Even the best in the world feel the nerves out on the course. The difference is how they handle it, or bet yet, who they have to help them handle it.
On Thursday during the opening round of the 146th playing of The Open Championship, Rory McIlroy got off to dismal start going 5-over through the first six holes. It was looking like another missed cut for the Nothern Irishman, something he’s done three out of the last four weeks heading into The Open, and he was desperate for a spark.
“I’m always more nervous playing in these four tournaments than I am anything else,” McIlroy confessed about the majors after the round. “And I felt that out there today just because of the lack-of-self belief I had going out.”
That’s when his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald took the cue on the sixth hole and decided it was time to give his man a pep talk.
“JP, he reminded me who I was, basically,” McIlroy explained after the round. “He said, ‘You’re Rory McIlroy, what the f— are you doing?'”
Caddie J.P. to Rory: ‘What the f— are you doing?’
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) July 20, 2017
Rory shrugged it off originally. “I said, ‘Yeah.’ At that point, I mumbled and said, ‘Whatever,'” Rory continued.
He carded his fourth consecutive bogey on the hole, but it was at that point that things seemed to start to click. He righted the ship closing the out the front nine with three straight pars and then looked very much like the four-time major champion he is firing a 4-under 32 and on the way in finishing 1-over and in a tie for 58th.
“Thankfully he’s not had to do it too often,” McIlroy said. “He’s never afraid to do it. I feel today it helped a lot more than at other times because I needed something. It wasn’t that I could look within myself. I was trying to. But J.P. kept me positive out there, so that was very much appreciated.”
“I showed the character today to bounce back and hang tough when I needed to,” he said. strong play carried over to Friday where McIlroy went out early and fired a two-under 68
McIlroy’s strong play carried over to Friday where he went out early and fired a 2-under 68 in windy conditions leaving himself 1-under overall after 36 holes and very much in the hunt for his second Open Championship title.
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