The saga over Rory McIlroy's split from agent Chubby Chandler took another twist Wednesday as McIlroy's BFF and Ryder Cup partner Grame McDowell denied any role in luring the reigning U.S. Open champion away from Chandler's group.
"I've heard I'm supposed to have enticed Rory, well I purposely took a back seat in it all," 2010 U.S. Open champion McDowell told reporters on the eve of his Andalucia title defence at Valderrama.
"Rory makes his own decisions and doesn't listen to anybody. I certainly wasn't going to sway him about what to do with his career. Even if I could he'd only resent it if it didn't work out."
McDowell made a similar switch from ISM to Horizon earlier in his career.
"I went through the same process three or four years ago and it was very amicable. Rory's split seems pretty amicable as well," he said of his close friend and fellow Northern Irishman.
"That's life, it's business, not personal. We are one big travelling circus out here and it pays to get on with each other," added McDowell.
Day Eyes No. 1Besides Luke Donald, Keegan Bradley and Rory McIlroy, Jason Day was another player who had a breakout season in 2011. Day didn't win this year, but he had 10 top 10s, including runner-up finishes at the Masters and U.S. Open.
So how did Day become a top-10 player this season? He credits his new mental coach, who helped him get over an early-season funk.
The 23-year-old confirmed his rich potential with his debut Tour win at the Byron Nelson Championship in May last year and cemented his place among the elite with two runner-up finishes at the U.S. Masters and the U.S. Open this year.
In between, however, was an angst-filled period as he battled sinus problems and a dip in form that left him sapped of energy and bored with practice.
Enter Neale Smith, an Australian coach based in California, who taught Day to enjoy his "homework" and have a clearer focus on his game-plan during tournaments since being hired in February.
"It (was) very hard to get up in the morning and go, 'You know what, I want to go play golf'," Day told reporters on a conference call on Thursday.
"I wasn't playing great golf. I was very disappointed, down on myself on the golf course. I'd go, 'I don't want to be here.' I'd go home for a week or two weeks. I'd be bored. I'd go out and practice. It wasn't fun.
"I'd go back out and play. That was even more disappointing. It was kind of like a vicious cycle of me losing to myself.
Day also said he thinks he can become No. 1 in the next five years. If he keeps playing like he did this season, it may not take him that long. Toms Backs CouplesFred Couples has been taking a lot of heat, most notably from Greg Norman and Geoff Ogilvy, for his premature pick of Tiger Woods for the U.S. Presidents Cup team. David Toms said Wednesday as long as Woods is fit and working hard on his game, he should be on the team.
"Any time that there's a captain's pick involved, there's going to be a deserving player that gets left off because you can't pick everybody.
"I guess really the only way to do it would just be to take the 12 and just make it — the top 12 guys make the team, no captain's picks, and that's the easy way out.
"But I think obviously something that Fred thought long and hard about. He's talked to Tiger quite a bit about it, and I still think that Tiger in a match play format is very, very difficult to beat.
"And I'm not sure as an opponent you'd want to play him. So I think it's a great pick."
China Cooling Off?Last week Time magazine outlined several reasons why the economic bubble in China might be ready to pop. (Time and Golf.com are both owned by Time Inc.) That's not good news for golfers, as China's been seen as one of the saviors for golf course architects. Jack Nicklaus, who knows a thing or two about building courses around the world, says things aren't looking too rosy.
"China, for example, is shut down right now golf-wise. We were over there about a month ago with a course two weeks from being finished that was shut down. They put a satellite up to monitor it to see that nobody was working."