has performed very well in his comeback, far better than I’d expected. As is not hard to predict his impact of TV viewership has been exponential. The Arnold Palmer Invitational climax tied the ratings in the USA of two majors from 2017 (the USA Open and PGA Championship.) It’s worth remembering this is also below the viewing figures in the USA which the Valspar produced under a fortnight ago. Woods’ first appearance at the Masters since 2015 will be highly anticipated by TV executives in the USA and abroad.


Tap in
Having been involved with the second-tier tour the Dominican Republic steps up to the big time with the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship the venue as the nation becomes the latestn to host top level golf, albeit on the same weekend as a WGC event. The Caribbean country’s biggest drawcard at the tournament will be former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo who enters on a sponsor’s exemption. Similar to when current basketball All-Star and NBA champion Steph Curry played on the second-tier last year this will bring some attention to a largely insignificant event in the context of the week’s tournaments on offer.


This golfing wrap first appeared on From the sideline of sport


About Hamish Neal

Born in Lower Hutt New Zealand Hamish is forever wedded to all things All Black, All Whites, Tall Blacks and more. Writing more nowadays in his 'spare time' (what is that anyway?) but still with a passion for broadcasting. Has worked in various sports development roles in England, Northern Ireland and Australia.


  1. bob.speechley says

    Loved Rory’s putt on the final hole to ice the cake!

  2. The depth in golf talent has never been greater. Men and women. 20/1 the field for me at the Masters in a fortnight.
    Fascinating new in-depth/tell-all biography of Tiger Woods about to be released in the US. My sense is that he has finally “found his true self” now, and we all love a good redemption story. Below is the NY Times book review, which is particularly scathing about Woods’ father and upbringing.
    “In “Tiger Woods” they take special aim at Woods’s parents, especially Earl Woods, Tiger’s father. They raised a champion. They also raised a narcissistic loner who lacked basic decency. “Even the most basic human civilities — a simple hello or thank you — routinely went missing from his vocabulary. A nod was too much to expect.”

    This book is littered with the bodies of those Woods cut out of his life without a thank you or goodbye — girlfriends, coaches, agents, caddies. If you stripped most of the golf out of this book, you might sometimes think you are reading the biography of a sociopath, a nonmurderous Tom Ripley or Patrick Bateman or Svidrigailov from “Crime and Punishment.”

    Earl Woods, the worst kind of stage father, profited early and often from his son’s career. He was a liar and an adulterer. The later years of his life were particularly sordid. He hired multiple young women to attend to his needs.”

  3. Bob, Rory’s last few holes were spectacular.
    Peter B. The book looks interesting. Masters should be great

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