Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Highs and Lows Flow; While Rory McIlroy Made the Year His Own, Another Great of the Game Struggled, Reports Gordon Clark

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Highs and Lows Flow; While Rory McIlroy Made the Year His Own, Another Great of the Game Struggled, Reports Gordon Clark

Article excerpt

Rory McIlroy - the best in the business

HE MAY have split with fiancA[c]e Caroline Wozniacki just a day after the wedding invitations were sent out in May, but that didn't stop the Northern Irishman from dominating the game in 2014.

The 25-year-old became the third-youngest player to win three of golf's four majors when he triumphed in the British Open at Hoylake, having already won the US Open (2011) and US PGA Championship (2013). Only Jack Nicklaus (at 23) and Tiger Woods (at 24) achieved the same feat faster.

Three weeks later, McIlroy became the first British player to claim back-to-back majors by taking out his second US PGA Championship, at Valhalla.

McIlroy also played a key part in Europe's Ryder Cup victory over the US at Gleneagles and, not surprisingly, finished the year as the No.1 player in the world.

Ryder Cup - US squabbles after loss

THE US captain, Tom Watson, brought his team to Gleneagles seeking redemption for the "Miracle of Medinah" two years earlier, when Europe came back from 10-6 down to win 141/2-131/2 on the final day, but his side was unable to create its own sensation in Scotland.

The 161/2-111/2 victory was Europe's eighth from the past 10 events, and the US has not won the Cup away from home since 1993.

Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson said he didn't need to look far to find the reason for the latest loss, pointing the finger squarely at Watson.

"Unfortunately we have strayed from a winning formula in the last three Ryder Cups. We need to consider maybe getting back to that formula," he said. "Nobody here was in on any decision."

Lydia Ko - LPGA rookie makes her mark

THE New Zealander had an eventful 17th birthday in April. Not only did she a shoot a four-under-par 68 to sit tied for second in the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic near San Francisco, she was also named in Time Magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people.

The only person younger than Ko on the list was Pakistani 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai, a campaigner for girls' education who won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

Ko went some way to justifying her inclusion by winning three tournaments for the year, including the season-ending Tour Championship. …

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