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January 27, 2012

Truth & Rumors: McIlroy slips up; New caddie for Els

D'oh! Rory gets two-stroke penalty at Abu Dhabi
Rory McIlroy had a momentary brain lapse in Friday's round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship that cost him a two-shot penalty and left him tied for fourth instead of tied for the lead at the end of the day. McIlroy brushed away sand from his line when playing his shot from off the ninth green. The Irish Examiner has the story:

Ireland's US Open champion would have been alongside Dane Thorbjorn Olesen -- a rather less well-known 22-year-old -- but for brushing sand away from his line on the ninth hole of his second round.

That would have been all right if it had been on the green, but he was six feet off the putting surface and world number one Luke Donald instantly brought it to his attention.

"I wasn't thinking clearly and just made a very stupid mental mistake," McIlroy said.

Playing partner Luke Donald immediately brought the mistake to McIlroy's attention.

"Luke said: 'Don't think you can do that', and I was like: 'Oh yeah, I can't, can I? It happens and you just have to take it on the chin."

Despite the miscue, McIlroy was able to scramble back and finish the round with a 72. 

New caddie for Els
Ernie Els will be seeking the advice from a new caddie for the duration of this year's Farmers Insurance Open. According to Reuters, his long-term caddie, Ricci Roberts, suffered a freak accident after falling down a flight of stairs after a pro-am event in South Africa.

Roberts, who had competed in a charity tournament to raise funds for the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation, broke his ankle after accepting a prize and will be out for at least two months.

"I called Ricci up on stage and he did a little speech but when he walked off he just kind of missed his first step and he went down," Els told Reuters before Thursday's opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

"It was so damn dark and this stage was about this high," the South African added, pointing six feet above the air. "The poor guy broke his ankle so he's out for a while.

Els's replacement caddie, Dan Quinn, is a former National Hockey League player and has caddied for Els before back in 2010, according to Reuters. Els said he expects Ricci to be back caddying for him by the middle of March. 

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