Golf Buzz

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy
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"It sort of makes you appreciate more" what Tiger Woods did in assembling his winning streaks, says Rory McIlroy in the wake of his PGA Championship victory.

Rory McIlroy's victory at Valhalla on Sunday was his second major in a row, and third overall victory in succession – a streak generally accomplished only by Tiger Woods in recent years. And McIlroy – now that he knows first-hand how tough it is to win so much – has a new appreciation for what it took for Woods to make his frequent trips to the winners' circle.

"To be up there with the lead week-in and week-out and trying to win these big golf tournaments, it's tough, mentally and physically," McIlroy told England's PA Sport wire service. 

"It sort of makes you appreciate more what Tiger has done in the past … getting on these runs that he's gone on and keeping it going for months on end," he explained.  

Woods, of course, authored several impressive PGA Tour winning streaks – including seven in a row in 2006-2007, six straight in 1999-2000 and five successive in 2007-2008. McIlroy, with wins at the PGA Championship, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and British Open, has three in a row right now.

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP: Relive Rory McIlroy's thrilling victory in our exclusive coverage

McIlroy admitted that the weight of his summer string of excellence got to him a bit on Sunday, and manifested itself in his slow start that saw him lose his lead before he rallied on the back nine to win.

"I was a little flat the first six holes of the final round," he said. But, he explained, he "just sort of told myself, 'we have 12 holes left, you can take a week off after this and enjoy it.'"

He is in fact taking this week off. He's planning to return for the FedExCup playoffs and, of course, the Ryder Cup, which he will enter as the European team's undisputed star.

"I want to try and go into the Ryder Cup with the best possible form that I can, and then finish the season off well," he said. "I've got a few tournaments in the Far East, the Race to Dubai and then I'm going to go down and defend the Australian Open – and then that's going to be me shutting it down for the year."


Rory McIlroy
USA Today Sports Images
Rory McIlroy's victory at Valhalla drew a sizable TV audience.

Rory McIlroy's one-shot victory over Phil Mickelson in the PGA Championship on Sunday produced the highest overnight ratings in five years, according to CBS Sports. 

The household rating was 6.0 with a 13 share, up 36 percent from a year ago when Jason Dufner beat Jim Furyk at Oak Hill, said CBS, meaning that more than 6 million people watched on Sunday. That was the highest rating since a 7.5 and 17 share in 2009, when Y.E. Yang rallied from two shots behind to beat Tiger Woods at Hazeltine. 

RELIVE THE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP: Video | Photos | Full Coverage

Sunday's final round at Valhalla produced a shootout among four big-name players who owned at least a share of the lead at one point or another in the back nine: McIlroy, Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson. An afternoon rain delay pushed the tournament's finish back to 8:43 p.m. ET, when McIlroy clinched his second straight major title this year.


John Mallinger
John Mallinger shows his ball to the crowd after acing the 11th hole Saturday.

Hole-in-ones are so random, but they're so fun to watch.

John Mallinger scored an ace Saturday at the Barracuda Championship in Reno, using a 9-iron from 155 yards at the par-3 11th.

Here's the video:



It was one of two on the day there. Ben Curtis also aced No. 3, becoming the 16th player so far this season to record a hole-in-one in a PGA Tour event.

Somewhat surprisingly, it wasn't the first time two players had recorded holes-in-one in the same round this season. Bud Cauley and George McNeill did it within a span of about 40 minutes at the Greenbrier Classic earlier this summer.

Bubba Watson
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Bubba Watson smashed a drive 424 yards on the par-5 16th hole Saturday at Firestone Country Club.

Move over, Webb Simpson. Bubba Watson's playing through.

Watson smashed a drive 424 yards Saturday on the par-5 No. 16 at Firestone Country Club, becoming the first player this year to hit one over 400 yards in a PGA Tour event, surpassing Simpson's 397-yard drive in January at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the top of the long-drive leaderboard.

And now's there a video of Bubba's drive. Just listen to the sound of this swing:



PGA CHAMPIONSHIP: Long Drive Championship to return at Valhalla

Just to prove it wasn't a fluke, it was the fifth drive Watson has hit this weekend that was 375 yards or more, according to Associated Press writer Doug Ferguson.

PGA CHAMPSIONSHIP: Masters champ Watson paired with McIlroy, Kaymer



That's one heck of a way to warm up for Tuesday's PGA Long Drive Championship, to be contested on the 10th hole at Valhalla Golf Club prior to the 2014 PGA Championship. Certainly Watson has to be considered one of the favorites -- if he can keep his ball in the fairway.

But just to prove the old adage "drive for show, putt for dough," Watson bogeyed the hole.

Louisville Slugger bats
Louisville Slugger/Twitter
Check out the personalized PGA Championship bats for Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, made by Louisville Slugger.

Wooden clubs in golf have evolved to the point where there's no "wood" remaining. What used to be wood is now a metal clubface on a graphite shaft. 

But since Louisville is home to the iconic Louisville Slugger baseball bat factory, next week's PGA Championship could be just a touch different.

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP: Long Drive Competition to return

Check out these beauties in a tweet posted Saturday:



That's a home run in any scorebook.

How far do you think Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy could hit a golf ball with one of those? Now there's a long-drive contest I'd love to see.

RYDER CUP: Several spots available with two big tournaments to play

Keegan Bradley
Keegan Bradley came this close to making an albatross Saturday at the Bridgestone Invitational.

How close did Keegan Bradley come to making an albatross Saturday morning at the Bridgestone Invitational? About the length of his shoe:

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP: Valhalla will be like two tournaments in one



That's a tap-in eagle for Bradley after hitting a 227-yard approach within a foot or so of the flag on the par-5 No. 2. That's a fine way to start any round of golf, especially if you're trying to get yourself prepared for next week's PGA Championship -- and also trying to impress Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson, who has three captain's picks to use.

RYDER CUP: Who's on the bubble?