Mellow McIlroy places focus on opening round at US Open

Ruben Hill
September 16, 2020

Winged Foot has proven to be one of the toughest courses in major championship history - the 1974 U.S. Open was called the "Massacre at Winged Foot" - and the rough this week is thick and juicy. He gets a shot at a sixth green jacket at the Masters in November.

"It's been hard the last couple of weeks because you're sort of in limbo with when she's going to arrive and then in the back of your mind you're hoping it's going to go well".

It doesn't figure to get any easier at Winged Foot.

Rory McIlroy has issued a subtle plea to the United States Golf Association in a bid to avoid "goofy golf" in this week's US Open at Winged Foot. Others like Jon Rahm will mix driver and with a 3-wood.

"This year I really haven't putted as well as I wanted to and the times I did make a few swing mistakes, I missed it in the wrong spots", Woods added. There is no gallery to direct, only tee shots to locate.

"The practice rounds would have been 10 hours out here trying to find golf balls", Woodland said.

McIlroy has never played the iconic NY course before and his first impressions have been largely positive, but he fears a tough course set-up at one of the most hard venues in major championship golf could have dire consequences.

We will find out in due course whether becoming a father has a positive or negative impact on McIlroy's golf - starting with NY and the US Open this week.

"I think it's right up there next to Oakmont and I think Carnoustie as far as just sheer difficulty without even doing anything to it".

"The first three or four greens on this golf course are pretty wild, lots of slope", he said.

Taylor Pendrith, 29, joins Hadwin, Hughes and Conners at Winged Foot on the strength of his top-five finish on the Korn Ferry Tour rankings during this odd year of sports.

"I actually changed the first two diapers, so I'm very proud of that". The pandemic also means no spectators, which means no foot traffic by 40,000 people to trample the long, lush blades of grass.

Woods played nine holes Tuesday with Thomas, and they'll be spending even more time together later in the week. They are in the same group for the second straight major.

"It's a U.S. Open man, it's going to play tough, it's going to play challenging, and it's going to identify the best players in the world this week", he said. It's hard, so it's a different kind of fun, but it is fun.

As for the fun? Given good weather they will be able to do what they want with the golf course.

"You just have to embrace it".

In addition to the tight fairways, Winged Foot boasts its undulating greens. "It's probably one of my favorites I've ever played, to be honest", he said. "So it's a bit of an extra motivation there to play good this week and do what I have to do". I can't only try to make pars. Pendrith made a bunch of birdies.

"I mean, I expect to play well every week". I started Pebble (Beach) past year with a nice score and stayed up there for the most part, I didn't quite finish the week the way I wanted to.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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