Rory McIlroy: World number four plans to defend FedEx Cup title

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy plans to play again this year after suggesting last week that he might not compete again in 2017 to aid his recovery from a rib injury.

McIlroy’s management confirmed in an email that the world number four intends to defend his FedEx Cup title.

The world number four, 28, shot a 68 to tie for 22nd in the US PGA on Sunday, and has now gone three years without a major victory.

“You might not see me until next year,” McIlroy had said after the US PGA.

The confirmation from his management followed a tweet from McIlroy announcing details of a competition to play with him in the pro-am before next month’s BMW Championship.

The BMW Championship is the third event in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup play-offs series.

The Northern Irishman won the second play-offs event in 2016 before clinching a £7.8m bonus as he topped the FedEx Cup standings after triumphing at the Tour Championship.

Last year, McIlroy opted to miss the opening Barclays play-offs event before winning the Deutsche Bank Championship a week later.

McIlroy without a win in 2017

This year’s play-offs begin with the Northern Trust event in New York from 24-27 August before the Dell Technologies Championship takes place a week later in Boston.

After a week’s break, the series resumes with the BMW Championship in Illinois before the top 30 in the standings go forward to the concluding Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Following last week’s US PGA Championship, the world number four said that he wasn’t sure of his plans for the remainder of this season.

“You might see me in a couple of weeks’ time. It really depends,” said McIlroy, who suffered the injury testing equipment over the winter.

The US PGA was only McIlroy’s 13th tournament of a season in which he has not won.

“I can go out there and play and shoot decent scores, but when I come off the course I feel my left rhomboid going into spasm,” he added.

McIlroy took six weeks off after losing out in a play-off for the South African Open in January and also missed the PGA Championship at Wentworth and the Memorial Tournament.

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Europe lead USA after opening Solheim Cup foursomes

Georgia Hall and Anna Nordqvist

Solheim Cup 2017
Venue: Des Moines Golf and Country Club, Iowa Dates: 18-20 August
Full scoreboard.

Europe have a 2½ – 1½ lead after the opening foursomes as they try to regain the Solheim Cup from the United States.

Mel Reid and Charley Hull were two up with two to play but tied with American duo Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson.

Georgia Hall and Anna Nordqvist beat Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst 3&1, but Carlota Ciganda and Caroline Masson lost narrowly to Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas.

Catriona Matthew and Karine Icher beat Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller.

The pair were two down after 10 holes in the anchor match, but won three of the back nine to win on the 18th.

With Europe looking to win back the trophy they lost in Germany in 2015, three of the opening four matches went to the final hole on a tight first morning at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa.

The hosts got off to the perfect start as Kerr and Thompson eagled the first hole, but Reid and Hull won three holes on the front nine to take control at the turn.

The all-English pairing looked to be in control of the tie, but Kerr sank her birdie putt on the 18th as the American pair battled back to earn a half.

Sweden’s Nordqvist was the standout player for Europe, paired with 21-year-old debutant Hall, as they dispatched Creamer and Ernst in style.

In the anchor match, the experience of Matthew helped Europe to a slender lead going into the four fourball matches later on Friday.

The 47-year-old Scot – playing in her ninth Solheim Cup – was called up on Wednesday to replace the injured Suzann Pettersen.

Friday foursomes
Reid / Hull (Eur) v Kerr / Thompson (US) – halved
Ciganda / Masson (Eur) v Kang / Salas (US) – US won 1 up
Nordqvist / Hall (Eur) v Creamer / Ernst (US) – Europe won 3&1
Icher / Matthew (Eur) v Lewis / Piller (US) – Europe won 1 up

Europe: Charley Hull (England), Georgia Hall (England), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (England), Mel Reid (England), Florentyna Parker, (England), Carlota Ciganda (Spain), Karine Icher (France), Catriona Matthew (Scotland).

Wildcards: Anna Nordqvist (Sweden), Caroline Masson (Germany), Emily Pedersen (Denmark), Madelene Sagstrom (Sweden).

USA: Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis, Gerina Piller, Cristie Kerr, Jessica Korda, Danielle Kang, Michelle Wie, Brittany Lang, Brittany Lincicome, Lizette Salas.

Captain’s Picks: Austin Ernst, Angel Yin.

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Late call-up Matthew in final foursomes on Solheim Cup day one

Catriona Matthew

Scotland’s Catriona Matthew has been named in Europe’s final foursomes pairing for the first day of the 2017 Solheim Cup.

