GolfDifferent Strokes

Watch: Rory McIlroy celebrates Zurich Classic victory with rendition of Don’t Stop Believin’

While there’s little chance of him taking on Taylor Swift in the music world, the boy from Holywood, Co Down, certainly didn’t disappoint on the microphone

Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry were taken out of their comfort zone and put on stage after their Zurich Classic win in New Orleans. While there’s little chance of him taking on Taylor Swift in the music world, the boy from Holywood, Co Down, certainly didn’t disappoint with his cover version of Journey’s hit song, Don’t Stop Believin’.

The post-tournament recording of McIlroy and Lowry celebrating their win on the PGA Tour went viral, with McIlroy taking the mike for his rendition of a “small-town girl, livin’ in a lonely world” and a “city boy” which was a hit for Journey in the ‘80s.

The clip certainly provided a let-your-hair-down insight into McIlroy’s ability to enjoy the craic following his latest – and 25th career win on the PGA Tour – success, with Lowry also clearly enjoying the moment without joining on on that particular song.

It’s not as if Lowry doesn’t know a tune or two, as he showed when he won the Claret Jug in 2019 and took the oldest Major trophy on a journey of its own to one party stop after another where the Offaly man’s own party piece – his own version of the Christy Moore hit, My Little Honda 50 – usually finished to a standing applause.

St Andrews facelift

The most iconic golf clubhouse of all has had a facelift, of sorts, while retaining its old look.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has reopened its historic clubhouse following completion of renovation work to extend the building and implement new and enhanced facilities. The redevelopment of the clubhouse is the largest undertaking in 100 years, with the last significant addition to the world-renowned building having taken place in 1924.

The improvements include new and extended locker room space to offer women’s facilities, a new heritage lounge displaying historic architectural plans of the clubhouse, a new members’ shop, a refurbished trophy room displaying the club’s trophies and medals, and a new golf concierge desk offering services to members.

Martin Slumbers, Secretary of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, said, “The clubhouse renovation is the most significant enhancement that we have made to the building in 100 years and we are pleased to have made these improvements while retaining its special character and appearance. All members will now be able to enjoy the use of new and improved facilities which will enrich their experience of visiting and playing golf in St Andrews.”

Word of mouth

“I just kind of thought, ‘Screw it. Now is not the time to hold back anymore’. I think that just made me swing a little bit more freely” – Sweden’s Maja Stark of changing her mindset down the stretch, but ultimately coming up three strokes shy of Hannah Green who successfully defended her LA Championship title on the LPGA Tour. It was a second straight runner-up finish for Stark.

By the numbers - 100

The cut-off for exemption into the upcoming US PGA Championship comes after this week’s CJ Cup, where the top-100 on the official world rankings (Monday May 6th) not already exempt will earn places in the field at Valhalla. Séamus Power is currently in 110th place on the OWGR and is playing in Las Vegas.

On this day: 30th April 1989

Scott Hoch was given the rather cruel moniker of Hoch the Choke, with his putting shortcomings in the Masters tournament – where he missed an 18-inch putt on the final hole of regulation and then a two-footer at the first playoff hole with Nick Faldo – used as evidence.

But just over two weeks after that unsettling finish and loss, Hoch proved his great resilience when winning a playoff of his own in the Las Vegas Invitational – now known as the Shriner’s Childrens Open on the PGA Tour – where, after rounds of 69-64-68-65-70 for a 90-holes total of 24-under-par 336, he beat Robert Wrenn at the fifth hole of he man-on-man shootout. It was his first win on tour in five years.

What Hoch did next, however, showed more than his golfing acumen. Hoch kept a promise to donate a share of his winnings to the Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital where his son Cameron (in 1986) had been treated. It was thought at the time Cameron had cancer but it thankfully turned out that he didn’t.

“My wife has been after me ever since to donate something to them. I’m not a real religious man, but I said ‘God willing’ . . . .” said Hoch, who was as good as his word in giving half of his winnings to the hospital.

X/Twitter Twaddle

“Well I joined that boozy lunch in the early evening back in October that led to Rory and Shane partnering up this week. Always brings a smile to see any of my players win – winning together is event better. Well done lads” – Europe Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald

“That was a good birthday!!” – Stephen Ames on winning the Mitsubishi Electric Classic on the Champions Tour on his 60th birthday.

“Oscar you earned your way into your first @Challenge_Tour event with your hard work and talent! So proud to witness you make the cut against this quality field. Golf is great!” – a happy Tommy Fleetwood after caddieing for his stepson Oscar Craig in the Abu Dhabi Championship, where the 17-year-old amateur made the cut.

Know the Rules

Q - A player takes lateral relief from a red penalty area by correctly dropping a ball in the two club length relief area. While the player is assessing their next shot, a gust of wind blows the ball back into the penalty area. What is the ruling?

A - There is no penalty but the player must replace the ball back on its original spot (Rule 9.3 – if the players puts the original ball or another ball into play by dropping, placing or replacing it, and natural forces cause the ball at rest to move and come to rest in another area of the course or out of bounds, the ball must be replaced on its original spot).

In the Bag

Shane Lowry/Rory McIlroy, Zurich Classic


Driver – TaylorMade Qi10 (9 degrees)

3-wood – TaylorMade Qi10 (15 degrees)

5-wood – TaylorMade Qi10 (18 degrees)

Irons – TaylorMade Proto (4), TaylorMade Rors Proto (5-9)

Wedges – TaylorMade MG4 (46, 50 and 54 degrees), Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks (58 degrees)

Putter – TaylorMade Spider Tour X3

Ball – 2024 TaylorMade TP5x


Driver – Srixon ZX5 MkII (8.5 degrees)

5-wood – TaylorMade Stealth Plus (18 degrees)

Irons – Srixon ZX Utility (3), Srixon ZX5 MkII (4-5), Srixon ZX7 MkII (6-PW)

Wedges – Cleveland RTX 6 Zipcore Tour Rack (50 and 54 degrees), Cleveland RTX Full Face (58 degrees)

Putter – TaylorMade Spider Tour Z

Ball – Srixon Z-Star XV