Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 13th 2015 Contents SHEBOYGAN---Rory McIlroy faces
a different set of questions from
the last time he played, and he had
answers for most of them.
His left ankle, with swelling the
size of a tennis ball after he heard
it snap while playing soccer with
friends in early July, felt fine when
he got off the plane and began
preparing for the final major of the
year. His game is good, and he sees
no one reason why that will change
when the PGA Championship starts
today. One other question was little
Who s the best player in the
McIlroy is No 1 in the world rank-
ing. He also has watched Jordan Spi-
eth produce an inspiring year in golf
by winning the Masters and US
Open, and then coming within one
shot of a playoff at the British Open.
Spieth has four wins this year, one
more than McIlroy, though two of
them are majors.
"If you were to go by this year,
you would have to say Jordan," McIl-
roy said. "If you go over the last two
years, I would say it s probably a
toss-up between Jordan and myself.
That s a hard one. OK, we ve got the
rankings there, but it s all a matter
And what was his opinion?
"I ll tell you at the end of the
week," McIlroy said with a smile.
The shine came off golf when Spi-
eth s bid for the Grand Slam ended
at St Andrews. It returned when
McIlroy began posting photos and
videos last week that indicated he
would be playing at Whistling Straits,
his first tournament since the US
They face off this afternoon, in
the same group with British Open
champion Zach Johnson. It will be
the third time in the last eight majors
that McIlroy and Spieth have played
together the opening two rounds.
It has never received attention like
"I think that s just what you guys
want to see," Spieth said. "I think
he and I just want to go out there
and try and win the tournament.
We have to beat each other in order
to do that, along with...155 other
guys. It s great. We re all very happy
to see him back. I m excited to just
share a couple days with Rory, and
Zach as well.
"Hopefully, we can all get into
contention, and it will certainly be
McIlroy, the defending champion,
said he never targeted the PGA
Championship as his return. His test
came in Portugal last week when he
played---and walked---72 holes. There
was no pain, no swelling. And he
knew he was ready.
"If I hadn t passed that test, I
wouldn t have been here," he said.
For all the attention Spieth has
earned with his four victories (along
with playoff losses at the Colonial
and Houston Open), McIlroy hasn t
been a mere spectator to this sen-
sational season. He has three vic-
tories, one of them a World Golf
Championship, and he had top 10s
in both majors he played.
Still, there is a degree of uncer-
tainty about his game. It will have
been 53 days without competition
when McIlroy tees it up today.
"Expectation levels are the same,"
McIlroy said. "I have played quite a
number of rounds of golf. I ve been
practicing for over three weeks get-
ting my game ready, getting my game
sharp. I feel like I m playing well,
hitting it well on the range. I ve taken
that onto the course in practice
rounds and from there, it s being
able to take it into tournament play
with a card in my hand."
Expectations haven t changed for
Spieth, either. For a guy who just
turned 22, he is regarded as a greater
At Chambers Bay, Spieth would
find the worst part of the putting
green to rap 6-footers before the
weekend rounds to prepare him for
some bad bounces. During his final
nine holes of practice Wednesday,
he was tossing balls in some quirky
spots around the green, even down
on the sandy bank of Lake Michi-
He wants no surprises. He is pre-
pared for a tough test.
And he has the same attitude he
had going into the British Open. This
isn t a chance to make history. It s
a chance to win a major.
At stake for Spieth is an oppor-
tunity to be the first player to sweep
the three American majors in the
same season. A victory would make
him No 1 in the world (provided
McIlroy doesn t finish second) and
make him the first $11 million man
on the PGA Tour.
His first goal, outlandish as it
might seem, is to make the cut.
Spieth has never played the week-
end in two previous trips to the PGA
Championship. And his goal at the
start of the year was to make the
cut in all four majors and contend
in at least one of them.
So one box has been checked in
a major way.
"That first part of that goal has
yet to be accomplished," he said with
a smile. "So I ve got some work to
do these first two days and from
there we ll adjust and work our butts
off to try and get a third major, which
would be a pretty cool place in his-
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beat Pablo Andujar 6-3, 6-3
yesterday in the ATP Tour s
Rogers Cup in his first match
since winning the Citi Open last
week in Washington.
The fourth-seeded Nishikori,
a finalist last year in the US
Open, earned his tour-leading
27th hardcourt win of the season
in the second-round match that
was delayed nearly 90 minutes
"I m going to try to go to the
final again, but I know it s a new
US Open this year," the Japanese
star said. "Just playing one match
at a time and trying to focus
from first match, and see what
I can do again."
At five foot 11, he s shorter
than most of the best players of
"It s never easy," Nishikori
said. "If you face big servers, like
last week I played John (Isner)
and (Marin) Cilic, it s not much
fun on the court. But I have a
good return. I have good speed,
too, that most of the big guys
don t have. I think that s the fun
things for tennis. You know,
everybody s different. Even if
you re small like me or David
Goffin, seeded 13th, will be
Nishikori s opponent in the
round of 16 today.
Seventh-seeded Rafael Nadal,
coming off a victory on clay at
Hamburg two weeks ago, got his
tournament started with a 7-6
(4), 6-3 victory over Sergiy
The winner of 14 career grand
slam events has slipped to ninth
in the world after an up-and-
down year. But back to full
health, Nadal hopes to climb
back to the top.
"I won in Hamburg a couple
weeks ago and this was an
important victory here," he said.
"Six consecutive (match) vic-
tories, that didn t happen very
often during the season. That s
a positive moment for me. Let s
try to continue with that."
Nadal will face Mikhail
Youzny, a 6-1, 6-4 winner over
ninth-seeded Gilles Simon.
Second-seeded Andy Murray
beat Tommy Robredo 6-4, 7-5
in a rain-delayed match that
started Tuesday night.
Jeremy Chardy topped
Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 7-6 (4) to
set up a third-round meeting
with 6-foot-11 Ivo Karlovic. (AP)
Lesia Tsurenko upset Garbine
Muguruza 7-5, 6-1 Wednesday in
the WTA Tour s Rogers Cup.
The 54th-ranked Tsurenko
needed only 77 minutes to com-
plete the second-round victory on
the grandstand court.
The 21-year-old Muguruza has
risen to No 9 after her run to the
final at Wimbledon.
The Spanish player lost to Serena
Williams for the title after beating
four top-15 players at the All-Eng-
The top-ranked Williams will
play her third-round match
Second-seeded Simona Halep
of Romania and fifth-seeded Ana
Ivanovic of Serbia also advanced
to the third round.
Halep beat Jelena Jankovic of
Serbia 6-3, 6-4, and Ivanovic
topped Belarus Olga Govortsova
6-4, 7-6 (4).
In other second-round matches,
Russia s Daria Gavrilova beat sev-
enth-seeded Lucie Safarova of the
Czech Republic 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, and
Slovenia s Polona Hercog topped
11th-seeded Ekaterina Makarova
of Russia 6-2, 6-7 (2), 7-5. (AP)
GLASGOW---The Emirates Arena in
Glasgow will host next month s Davis
Cup semifinal between Britain and
The matches will be played Septem-
ber 18-20 on a temporary hard court
in the 8,200-seat arena.
The arena was also the venue for
Britain s first-round victory over the
United States in March.
Scottish-born Andy Murray says "we
had a unique atmosphere in Glasgow,
the crowd was unbelievable."
It will be the 13th Davis Cup meeting
between the two countries dating back
to 1907, with Australia holding an 8-
Britain is aiming to reach the final
for the first time since 1978.
Australia has won the Davis Cup 28
times, the last time in 2003. Britain s
last of nine titles came in 1936.
Belgium hosts Argentina in the other
semifinal in Brussels. (AP)
Nishikori tops Andujar at Rogers Cup
Ukrainian qualifier upsets Wimbledon finalist Muguruza
Glasgow arena to host Brit-Australia Davis Cup semi
The battle at the top with McIlroy, Spieth
Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, catches a ball on the range before a
practice round for the PGA Championship golf tournament yesterday at
Whistling Straits in Haven, Wisconsin. AP PHOTO
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