US PGA Championship 2014: McIlroy shows full mettle by battling through the storm

World No 1 overcomes difficult conditions at Valhalla to keep on track for more major success at the US PGA

Valhalla

Old Trafford does not have a monopoly on filthy weather.

Valhalla was in the path of some big rain moving across the Bluegrass state yesterday making lakes of parts of the course and forcing a 50-minute suspension early in the day. 

You might think that a golfer born and bred in Northern Ireland might be well suited to a hosing, but no man deserves to walk through water pumping at Kentucky rates. This being America, of course, more rain falls in an hour than in a whole week in Belfast, at least so local testimony tells us. Thus it was a morning of umbrellas and waterproofs, and endless towelling of hands and grips.

Thankfully there are no squares to cover in golf and the fast-drying sub air systems in place at major courses in these parts are powerful enough to drain the Pacific. And when he finally emerged from his Goretex cocoon, McIlory showed why he remains the overwhelming favourite to lift the Wanamaker trophy tomorrow.

There is about McIlory a powerful calm these days. He has learned not to chase outcomes, nor to over react if they are not quite as he might like. And they certainly weren’t that at the start of a round in keeping with a morning cloaked in a kind of meteorological melancholy.

He was the only member of a marquee group that included Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer not to record a birdie on the opening hole, the par-5 tenth. Though that would have hurt him, he walked off the green two shots better than he did on Thursday, when he dropped a double bogey after a stupendous out of bounds to the left.

He fell back to four under with a bogey at the 12th, his par putt from eight feet, after finding the greenside trap, lipped out. It was beautifully struck but the break he saw wasn’t quite there, another early test of that iron mentality. 

The response was immediate, a 12-footer for birdie finding the centre of the cup at the 13th to take him back to five under par. A ten-footer for par at the 14th followed that to keep him there, and then he rolled in a 20-footer for birdie at the 15th.

By now the heavy rains that clobbered Louisville in the early hours had returned. At least the late start provided Bristol’s Chris Wood with more time to make the necessary wardrobe arrangements after the tear-up he experienced on day one.

Wood, who has yet to make the cut at this event in two attempts, made one of sorts when his trousers split all the way to his belt loops on his second hole on Thursday. Having left the waterproofs in his locker he was forced to cover up with a loaned pair from playing partner Johan Kok, not ideal since he is five inches shorter than the 6ft 6ins Wood.

Wood’s manager, Stuart Cage, eventually resolved the situation first by recovering the set of waterproofs then returning from the hotel with a replacement pair of trousers that held. Even so, Wood was taking no chances yesterday, posting a picture of himself leaving for the course with spares in his hands. 

“The most embarrassed I have ever been on the golf course,” Wood said. “It wasn’t just a little rip, it was 10 inches. Everybody was laughing at me.” An opening 66 was some compensation, though with trousers in one piece the second round did not start so well, a bogey, bogey opening his reward for playing with modesty intact. 

While the early starters were negotiating the worst of it, Ian Poulter spent his morning in a Twitter storm after British Airways bumped the family nanny out of business class, leaving Mrs P to look after the kids on her own for ten hours. Poor lamb.

“It looks like I'm being a stuck up nob. But what is wrong with getting what you have paid for. I ordered a steak. Sorry you can have tomato,” Poulter said, adding a second post of a golf ball with BA inked on it. “Byron the chef just said if you hit this down the first you might out drive Rory. Ha ha that’s funny.”

Not surprisingly there was little sympathy on Twitter for the domestic problems that sometimes snare the multi-millionaire golfer. This is, of course, familiar territory for Poulter, who likes to wear his wealth on his sleeve. “Thoughts with you at this dark time,” was typical of the kind of sympathy engendered.

It hadn’t yet been the imperious ball-striking round of day one, the weather made sure of that, but as soon as the latest pulse of rainfall had passed through McIlory opened his shoulders, piping a beauty down the par-5 18th. From there it was a straightforward business to find the green, less so to find the hole, but that is just what he did with his eagle putt, drained from fully 31 feet.

With that strike McIlory established a two shot lead on eight under par, enough to prompt the bookies to cut his odds for the final major of the season to evens despite only 27 holes being played. That is just the kind of madness from which he is so keen to distance himself. This is a beast of a course on sunny days. In filth like this it is a job just to stay afloat.

McIlory gave a shot back at the second, his 11th, after missing the fairway. At the third he was required to hole an eight-footer for par. At the fifth he was on the wrong side of providence in the greenside trap after his ball took a sharp deviation to the right. He got up and down, but this was a day when little came easy. 

