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123 Mar 13
PITTSFORD, N. Satchel Paige Jersey .Y. -- The curls no longer spilled from under his cap, a big change for Rory McIlroy. Prompted to reveal the rest of his free haircut, he removed his hat and wild brown locks sprang to life. "Still a little bit on the top," he said Wednesday with an easy smile. Only then did McIlroy resemble the Boy Wonder who dominated golf last summer, starting with his win at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island by a record margin. He didnt walk down the fairways that week, he bounced. He was No. 1 in the world, and looked every bit the part. McIlroy would love to rediscover that kid at Oak Hill this week. In its place is a 24-year-old from Northern Ireland who has reason to feel much older. He hasnt won a tournament, and only once did he even come close. He has finished over par in all three majors, with only two rounds at the British Open. He has failed to make the cut five times this year, which includes walking off the course in the Honda Classic with sore wisdom teeth that still havent been removed. Among betting favourites, he was second only to Tiger Woods at the Masters at 5-to-1. For the PGA Championship, the odds are 30-to-1, higher than two players (Henrik Stenson and Brandt Snedeker) who have never won a major. And he cant wait to get to the first tee Thursday afternoon. Inspiration comes from videos he has been watching of his eight-shot win at Kiawah Island, along with his back-to-back FedEx Cup playoff wins against some of the strongest fields of the year. Some of what he noticed was technical, such as the position of his club in the swing. What really stood out was the body language. "Its how you carry yourself. Its all that sort of stuff, your little mannerisms," McIlroy said. "I guess its just trying to remember those feelings and remember how I felt that week and trying to carry some of that into this week and just get those good, positive thoughts going. "I think everyone sees when I walk and Im playing well, I have that little bounce in my step." What would go a lot longer at Oak Hill is keeping the ball in play on a traditional, tree-lined course -- so many trees that even being in the fairway doesnt mean a clear shot at the green if the ball is slightly out of position. The greens are small and slope toward the front. Oak Hill is a hard golf course, and the evidence comes from the previous five majors held on this Donald Ross design -- only 10 players in those five majors have finished under par. "This may be the toughest golf course, but the fairest golf course that we play," said Tom Watson, playing this major for the 32nd time. "Somebody is going to win this thing, and that person is going to play awfully well, awfully good golf this week. Wish I could say thats me." Watson was joking. Not so funny is that the way McIlroys year has gone, there isnt much reason to believe it could be him, either. Most of the attention is on Woods, even though he has gone five years and 17 majors without winning one. Woods won the Bridgestone Invitational last week by seven shots, sparked by a 61 in the second round that tied his personal best. That gave Woods five wins this year, which is five more than McIlroy. Phil Mickelson opened with a 65 in 2003 the last time the PGA Championship was played at Oak Hill until fading badly in one of his worst seasons as a pro. He is coming off an astounding win at the British Open, where his 66 in the final round is regarded as one of the best closing rounds in a major. If he could pick off another PGA Championship, Mickelson would be a shoo-in as PGA Tour player of the year, an award he has never won. McIlroy, meanwhile, has been largely forgotten through ordinary play and endless questions about a season gone wrong from his opening tournament when he missed the cut in Abu Dhabi. Some of his troubles have been attributed to a wholesale equipment change, others to his decision to change management companies. McIlroy said his switch to Nike is no longer an excuse, not with 15 tournaments under his belt. He says it has taken longer than usual to work his way out of bad habits. "I guess every time you play and you dont play well, it sort of chips away at your confidence a little bit," he said. McIlroy has gone through this before. Only a year ago, he had gone five months without a win and missed the cut in four out of five tournaments. With a spark at Firestone, he showed up at Kiawah Island and overwhelmed the strongest field in golf in ways only Woods used to do. "I love proving people wrong," McIlroy said. Ian Poulters advice was everyone to "give him a break." Poulter tied for third -- by nine shots -- last year at Kiawah Island and has watched the fall of a kid who looked one year ago that he would be on top of golf for a long time. Now its back to Woods and Mickelson at Nos. 1 and 2 in the world, with the kid trying to claw his way back. "I think sometimes we forget how young he is and what hes been able to achieve at a very early age," Poulter said. "So the second he feels comfortable again, whether thats with his swing or equipment or whatever it is, then Rory will be winning golf tournaments. That natural swing of his doesnt just disappear overnight." Despite all the scrutiny -- on everything from his new equipment to new management, to girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki and moving from Northern Ireland to south Florida -- McIlroy hasnt dodged the questions for which he has no tangible answers. "Id definitely rather be up here talking about more positive things, but I guess thats the way it is," McIlroy said. "Should you lay off me? Thats not for me to decide. Im here and Im answering your questions and thats all I can do. As I said, it would be nicer just to sit up here, talk about some more positive things. But the way the years gone, its understandable why Im not." Once again, will feature live streaming of the PGA Championship, beginning with Tiger Woods, Davis Love III and Keegan Bradley on Thursday at 8:30am et/5:30am pt. TSNs live coverage of the PGA Championship begins with first-round action on Thursday at 1pm et/10am pt. Rory McIlroy, Vijay Singh and Martin Kaymer tee off at 1:25pm et/10:45am pt Roberto Perez Jersey .Y. - Detroit goaltender Jonas Gustavsson has earned NHL first star of the week honours after winning in his first three appearances of the season. Larry Doby Jersey . - After leading the Saints to a fourth playoff appearance in five seasons, Drew Brees expressed confidence in the direction of his team and, perhaps more importantly, showed a willingness to listen to contract proposals if the team needs his help getting under the NFLs salary cap. . There are some early surprises in the race for the Hart Trophy, but two of the contenders are the leagues biggest stars over the past decade. There are many more players in contention for the awards than just the three that Ive named, and a good or bad week can easily alter the landscape, but through the first 20 or so games of the NHL season, this is how the awards races look to me. There are few things so certain in life as death, taxes and Misbah-ul-Haq facing questions about his future before the final match of a Pakistan Test series. While it is hardly unusual for an international captain to be grilled about their motivation to continue - even Alastair Cook, 11 years younger than his counterpart, was asked similar questions in his press conference - at 42, Misbah knows there are many more Tests behind him than there are ahead.And no matter the result of the match at The Oval, the topic will almost certainly be broached once more at its conclusion; such is the reality of professional cricket life after 40.Misbahs captaincy of Pakistan is arguably one of the most impressive in the history of the game: that he has rebuilt a team in tatters after it was almost ruined by scandal, led them to become one of the worlds best sides despite never playing at home and helped them regain the respect of the international cricket community ensures his legacy will be monumental whenever he does decide to call time on his career.While winning the Investec Test series is now impossible, levelling the scoreline would still be an impressive feather in Misbahs already distinguished cap given the current status quo, in which the disadvantages of playing away from home are so difficult to overcome.Yes, of course, it is a crucial Test for us, Misbah said. A win will square the series and it will be really good for morale, also for the team, and it is very important for me also.Obviously they have the momentum in their own conditions, they are confident but we believe we can come back from any position because this is a do or die Test match for us so we have to really play well.Throughout the series, Pakistan have struggled with the balance of their side. They gaze at Englands allrounders with all the envious desire of a child at a sweet shop window. Their fast bowlers - unused to playing more than three Tests in a series, unfamiliar with the burden of extra overs required in seam-friendly conditions - have been worn down by a grinding England.Somehow, Misbah must find a way to pick up his bowlers and infuse them with the enerrgy required to take 20 wickets and inspire his batsmen, both in-form and struggling, to give him something to defend. Kenny Lofton Jersey. But, having banished thoughts of retirement after the series against England in the UAE last year, he maintained he isnt afraid of any consequences for his captaincy should they fail to square the series.I dont have that sort of fear otherwise I would have retired long ago, Misbah said. I am always up for challenges and never thought of the results. I believe in just looking at the challenges and trying hard.Another daunting Test tour looms in Pakistans near future. After returning to the UAE to host West Indies, they will head to New Zealand for two Tests and then Australia for a three-Test series where the experience of Misbah and Younis Khan, in particular, could be crucial. Misbah has been Pakistans leading run-scorer in England, with 267 at 44.50, but would not be drawn on how much longer he hopes to continue playing.Its really difficult for me to leave the team on these difficult tours, Misbah said. Thats why Im here on this tough series. Ill be looking forward to that [Australia tour], but lets see how it goes after this series, and how I plan my future.That could be really hard for someone young - even as a batsman to replace me in Australian conditions - and obviously it would be a challenge for a young captain.Of course, there will always be challenging tours and series and, no matter when Misbah does decide to move on, he will leave an enormous crater for Pakistan to fill. But, in the meantime, there is The Oval, there is a chance to level the series and there is the possibility - albeit a slim one - that Pakistan could become the No. 1-ranked side in the world for the first time since the implementation of ICC rankings.I will keep trying throughout this Test and if Pakistan needs me afterwards, thats another point. I will think about that after the series but for the moment this is important for me and the Pakistan team. I will just go about this Test match. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys ChinaNFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '