Agreed. Cam Smith hit a couple that could have gone either way on Sunday but went in his favour. On Saturday he had a few that didn’t. They need a whole slice of luck to go with their considerable skill to win a golf tournament.
Cam Smith looks the real deal, and such a young guy. He wanted it and he did what he needed to get it done. The greatest golfers have been the best putters under pressure and Cam Smith fits that bill. Can see him being a long term world no 1 if he resists LIV
Maybe Rory felt to a degree, he just had to beat Hovland, and he was making decisions based on that?
I only listened on the radio so can't be sure if that's a fair assesment, but as they approached the turn, he would not have foreseen Smith going on such a strong run.
Yep, I thought the same. I think Rory may have been thinking ‘I’m doing ok here, still 2 ahead of Hovland’ and just carried on keeping his nose in front. Had he been paired with Smith, matchplay would’ve probably come into play, he would’ve seen Cam’s birdie chances before he took them and been able to react/step it up sooner. I guess though, Rory should be prepared for someone to come from the pack, although 8 under is pretty spectacular.
I don’t agree with this. On the front nine, Rory’s driving was superb, and he hit great irons in to good positions to give himself a look at birdie. The putts weren’t dropping though. They were good putts that just slipped by. What I thought he did really well was that he didn’t panic, he stayed patient, it’s something that Tiger always said about his wins, and watching it I felt that if he kept going then he would start to convert birdies on the easy holes around the turn.
Then he missed out on a birdie at 9. That was a big mistake, the hole was a long par 3 all week and he had a straight forward chance to get up and down. Then he had to birdie either 12 or 14 (or ideally both), but when it mattered he couldn’t play the right approach. That’s where he lost it. Is that a bottle job? Harsh but maybe a tiny bit of truth.
As for 18, 3 wood was the right club but his tee shot got a very unlucky bounce. And then he had to chase and play an aggressive chip to force a play off. Don’t blame him for missing his birdie because he was only focused on the eagle. He could have used putter for his second shot to guarantee a birdie and 2nd place but he was playing for the win.
Agree Rory played for Eagle on 18 and nothing else, as he should have done, but not that he bottled it on earlier holes.
How many times has Rory been criticised for being too aggressive? It’s a lot. And now he’s criticised for being patient, getting himself chances and waiting for the birdies to come. He played fine, exactly what he should have done, he just didn’t have the same good luck.
I think rory will be kicking himself he didnt push harder on sunday. There was plenty of birdies out there as proved by large swathes of the field.
Intresting stat I've noticed is he only made 1 birdie all week on holes 1 to 4. If you look at other guys in and around him for the most part they made multiple birdies on these holes and the odd bogie or two but they were all 2 3 4 even more under par for these holes.
Does this suggest an element of too much caution. It could be argued no as he had the lead going into the final day.
It's fine margins at the end of the day but it does say to me he left shots out there that other guys were picking up. Only bryson at level was worse than rory at 1under for these 4 holes in the top 10.
There's a video of all the putts Rory missed on the last day circulating, show how close he was to making a few drop, but they just missed. Simply, Smith is a better putter, he has a more solid stroke, and that's why he's so accurate with the putter.
Rory wasn't unlucky as such, if I was him, I'd be trying to emulate Cam's putting style which is noticeably more solid.
McIlroys real mistake was 14th. It was a regulation par. So escaped criticism to some degree. But contrast Young/Smith group with McIlroy/Hovland. The first pair put it close and both birdied. The second, distant, and only parred.
A birdie there, and a regulation/expected birdie on 18 where he wouldnt have at to gamble with the chip, and McIlroy had a 68. Very good. It couldnt have been criticised, and only the exceptional play of Smith making it a playoff rather than an outright win by Rory. 14 was where he lost it - and not by the putter. By his long play.
And yet interestingly Rory is still ahead of Cam on strokes gained putting this season and in the top 10. His putting is fine as i think he's worked on it, and if you watch the video it was such tiny margins that i expect if one dropped then the others would as there is still an element of confidence in putting even for the best players.
I dont think anyone is calling him a choker really, even with the 70. Had he held the 2 shot lead until17th and then made a mess of it, that would have been choking. He didnt choke, he was just quite, not good enough. Thats there is to it. The positive is that that is the first time in years that he was seriously at the business end of a major. He should be there two majors a year like that. And would then have won a major every second or third year.
He just ned do again what he did last weekend, and he will get a couple in the next 5 years. This week restored my faith in him.
I wonder if Rory's improvement was helped by him playing a more regular (for him heavier) schedule in the preceding 4-5 weeks?
i.e he was much more 'matchfit' and dare I say maybe he hasn't always had that edge with his usual lite/well spaced schedule
Smith had only gained one stroke on Rory through the front 9.
Rory was still leading as Smith played into 11. Very few birdies are/were made into the Sunday pin on 11. That stretch from 11 to 14 is where Smith built the win. It was simply brilliant and he got the luck.
Rory had the chances, the ball just wouldn’t drop on the day. How much more does it need saying? 🤷♂️