If the mark of a great golfer is to score when not at his best, McIlory fulfilled the criterion with two birdies in his closing three holes, including a resounding finale from 16 feet. Take that.

Old Trafford does not have a monopoly on filthy weather. Valhalla was in the path of some big rain moving across the Bluegrass state yesterday making lakes of parts of the course and forcing a 50-minute suspension early in the day. 

You might think that a golfer born and bred in Northern Ireland might be well suited to a hosing, but no man deserves to walk through water pumping at Kentucky rates. This being America, of course, more rain falls in an hour than in a whole week in Belfast, at least so local testimony tells us. Thus it was a morning of umbrellas and waterproofs, and endless towelling of hands and grips.

Thankfully there are no squares to cover in golf and the fast-drying sub air systems in place at major courses in these parts are powerful enough to drain the Pacific. And when he finally emerged from his Goretex cocoon, McIlory showed why he remains the overwhelming favourite to lift the Wanamaker trophy tomorrow.

There is about McIlory a powerful calm these days. He has learned not to chase outcomes, nor to over react if they are not quite as he might like. And they certainly weren’t that at the start of a round in keeping with a morning cloaked in a kind of meteorological melancholy.

He was the only member of a marquee group that included Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer not to record a birdie on the opening hole, the par-5 tenth. Though that would have hurt him, he walked off the green two shots better than he did on Thursday, when he dropped a double bogey after a stupendous out of bounds to the left.

He fell back to four under with a bogey at the 12th, his par putt from eight feet, after finding the greenside trap, lipped out. It was beautifully struck but the break he saw wasn’t quite there, another early test of that iron mentality. 

The response was immediate, a 12-footer for birdie finding the centre of the cup at the 13th to take him back to five under par. A ten-footer for par at the 14th followed that to keep him there, and then he rolled in a 20-footer for birdie at the 15th.

By now the heavy rains that clobbered Louisville in the early hours had returned. At least the late start provided Bristol’s Chris Wood with more time to make the necessary wardrobe arrangements after the tear-up he experienced on day one.

Wood, who has yet to make the cut at this event in two attempts, made one of sorts when his trousers split all the way to his belt loops on his second hole on Thursday. Having left the waterproofs in his locker he was forced to cover up with a loaned pair from playing partner Johan Kok, not ideal since he is five inches shorter than the 6ft 6ins Wood.

Wood’s manager, Stuart Cage, eventually resolved the situation first by recovering the set of waterproofs then returning from the hotel with a replacement pair of trousers that held. Even so, Wood was taking no chances yesterday, posting a picture of himself leaving for the course with spares in his hands. 

“The most embarrassed I have ever been on the golf course,” Wood said. “It wasn’t just a little rip, it was 10 inches. Everybody was laughing at me.” An opening 66 was some compensation, though with trousers in one piece the second round did not start so well, a bogey, bogey opening his reward for playing with modesty intact. 

While the early starters were negotiating the worst of it, Ian Poulter spent his morning in a Twitter storm after British Airways bumped the family nanny out of business class, leaving Mrs P to look after the kids on her own for ten hours. Poor lamb.

“It looks like I'm being a stuck up nob. But what is wrong with getting what you have paid for. I ordered a steak. Sorry you can have tomato,” Poulter said, adding a second post of a golf ball with BA inked on it. “Byron the chef just said if you hit this down the first you might out drive Rory. Ha ha that’s funny.”

Not surprisingly there was little sympathy on Twitter for the domestic problems that sometimes snare the multi-millionaire golfer. This is, of course, familiar territory for Poulter, who likes to wear his wealth on his sleeve. “Thoughts with you at this dark time,” was typical of the kind of sympathy engendered.

It hadn’t yet been the imperious ball-striking round of day one, the weather made sure of that, but as soon as the latest pulse of rainfall had passed through McIlory opened his shoulders, piping a beauty down the par-5 18th. From there it was a straightforward business to find the green, less so to find the hole, but that is just what he did with his eagle putt, drained from fully 31 feet.

With that strike McIlory established a two shot lead on eight under par, enough to prompt the bookies to cut his odds for the final major of the season to evens despite only 27 holes being played. That is just the kind of madness from which he is so keen to distance himself. This is a beast of a course on sunny days. In filth like this it is a job just to stay afloat.

McIlory gave a shot back at the second, his 11th, after missing the fairway. At the third he was required to hole an eight-footer for par. At the fifth he was on the wrong side of providence in the greenside trap after his ball took a sharp deviation to the right. He got up and down, but this was a day when little came easy. 

If the mark of a great golfer is to score when not at his best, McIlory fulfilled the criterion with two birdies in his closing three holes, including a resounding finale from 16 feet. Take that.

Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living