As it happened, Tiger Woods had to watch helplessly as Rory McIlroy stormed into the lead at the 104th US PGA Championship, as per reports. While McIlroy’s 65 marks the Northern Irishman’s best major tournament start since the 2011 US Open, which he won, Woods reminded us of his ongoing fitness issues.
In just his second tournament since fracturing his leg in a car accident, Tiger Woods made a strong start at Southern Hills. At the end of the first five holes, he was two under par after making his first birdie. To be fair, by the time Woods limped to the post-round media, his round had finished at 74, and he was clearly in pain.
Given how closely associated this sport has become with Woods, this appears to be a major issue. “I didn’t hit a lot of decent iron shots,” said the 15-time major champion. My driving was excellent, but my iron shots were dreadful. Unfortunately, my good fortune ran out before it could continue.
Both ways, I missed a lot of iron shots because I was having a hard time getting the ball on the putting green. In the past, Rory McIlroy would have been terrified by the prospect of forming a partnership with his hero, Tiger Woods. McIlroy now had the quick start in a major he’s been pursuing for so long, and this was a big moment for him.
However, “I’m not getting ahead of myself,” McIlroy remarked. It’s possible that I might have scored as low as 68 or 69 today and not have been leading, but if I had played the same golf I am now, I would still be as upbeat as I am now. John Daly, the tournament champion in 1991, started the day in the lead with a score of two under par, but he bogeyed four of the final five holes to finish with a score of 72.
In his own words, “My game felt extremely fantastic, but the scoreboard just indicated otherwise at times,” the Australian explained. When Rory McIlroy put on a great demonstration of his game, these hints of conscience were just as endearing.