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Friday, November 1, 2013

The Wraparound Season Seems to Suit Rory Just Fine

As I'm writing this, the WGC-HSBC Champions in China is only halfway through the second round... but Rory is still looking good. After his first round of 7-under he's picked up 2 more in 13 holes. It's not a certainty that he'll win but after his struggles this year -- or was it last year? I get confused -- he finally seems to have found something solid.

Rory during the first round

GC's broadcast team noted that Rory has a new driver and ball in play -- the ball is softer so his short game is better, but he still hits the ball farther. (They didn't say, but presumably the extra spin helps him keep the ball in play with the driver as well.) They've also noted that Rory seems to have eliminated the strange rerouting move he had picked up over the last year or so, a change to which Rory is attributing the improvement. At any rate, he played well against Tiger in their exhibition match and now his game appears to have traveled to the WGC.

That's good news for Rory fans... and for Rory as well, I suppose.

But some other players seem to have found something as well. Among the players right on Rory's heels, Dustin Johnson is playing well; right now (as I'm writing this, that is) he's tied with Rory for the lead.

And just a shot behind them is Jordan Spieth, who found "Jonas Spieth" on his locker's nameplate. (He tweeted that he must have a new nickname in China.) But while the Chinese sponsors may not be sure who the locker belongs to, Jordan's game clearly has no doubts. If this is any indication, Jordan may escape the "sophomore jinx" that hits so many young players.

Hideki Matsuyama wasn't so lucky. He had to withdraw before the second round with back problems. I can't remember for sure but I seem to recall him having some pain at the Presidents Cup. Hopefully it won't become a chronic problem.

But the big news right now is Rory's improved form. He already holds a share of the course record at Sheshan International Golf Club. It'll be interesting to see if he can finally get himself another PGA Tour victory there as well.

The photo came from this USATODAY article.

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