Ireland's golfing 2012 in quotes - Part I

Rory McIlroy’s run of early season form began in the desert of the UAE and contiued in Tucson (above)The 2012 season was all about Rory McIlroy. He certainly hit the ground running, winning the Honda Classic in March to become Irish golf’s first world No 1.

January

“This will be my 10th year on tour and I have only ever played in one major at St Andrews in 2005. To me that’s horrendous. It does gnaw away a little bit and it’s something I’d love to put right.

Peter Lawrie on his record in Majors. He would go on to qualify for the US Open at Olympic Club where he missed the cut


“Paul would make a fantastic Ryder Cup captain. I heard he was brilliant at the Seve Trophy. I’d say he’s great in the team room and could really get the players motivated. I can imagine guys bursting out of that team room to play for him.”

Shane Lowry on Paul McGinley’s ability to captain the European Ryder Cup team

 

“It did cross my mind a couple of times.  So that’s not the answer you were expecting… I mean, when you see a guy out in front of you hitting it out there, you want to try and keep up with him.”

Rory McIlroy on being drawn into a long-driving contest with Tiger Woods in Abu Dhabi


Satisfaction and pride, especially when one considers who has chosen you. It’s your peers who are saying: we believe in you. It is a sign of respect for the way you have acted throughout your career.

José María Olazábal on becoming the just the third non-British captain of a European Ryder Cup team after Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer

 

The stars aligned for Rory McIlroy early in the season. Here’s the moon and Jupiter over the Ritz Carlton Resport near Tucson.February

“Why keep asking Rory to make an emotional decision? Rory can get away from the emotional decision by saying, ‘Look, I am going to do what is logical and best for golf on this island.’

“What’s logical and best for golf on this island, as things stand today, is for the two boys to declare for Great Britain and for four from the island of Ireland to play in the Olympics.”

Pádraig Harrington on why he believes Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell should declare for Team GB in the 2016 Olympic Games


“I’ll tell you how bad it is – I changed the position of my tongue in my mouth. To relax my jaw, I put the tongue at the top of my mouth. I used to bite it.”

Pádraig Harrington gives Gary Murphy an example of how far he is prepared to go to improve.


“They might rethink their bravado if Tiger starts kicking butt again, but right now Rory’s thinking, ‘Hey, old man, you had your day. My time is now.’”

Johnny Miller on Tiger, McIlroy and the rise of the young guns.


“No disrespect to the other two guys in the other semifinals, but it was almost my final in a way.”

Rory McIlroy on being spent for the final with Hunter Mahan, which he lost, after beating Lee Westwood in the semifinals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play.


“This is why I never want to complain about golf.”

Padraig Harrington auctions his logo-space to the highest bidders to raise money for his wife Caroline’s first cousin, Gerard Byrne, who was paralysed for life following a road traffic accident.


“It might have been the occasion got to me.  To be honest, I think growing up watching Tiger all those years win those majors, he gives out this aura where everything is just so focused. It’s like, ‘I’m going to rip your head off’ on that first tee.  I felt like that’s the way I needed to be to win a major.  But I quickly found out that that isn’t me and that isn’t how I play my best golf.”

Rory McIlroy on how trying to be like Tiger Woods cost him the 2011 Masters

March

“Caroline Wozniacki is probably the best partner Rory can have because she is physically strong, she has to be that way for her sport… there’s no better partner to have sitting beside you than someone who understands what it takes to do it.”

Greg Norman on the Wozzilroy dynamic


“I’m holding back so much right now … What a sexy beast.”

An impressed Dicky Pride after playing with Rory McIlroy in the third round of the Honda Classic


“It feels great. Knowing that I needed to go out today and play solid golf not just to win this tournament but to get to No 1 in the world and to be able to do it is very satisfying.”

Rory McIlroy holds off a charging Tiger to become Irish golf’s first world number one

 

“I have noticed Rory’s maturity over the last year. It’s since the Masters really. He learned a lot from that day.”

Gerry McIlroy on his son becoming world No 1.


“Growing up we had Tiger to look at and inspire us but now those kids have Rory.”

Harris English on McIlroy’s appeal to the new generation of golfers.


“It’s a shame, because he looked like he was coming out this year, swinging it really well, playing good, getting himself into contention.”

Rory McIlroy rues Tiger Woods’ withdrawal from the WGC-Cadillac with injury.

“Rory has got everything going at the moment and he has got the little bit of momentum which you have to have, that confidence. It is nice to be young and fearless.”

Padraig Harrington, struggling with his putting, waits patiently for his game to come around

 

“It’s all a bit surreal at the moment but it always feels like that for me.”

Honest as always, Michael Hoey reflects on his fourth European Tour win in the Hassan Trophy in Morocco


“I think he really just kind of nailed home his comeback. Great to have a front row seat watching maybe the greatest of all time doing what he does best, winning golf tournaments.”

Graeme McDowell couldn’t stop Tiger Woods winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational