Rory McIlroy is optimistic about his chances of ending his great seven-year voodoo when the 121st US Open kicks off on Thursday morning. The world number 11 said he has made progress since formally partnering with English swing coach Pete Cowen in an effort to revive his fortune and enters the third major of the season with renewed confidence after a productive week of practice in Florida. .
“I feel good about where my game is,” McIlroy said. “It’s about going out and playing as free as you can and having that mindset that I had when I was 22 and just trying to get into that mindset.
“The technical and mechanical parts are all there. It’s just a matter of going on stage at the US Open and trusting what I’ve been doing in practice. “
The 32-year-old Northern Irishman, who captured the first of his four major titles at the 2011 U.S. Open at the United States Congress in Bethesda, Maryland, remains among the headliners as the world’s best have descended on this. countryside by the sea owned by the city. The winner will claim approximately $ 2.25 million (£ 1.59 million) out of a $ 12.5 million purse, the highest among the four pivotal events in professional golf.
McIlroy will set out alongside world number one Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose in a trio of former US Open champions. “The setup is great,” McIlroy said. “It’s nice to come to a place where we all know him pretty well from being on the PGA Tour calendar.
“There really is no secret out there. We all know what to do and how to play, and it’s just a question of who can run for the four days.
McIlroy will try to follow in the footsteps of Phil Mickelson, who broke his own slightly longer drought by becoming the biggest winner in history at last month’s PGA USA Championship. The six-time US Open runner-up, who turned 51 on Wednesday and required a special exemption to enter before last month’s victory at Kiawah Island, will attempt to become the sixth player to complete his career grand slam at the major that he has caused so much agony over the years.
“It has been a special place for me to grow up and play our high school games, play a lot of golf here as a municipal field,” Mickelson said. “Making the field open to the masses is something special, and having a major championship there is exciting. Although it is very different from when I grew up 35 years ago, it is still a special place and is in extraordinary shape. “
The many plots that converge on the Pacific cliffs have been largely overshadowed by the high-profile feud between Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, who are at opposite ends of the draw. DeChambeau won his first major at last year’s US Open at Winged Foot, where he finished six shots ahead of runner-up Matthew Wolff. Koekpa has twice won the title in 2017 and 2018.
The US Open imagines itself as the toughest test in golf and the narrow fairways, dense, rough and glassy greens across the 7,652-yard south course surely fit in with what has become a family recipe. But a quick poll of its last five champions, Dustin Johnson, Koepka (twice), Gary Woodland and DeChambeau, has lent credence to criticism that the United States Golf Association’s architectural strategy for its exhibition event favors disproportionately to the biggest hitters on the tour.
“I think the whole world knows it as probably the toughest golf tournament of the year,” said Webb Simpson, who won the 2012 US Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. “Sometimes I forget how difficult setups for the US Open are in these typical fields. But I love it for a week. I don’t think I like it 20 times a year, but it’s a lot of fun for a week. You feel like it’s a kind of survival every day. “
The specter of Tiger Woods hangs over the competition even as his future remains in doubt after the February car accident that left him seriously injured. The 15-time Major winner conjured perhaps his most famous victory at Torrey Pines in 2008, dueling Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole playoff while playing with a double stress fracture and a torn ACL that required surgery the following week. .
A plaque was unveiled on Wednesday commemorating the famous putt on the 18th green that propelled him to the playoff, a permanent consecration of perhaps the most dramatic Open. How can this year’s edition compare? We will just have to look and see.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism