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Author Archive for Ewan Murray at Baltusrol

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Jordan Spieth targets Ryder Cup and looks forward not back after mixed year

• Masters collapse is not affecting my game, says Speith
• World No3 has been working on his ball-striking since the Masters

Jordan Spieth has more cause than most to reflect on the pace with which the 2016 majors have zipped by. Four months have passed since the 23-year-old threw away a seemingly unassailable Masters position but with the Open and US PGA Championships having fallen so close to each other in this Olympic year, the time span feels so much shorter.

Spieth cannot be counted among those who believe his success rate – he has won once since April – would have been altogether different had he triumphed at Augusta. “I don’t think so, no,” he said. “I’ve been working on my ball-striking quite a bit and it’s really paid off. I threw some lasers during US PGA week that I don’t normally throw. I hit a lot of fairways. I felt pretty comfortable over the ball. I was pretty comfortable that I knew what the ball was going to do.

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Jimmy Walker’s ‘bus partner’ Jason Day leads tributes to new US PGA champion

• I know exactly that feeling and he’s a very deserving winner, says Day
• Walker gave Butch Harmon a bottle of Bordeaux as thanks for his help

The popularity of major champions is always easy to determine. That is, by the scale of plaudits those who fell short will offer to the winner.

On Sunday night, social media was awash with high-level praise towards Jimmy Walker for his success at the US PGA Championship. At the venue itself, Jason Day hung around in narrow defeat to make a point of congratulating the 37-year-old. Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, who had not even competed at the top of the leaderboard, did likewise.

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Jimmy Walker holds off Jason Day to claim stunning US PGA win

• 37-year-old overcomes world No1 by one shot
• American becomes fourth first-time major winner of 2016

Jimmy Walker’s passion is astrophotography. It is unclear at which point he reckoned that, if taking pictures of the stars, he might as well shoot for them.

The sequence of first-time major winners continues. On a balmy Baltusrol evening, in concluding a tournament that had threatened to rumble into another week, Walker lifted the Wanamaker Trophy. This year’s four prime events have each had a player break his major duck.

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Matt Fitzpatrick ends US PGA in style but Ryder Cup spot on knife-edge

• Yorkshireman hit final round of 67 after Darren Clarke’s backing
• The 21-year-old is clinging on to final automatic spot in Europe team

It is just as well Matt Fitzpatrick has retained his sense of humour. Otherwise questions surrounding his participation in the Ryder Cup – which have been going on for just short of 11 months – could have reduced the 21-year-old to a rambling wreck.

Related: US PGA Championship 2016: final round – live!

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Padraig Harrington jumps up leaderboard as weather curse strikes

• Even a Tuesday finish cannot be discounted with storms in the area
• Some 37 players had completed their third round out of 86-man field

Let’s call it the curse of Baltusrol. Or perhaps the Baltusrol blues. The US PGA Championship could be destined for a Monday finish upon its return to the New Jersey venue at which Phil Mickelson triumphed in 2005. Eleven years ago, the Wanamaker Trophy was handed over on Monday because of weather delays.

So here we are once again. The ominous scent of familiarity arose as play was halted at quarter past two local time with lightning in the vicinity. At 6pm, confirmation arrived that round three would not resume, or at least was not scheduled to resume, until 7am on Sunday.

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Justin Rose looks forward to Rio golf and gets in Olympic spirit

Former US Open winner is an advocate of golf in the Olympics and says his enthusiasm stems from his wife’s sporting background

Golf has Olympic refuseniks, those who are sanguine about the sport’s imminent Games return, and Justin Rose. Should the International Golf Federation need assistance with public relations in order to retain Olympic status – and all the evidence suggests it does – then a call to the world No11 would prove time well spent.

One glance at Rose’s social media platforms will outline how immersed he has quickly become in Team GB. Conversation with the former US Open champion expands on that, the Englishman keen to embrace the Olympic scene as a whole rather than focus solely on golf. He will travel to Rio on Thursday before taking part in the 2016 opening ceremony a day later.

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Rory McIlroy laments ‘pathetic’ putting after early exit from US PGA

• McIlroy misses final chance to win a major in 2016
• Phil Mickelson says 27-year-old is ‘just not confident’

A dispirited but candid Rory McIlroy admitted to a “pathetic” putting performance after missing the cut at the US PGA Championship to ensure 2016 will conclude without a major win for the Northern Irishman.

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Jason Day banishes doubts at US PGA but Rory McIlroy misses cut

• Day records second round of 65 and sits two shots off lead
• McIlroy’s hopes die but Henrik Stenson’s fine form continues

There were enough reasons to doubt whether Jason Day could win back-to-back US PGA Championships – namely a pre-tournament rush to hospital with his wife, a mild bout of illness for Day himself, the failure to play a single practice hole at Baltusrol before Wednesday and, in round two, the playing of his first seven holes in two over par. Day was drifting.

What followed was almost like cruelty from Day towards Rory McIlroy, his playing partner who was enduring such a turbulent time on the greens that he must have felt like snapping his putter over one knee. The world No1 recorded seven birdies in eight holes, signed for a 65 and is two off the nine-under-par lead with half this tournament played.

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Jason Day seizes on rivals’ mishaps to set up US PGA defence

• World No1 nicely placed after first-round 68 before forecast storms
• Martin Kaymer and Henrik Stenson excel but Jordan Spieth struggles

From golf’s turmoil comes opportunity. Whereas the struggles of Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy could not have been foreseen in the opening round of this, the 98th US PGA Championship, that they transpired opened the door for others.

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Rory McIlroy suffers frustration with 74 in US PGA first round

• McIlroy says first objective is to make cut at Baltusrol
• ‘It was tough. I didn’t have any momentum out there.’

Rory McIlroy said his immediate ambition is to survive the US PGA Championship cut after he shot an opening round of 74 in the final major of this year. McIlroy, one of the pre-event favourites, endured a series of problems on the greens with 35 putts contributing heavily to his four over par total.

Related: Likely lad Rickie Fowler relocates his mojo at US PGA Championship

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Jason Day’s US PGA title defence at Baltusrol disrupted by hospital drama

• World No1 calls paramedics after wife Ellie is struck down by allergic reaction
• Day: ‘I haven’t seen the course … I’m not coming into this week expecting a lot’

Should he successfully defend the US PGA Championship, Jason Day will not so much have raised questions about the concept of ideal preparation as completely trashed it. Day has a curious habit of arriving at majors when suffering from various ailments. This time, it was not the world No1 himself who encountered pre-tournament problems. Day left an accident and emergency ward in New Jersey at 2am on Wednesday, his wife Ellie having suffered a violent allergic reaction – the cause of which is unknown – resulting in a full body rash.

Related: Rory McIlroy ready for return to top gear at US PGA after season spent ‘in neutral’

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Rory McIlroy ready for return to top gear at US PGA after season spent ‘in neutral’

• World No4’s fourth major arrived at Valhalla in 2014
• Baltusrol provides tough challenge for US PGA Championship

If it seems strange to be speaking of a year’s definition by late July, the nuances of golf’s rescheduled calendar because of the Olympic Games makes it a reality.

As he prepares for the US PGA Championship, the season’s final major, Rory McIlroy has admitted to recent battles with impatience on the biggest stages – not least in the Open at Royal Troon less than two weeks ago.

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