Connect with us


US Open 2024: Rory McIlroy says patience needed to win major title at Pinehurst

McIlroy famously set 11 US Open records when he blazed to an eight-shot victory at Congressional 13 years ago to win his first major.

But he then went through a sticky patch, missing four cuts out of the next seven at US Opens, including three on the trot from 2016.

However, he has improved his finishing position in each of his past five US Opens – all in the top 10 – culminating in last year’s runner-up finish to Wyndham Clark.

“I’m more confident than ever that I’m right there,” said the 35-year-old.

“I struggled a bit on US Open set-ups but then I tried to figure out why that was.

“I sort of had a bit of a come-to-Jesus moment and my performances from 2019 have been really, really good.

“It’s about embracing the difficult conditions, embracing the style of golf needed to contend at a US Open, embracing patience, embracing what I would have called ‘boring’ back in the day.”

And nowhere is that patience and methodical approach going to be more needed than at Pinehurst’s Number Two course, which is staging the US Open for a fourth time and has a reputation for being one of the toughest in the world.

American Payne Stewart holed a 15-foot par putt to win the 1999 title by one shot on one under par, while level par was good enough for New Zealand’s Michael Campbell to beat Tiger Woods by two shots in 2005.

And although Martin Kaymer romped to an eight-shot victory in 2014, he was one of only three players to finish under par.

“A course like this definitely demands creativity,” said McIlroy, who added that his key objective before Thursday’s opening round is to “figure out what shots to hit around greens”.

“I’ve already seen some videos online of people maybe trying fairway woods or having lob wedges or putters,” he said.

“It’s on and around the greens where I’m going to have to do the most work.

“Martin [Kaymer] 10 years ago used the putter very, very well.”

McIlroy also said that a little bit of luck will be needed with sandy waste areas and clumps of deep rough waiting for errant shots off the tee.

But he maintains “for the viewer at home, that is more exciting than seeing guys hack out of four-inch rough all the time” as happens most weeks on the PGA Tour.

“It gives you options,” he said. “Even going back to last week at Memorial, people hit it offline or people hit a green, you’re basically only seeing players hit one shot.

“There’s only one option. That turns into it being somewhat one-dimensional and honestly not very exciting.”

Source link

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *