Rory McIlroy tries to get mind right after saving face
In the context of what had gone before, a birdie was cause for letting off flares. After three in four holes around the turn yesterday and an eagle at the last for a 68 Rory McIlroy was pledging a round of drinks in the Conway Farms clubhouse.
When he left the field of play on Friday night McIlroy had been filling in that old football joke attaching to the league’s bottom club – strongest by virtue of propping up the rest. Yep, McIlroy was stone cold last.
From there, two rounds of 59 would not have been enough to take McIlroy to the climax of the FedEx Play-Offs in Atlanta next week. Jim Furyk’s searing entry into the sub-60 club on Friday had cast McIlroy in a deeply unflattering light at an event he won a year ago. The Ulsterman’s halfway total at the BMW Championship in Chicago of 155, compiled with rounds of 78 and 77, is the highest of his career.
There was better news yesterday, reaching the turn in one under. A birdie-birdie start to the run for home was further embellishment of a card in desperate need of red ink. Ordinarily McIlory would have been on his bike, but since there is no cut this week in an already diminished 70-man field, he was forced to answer an early alarm call for a 7.10am start and confront his embarrassment head on.
“Everything sort of came easy last year,” McIlroy said “I’m working harder, hitting more balls, spending more time on the range because I’m searching for it. And that’s what’s so frustrating. But, the fact that I’m working hard and I’m not really getting much out of it, if I can keep patient and keep working hard, I’m sure it’ll turn around.” McIlroy’s eagle finish for a 68 was welcome balm. He has a four-week break after Chicago before resuming on the European Tour in Asia, time enough you hope for McIlroy to iron out the ripples in his brain as well as his game.
Furyk is only the sixth to card a 59 on the PGA Tour, a mark no-one has set in Europe. His second round was 13 shots better than his first and took him into a share of the lead with Brandt Snedeker on 11 under par.
He kept the nerves at bay over the closing holes by talking NFL with playing partner, Gary Woodland. “I thanked him after nine. I said I kind of needed that because I found myself pacing back and forth,” Furyk said.
“I noticed one of the wedges in his bag and we were just talking about wedges in general, because we both play Callaway equipment, and we started into the football. I was kind of smiling when I was over getting ready to hit my drive. I actually quit thinking about trying to shoot 59 there for a few minutes, which was a good thing.”
Latest in Sport
Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs posts bizarre video of his Miami holiday being invaded by an iguana
Raheem Sterling to Manchester City: Winger to report for Liverpool training on Monday but Reds braced for third City bid this week
Women's World Cup 2015: England secure third place as they beat Germany in extra time with penalty by Fara Williams
Toby Alderweireld to Tottenham: Atletico Madrid 'accept £11m bid' as Spurs beat Southampton to defender
Alexis Sanchez 'will miss start of Arsenal season' after Chile go all the way in Copa America
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 3 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 4 Motorists taunt suicidal woman on bridge and tell her to 'get on with it'
- 5 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture