McIlroy, reporter exchange Twitter jabs

July, 28, 2011

U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy found himself in a Twitter fracas with an on-course reporter following his group Thursday during the opening round of the Irish Open.

[+] Enlarge
Rory McIlroy
Stuart Franklin/Getty ImagesRory McIlroy exchanged Twitter barbs with a reporter after a tough first round in Ireland on Thursday.

Jay Townsend, an American and former tour pro who has worked for several years as an analyst on Golf Channel's coverage of the European Tour, questioned McIlroy's course management during Thursday's broadcast and later on Twitter.

"McIlroy's course management was shocking," Townsend tweeted after the Northern Irishman had hit a driver off the tee (Townsend questioned the move during the broadcast, saying he should have used a 3-wood) and then splashed his approach from a bunker to make a double bogey on the final hole.

Another post said: "Some of the worst course management I have ever seen beyond under-10 boys golf competition.''

Townsend was taking to question McIlroy's caddie, J.P. Fitzgerald and said he "should hire Steve Williams, as I thought J.P. allowed some shocking course management today.''

The reference was to Tiger Woods' recently-fired caddie, who has since gone to work for Adam Scott.

"Shut up ... You're a commentator and a failed golfer, your opinion means nothing!" McIlroy tweeted. When Townsend said he stood by his remarks, McIlroy added: "Well, I stand by my caddie."

Townsend had been critical of Fitzgerald previously and in particular following the Masters, when McIlroy squandered a four-shot lead and shot 80 in the final round at Augusta National.

On Thursday, McIlroy had gotten to 4-under par for his round but finished with a 1-under-par 70, and is seven strokes behind leader Jeev Milkha Singh of India.

Afterward, he told reporters: "He's been having a go at J.P. every now and again and this was the first time I've responded -- it was the straw that broke the camel's back,'' McIlroy said of Townsend. "Now I've blocked him on Twitter so I won't be reading anything more."

Bob Harig | email

ESPN Senior Writer



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?