Lyle: McIlroy must avoid Duval-like nosedive

Updated 06 February 2013
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Lyle: McIlroy must avoid Duval-like nosedive

LONDON: Twice major champion Sandy Lyle is hoping world No. 1 Rory McIlroy’s decision to switch golf clubs does not result in the same sort of “kamikaze dive” in form that David Duval suffered when he made a similar move.
Duval appeared to have the world at his feet when he was flying high at the top of the rankings in 1999 and won the British Open two years later.
The American, like 23-year-old Northern Irishman McIlroy, also agreed a switch to Nike clubs and Lyle said that was the moment which sparked a sudden decline he was never able to reverse.
“That move hurt the momentum of David’s career,” the 1985 British Open champion and 1988 US Masters winner told Reuters in an interview. “He wasn’t driving the ball well which put the pressure on his putting and that in turn put pressure on him making cuts.
“David then started on a horrible spiral of missing cuts. It could be that all stemmed from his problems with his new driver and it could be the same thing for Rory now.
“Rory’s momentum was very good last year but it can be very dangerous to change clubs,” added Lyle, referring to the world number one’s five worldwide wins in 2012 and his money-list victories on both sides of the Atlantic.
“David never got out of his spiral. He definitely took a huge kamikaze dive and never really got it back.”
Last month McIlroy put pen to paper on a 10-year contract, that according to media reports is worth around $250 million, to swap from Titleist to Nike clubs and suffered an instant setback by missing the cut at the Abu Dhabi Championship.
Co-incidentally, the 54-year-old Lyle has just signed an agreement to use Bridgestone Golf clubs and balls on the senior circuit and his game is also a work in progress as he tries to get used to his new equipment.
“It’s the driver and the fairway woods that are the biggest issues,” said the Scot. “Rory will adapt to the irons pretty quickly although he will have teething problems.
“It only takes a little chink in the armor in this game for it to start becoming a worry.”
Lyle, who won the European order of merit three times and featured in five Ryder Cup teams, said he could remember looking on with interest when Duval’s problems started.
“David used to have two Nike representatives who were basically carrying 30 or 40 different drivers out on to the practice range under their arms,” he explained.
“In those days you didn’t have the click-in shafts and the ability to tighten something here or alter some weight there.
“If you had a driver with a certain shaft and it didn’t feel right, the rep would just be handing out different clubs all the time. I don’t think Rory will go down the same road as David, he’s too young and too fit and swinging the club too well.
“It might just be that he goes through a bit of a hiccup for a few months before he gets back into full flow but the Duval story is not something you should just wipe away and not pay attention to.”
Lyle was one of Europe’s ‘big-five’ in the 1980s along with fellow Britons Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam, Spain’s Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer of Germany.
While arch-rival Faldo had to work like a trojan to perfect the swing that won him six majors, Lyle had a sublime natural gift for golf.
McIlroy once hit a 40-yard drive at the age of two and, like Lyle, was viewed as a special talent from his earliest years.



“Rory plays with a freedom that is nice to see,” the Scot added. “He doesn’t get too tight or too frustrated like someone like Sergio Garcia.
“I’m watching his progress with interest. To have already won two majors, and he should have won the Masters in 2011 as well, by his age is great to see.”


Curry comes alive to score 35, Warriors rout Rockets by 41

Updated 21 May 2018
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Curry comes alive to score 35, Warriors rout Rockets by 41

OAKLAND, California: Stephen Curry got his groove back to score 35 points with five 3-pointers, shooting over James Harden and driving past the Houston star as the Golden State Warriors made a second-half statement to beat the Rockets 126-85 on Sunday night for a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference finals.
Kevin Durant added 25 points, six rebounds and six assists, while Draymond Green grabbed 17 rebounds to go with 10 points and six assists. The Warriors won an NBA-record 16th consecutive home postseason game, surpassing the Chicago Bulls’ mark of 15 in a row from April 27, 1990-May 21, 1991.
The defending champions got defensive — and maybe a little mad — after a 127-105 Game 2 defeat Wednesday night at Houston, determined to make stops to ignite the transition game and open up 3-point shooters.
And they eventually got Curry going with 18 points on 7-for-7 shooting in the third quarter.
Harden had 20 points and nine assists, while Chris Paul added 13 points and 10 rebounds as they combined to shoot just 12 for 32.
Game 4 is Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.
Curry and Durant each scored five quick points as Golden State opened the third quarter with a 10-0 burst to go ahead 64-43.
Under pressure from Paul, Curry swished a 3 from way back with 5:06 left in the third. He struggled with his long-range shot again early but drove through the paint at every chance.
Curry hit a baseline 3-pointer at the 9:02 mark of the first but missed his next five 3s before going 4 for 5 in the second half. He is now 7 of 25 from long range — he made one in each of the first two games.
The Warriors’ five starters all scored in double figures, the first time they’ve done so this postseason.
Trevor Ariza and Green received a double-technical with 6:49 to play when Ariza shoved Green as they traded words.
Both potent offenses were slow getting rolling as the teams played strong defense.
Harden and Paul began 3 for 14 with Paul missing six shots before getting his first basket on goaltending against Andre Iguodala 2:39 before halftime.
Golden State began getting the looks it liked after halftime. The Warriors faced more stingy, in-the-face pressure from Houston, making it hard to get any early flow shooting. Durant hit his first 3 6:27 before halftime then missed from the deep the next time down.
A moment of silence was held before the national anthem for victims of the Houston school shooting.

TIP-INS
Rockets: The Rockets surrendered 10 fast-break points in the first period while getting none of their own. ... They were outrebounded 49-41 and shot 32 for 80 from the floor.
Warriors: Kevon Looney had two key blocks off the bench in the first. ... Durant notched his 20th straight postseason game with 20 or more points. ... Golden State is 36-5 at home in the playoffs since the 2015 postseason. ... Thompson (1,786) moved past Rick Barry (1,776) for second place on the Warriors’ career postseason scoring list. ... Curry (712) moved past Barry (699) into sole possession for most postseason baskets in franchise history. ... The “Run TMC” trio of Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin were honored with a standing ovation during a first-quarter timeout. On Monday, Richmond will introduce Hardaway as he goes into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame of which Richmond and Mullin are already members.


PAUL’S HEALTH
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni made the point once again about Paul being healthy: “There’s nothing wrong at all.”
“We’re not going to win without him,” D’Antoni said. “So if he’s got to limp and drag his leg to the finish line, so be it. And he’s ready to do that.”


ORACLE AURA
That deafening, bright yellow sellout crowd was imposing once again.
“Somebody asked me, ‘Is Oracle tough to play?’ Yeah, because the Warriors play here,” D’Antoni said. “There’s a certain energy that their fans will give them and moments they hit two or three 3s you can get a buzz going that helps the home team. You just have to try to keep that crowd out as much as you can.”