Vice-captain Matthew, 47, was only brought into the side to replace the injured Suzann Pettersen on Thursday.

And now she will partner Karine Icher against the United States’ Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller on Friday.

English duo Charley Hull and Mel Reid face Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson in the opening match.

Europe’s Carlota Ciganda and Caroline Masson go up against Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas in the second game of the day, before Anna Nordqvist and Georgia Hall take on Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst.

Matthew, 47, from North Berwick, has played in eight Solheim Cups between 1998 and 2015, earning 19 points from 33 matches.

She was a member of three winning teams in 2003, 2011 and 2013.

She holed the winning putt in 2003 at Barseback Golf and Country Club in Sweden and secured the half-point to win the cup outright and seal Europe’s first away victory at Colorado Golf Club in 2013.

The USA are the holders of the Solheim Cup after winning 14½-13½ in Germany in 2015, a victory that gave them an overall lead of 9-5 in the event’s history.

Analysis

BBC golf correspondent Iain Carter

Both captains have gone with their strongest pairings in what is set to be a huge opening match.

It is no surprise that Thompson and Kerr have been paired together and nor is Europe’s bullish combination of Reid and Hull. The top match can set momentum, but the bottom contest is often equally vital. Late replacement Matthew has therefore been given a huge responsibility.

The US intend using all 12 players on day one, but Europe’s Annika Sorenstam refused to say whether she would use the same tactic.

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Wyndham Championship: Matt Every cards nine-under 61 to lead on PGA Tour

Matt Every

Wyndham Championship leaderboard
-9: M Every (US); -8: H Stenson (Swe); -7: V Taylor (US), C Smith (Aus), W Simpson (US), T Wilkinson (Aus), B Campbell (US), H Varner III (US); -6: D Love III (US), R Lamb (US), M Flores (US), S Saunders (US)
Selected others: -4: M Laird (Sco), R Knox (Sco), P Harrington (Ire); -3: S Lowry (Ire), S Power (Ire); -2: G Owen (Eng)

World number 751 Matt Every shot a nine-under-par round of 61 to lead Sweden’s Henrik Stenson by a shot after round one of the Wyndham Championship.

The American, 33, claimed the last of his two PGA Tour wins in 2015 but has missed the cut 20 times this season.

After holing from 105 yards for eagle on the first at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina, Every added seven more birdies.

He missed a 30ft birdie putt on the 18th hole to equal the course record.

“The last couple of years have been brutal for me,” said Every. “A lot of people probably would have quit so it’s good to be back, playing good. I’ve got a few things to motivate me right now and I want to play well again.”

Stenson, who has 15 wins across the PGA and European Tour including the 2016 Open Championship, carded a bogey-free 62. A sublime tee-shot on the par-three 16th to within three feet of the pin took him one shot behind Every.

A cluster of players including four-time PGA Tour winner Webb Simpson are a shot further back on seven under.

The American was seven under after just nine holes but cancelled out two birdies with two dropped shots on the back nine.

Scotland’s Martin Laird and Russell Knox are on four under. England’s Greg Owen is on two under, while Luke Donald – who was runner-up in the tournament in 2016 – made bogey on 18 to drop back to one under.

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'Sticks and stones can break my bones' – Hull ready for hostile Solheim Cup crowd

Charley Hull and Annika Sorenstam

Charley Hull says she will use a hostile atmosphere in Iowa to her advantage when Europe face the USA in the Solheim Cup this week.

The 21-year-old, Britain’s highest-ranked female golfer, was part of the team that won in Colorado in 2013.

But Hull was also present when the US came from 10-6 down to win in Germany two years ago, as Europe were accused of “breaking the game’s moral code”.

“I love playing in front of big crowds,” she told BBC Sport.

Hull was involved in the 2013 controversy when the Americans were given a penalty stroke following a misunderstanding over a ‘gimme’ putt on the 17th.

However, she says the European team have a “good mindset” as they prepare for the competition, which begins at Des Moines on Friday.

“As the saying goes: ‘Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me,'” said Hull.

“So if people shout things out I’ll use it to my advantage and try to make lots of birdies.”

Team-mate and fellow Briton Melissa Reid added: “I’m sure the crowd will be extremely loud. As long as we accept what it’s going to be like with the crowds there is no reason we can’t win out here.”

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Tiger Woods had five drugs in system at time of arrest – toxicology report

Golfer Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods had five different drugs in his system when he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in May, according to a toxicology report.