Playing in the Irish Open at Carton House just outside of Dublin, Rory McIlroy shot a lackluster two-over 74 in the first round. Afterward, he blamed his woes on poor driving and admitted to reporters that things just aren’t quite right, according to the AP:
“At the moment, no aspects of my game are strong and I’m just feeling a bit lost at the moment,” he said. “It feels good on the range and I can hit all the shots but when I get out on the course it really does not seem to be there.
“Off the tee, I am missing one right and then missing one left and it’s just not going where I want it. It gets you in two minds every time you are playing a tee shot.
“The game is just not coming easy to me at the moment and while I was struggling at this point last year, I was able to turn the corner in the middle of the summer and have a great end to my season.
“I don’t know whether it’s a matter of trying to play my way out of it or just keep grinding away on the range or whatever.”
Relatively speaking, the world no. 2 has struggled so far in 2013 — missed cuts, walk-off withdrawal, middle-of-the-pack finishes, etc.
Rory will press on tomorrow and he promises there will be no club-throwing or club-bending — which he did in the final round of the U.S. Open at Merion a couple of weeks ago.
“It definitely wasn’t the right thing to do,” he said. “It doesn’t set a good example.”
No, but he gets a pass every once in a while. He sets a fine example for the most part, like simply speaking to the press despite his struggles.
McIlroy, a native of Northern Ireland, also admitted that he has felt a bit burdened playing in front of the home crowd.
“Something I’ve felt in a couple of Irish Opens is suffocated, having that burden and pressure and expectation. But the last couple of years I’ve tried to embrace the whole week, enjoy it and turn all that support into an advantage.”
Meanwhille, Shane Lowry, who upset Rory in the first round of the Match Play earlier this year and paired with him in the first two rounds this week, upstaged McIlroy once again, posting a five-under 67, just one shot out of the lead.
“I was just chomping at the bit to get out there this morning and I was just trying to play me way into the tournament nicely so I’m really pleased with a 67,” said Lowry.
“But it’s really a privilege to be able to play on my home golf course, stay in my own house, and have all my family and friends up home to watch me. What more could a professional golfer want?”