PGA

McIlroy has to get past that '2nd-round thing'

Posted July 15

Rory McIlroy plays from the green side bunker on the 17th hole during the Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen, Scotland, Friday July 11, 2014. (AP Photo/PA, Kenny Smith) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE

— Rory McIlroy calls it his "second-round thing."

Just something in his head.

Unfortunately for the two-time major champion, it's become a very real problem.

For some reason, McIlroy has struggled mightily on Fridays, a subject that came up again as he prepared for the British Open.

This year, McIlroy has played the opening round at a cumulative 49-under par. On the weekends, he's a combined 39 under. But on Fridays, for some reason, he's at 15 over.

"I have no problem shooting a low one on Thursday," he said. "There should be no reason I have any problem shooting a low one on Friday."

If only it was that easy.

Three times this year, McIlroy has opened a tournament with a 63. Not once did he build on those impressive starts to actually win the tournament. Most notably, he blew up to a 78 in the second round of the Memorial.

Last week, more of the same at the Scottish Open. McIlroy opened with a 7-under 64, only to shoot 14 strokes higher the following day. Fierce winds contributed to the dismal score, but that didn't fully explain why he had another poor showing in Round 2.

"I just got it into my head," McIlroy said. "I may be putting too much pressure on myself, going out on Fridays and trying to back up a (good) score."

At age 25, McIlroy already has two of golf's biggest titles on his resume, capturing the 2011 U.S. Open and the 2012 U.S. PGA Championship with runaway victories. He'd love to move another step closer to a career Grand Slam at Royal Liverpool, though he's never been an especially big fan of links golf.

"I guess when you go on tour and especially when you play the majority of your golf in the U.S., you start to neglect some of the shots you might need in conditions like this," McIlroy said. "I don't think I've evolved that much as a links player, but I've been trying, especially the past few weeks, to play some shots, really practice hard on some of the shots that I might need this week."

He will be playing his seventh British Open, with only one previous top-10 performance. Last year at Muirfield, McIlroy opened with a 79 and missed the cut.

"The Open Championship is a tournament that's very important to me," he insisted. "And my record in it hasn't been as good as I'd like. I'd love to improve on that."

McIlroy has gone through some big changes off the course — most notably, breaking up in May with his longtime girlfriend, Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, just as they were sending out invitations for their planned wedding.

These days, McIlroy seems mainly focused on his golf, though he hardly sounded persuasive when someone asked Tuesday if he was in a better place personally than he was a few months ago.

"I'm happy with everything that's going on."

Then, he talked about nothing but his playing schedule.

"I've got this week and then go back over to the States and the World Golf Championship and then the PGA and all the FedEx Cup playoffs and the Ryder Cup," he said. "So there's a lot to keep me busy and just looking forward to that stretch of golf coming up.

"So, yeah," he said, sounding a bit hesitant, "I'm happy."

___

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHR 4
DUR 2
 
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR
 
Final
BAL 7
ANA 6
Final
CLE 2
SEA 5
Final
DET 4
CWS 11
Final
CIN 3
ARI 0
Final
TAM 5
MIL 1
Final
NYM 0
PHI 6
Final
BOS 2
TOR 4
Final
MIA 3
WAS 0
Final
CHC 4
COL 3
Final
TEX 11
NYY 12
Final
KAN 1
MIN 2
Final
HOU 4
OAK 7
Final
LOS 8
ATL 4
Final
SDP 3
STL 1
Final
SFG 1
PIT 3
12:10pm Today
TAM
MIL
 
12:10pm Today
NYM
PHI
 
12:35pm Today
CIN
ARI
 
12:40pm Today
MIA
WAS
 
2:10pm Today
HOU
OAK
 
3:45pm Today
SFG
PIT
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
ANA
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
SEA
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
TOR
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
COL
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
NYY
 
8:10pm Tonight
KAN
MIN
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
ATL
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
STL
 
Final
CHR 4
DUR 2
 
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR