The Open Championship did not get off to a good start for Rory McIlroy on Thursday.
The Northern Irish golfer was among the favorites to win heading into the action at Royal Portrush, but that dream quickly became a longshot after a quadruple-bogey on his first hole of the tournament.
As if the score wasn’t bad enough, McIlroy’s errant tee shot to start the round went sailing into the crowd and struck a fan, breaking her cell phone in the process. The spectator, who McIlroy apologized to after the incident, was identified as 34-year-old Anna McKelvey.
Since 2017, Brooks Koepka has won two U.S. Opens, two PGA Championships and finished second to Tiger Woods at the Masters. He’s on a scalding hot streak right now, and that fact certainly isn’t lost on his fellow golfers.
Going into the 119th U.S. Open this week at Pebble Beach, Tony Finau, who finished fifth in last year’s tournament, singled Koepka out as the one to beat.
“Until he proves that he’s going to cool down, you’ve got to think that he’s going to be your biggest competition,” Finau told AOL.com on behalf of American Express.
“If you beat [Koepka], you probably could be crowned champion.”
Defending PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka has his eye on several of his peers heading into the 2019 tournament, which begins on May 16.
A crowded and talented field at the Masters in April saw Koepka finish tied for second place with Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele, just one stroke behind Tiger Woods, who emerged victorious for his first major win in 11 years.
Koepka listed all three of those golfers as his main competition as he heads to Bethpage Black in New York to defend his PGA Championship title.
“Tiger’s playing well, Xander’s playing well, Dustin’s playing well,” he told AOL.com on behalf of Michelob ULTRA. “There’s a lot of guys who are right in that mix. Those guys played well at Augusta and they’ve been playing well for a while.”
When Rachel Heck’s father found out his third child would also be his third daughter, he made a decision: No ballet. No recitals. These girls are going to play golf.
That choice – made before Heck, now 17, was even born – turned out to be life-changing in ways the family couldn’t even imagine.
“I can’t remember ever not wanting to be a golfer,” the rising star told AOL.com.
But what exactly was it that lured Heck to golf at such a young age? Like many kids, she was motivated by food. Her father turned golf practice into a competition between his three daughters, and the prize was always ice cream – mint chocolate chip ice cream, to be exact.
“Every day after work, he would take my sisters and I out to the driving range,” Heck said of her dad. “We would always play some silly little game but the goal, if we won – which we always did because it was probably impossible not to – we got ice cream. So, for me, growing up, golf just meant ice cream.”
Forbes has released its annual ranking of the world’s highest-paid athletes for 2017, and some of the amounts listed are staggering.
Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo came in at No. 1 for the second straight year, thanks to his hefty salary and endorsements. His earnings increased by $5 million in 2017, bringing his total annual earnings to $93 million.
The list unsurprisingly had striking similarities to ESPN’s ranking of the year’s most famous athletes, including an identical top 3 of Ronaldo, LeBron James and Lionel Messi.