PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Rory McIlroy is sure glad to be back at the PGA Championship.
Having endured plenty of wayward shots this season, the 24-year-old was feeling more positive about his game after opening with a 1-under 69 on Thursday at Oak Hill in the final major of the year.
He probably hasn't felt this good since last year's PGA blowout at Kiawah Island, where he was on top of the golf world after a record eight-stroke victory.
Sure, it's a different course. But McIlroy will take any little edge he can get.
"To come back here, it gives me some confidence," he said.
Taking advantage of a venerable course softened up by overnight showers, McIlroy played especially well on the front nine other than knocking his ball in the water at No. 5, leading to a bogey. Four birdies put him on the leaderboard at the turn with a 3-under 32.
Alas, he couldn't keep it going. The back side started with back-to-back bogeys before play was halted because of approaching thunderstorms.
Still, it had to be encouraging to McIlroy that he pulled himself together during the 71-minute break. He birdied the 12th, shook off a bogey at the 17th and scrambled for par at the final hole after an errant tee shot.
Asked if he considered the round a success or just plain frustrating, McIlroy left no doubt where he stood.
"Today was definitely positive," he said. "I felt like I played really, really well."
Certainly good compared to the way it's gone most of the year. After changing equipment, McIlroy has been trying desperately to recapture the form that carried him to dominant victories in both of his major championships.
McIlroy wasn't much of a factor at either the Masters or the U.S. Open, and was downright lost at the British Open three weeks ago. He opened with an 8-over 79, pretty much assuring he wouldn't make it to the weekend before he even got to Friday, the most embarrassing moment coming when he putted his ball into a bunker.
"Sometimes, I feel like I'm walking out there and I'm unconscious," he moaned at the time. "It's a very alien feeling."
McIlroy thought about consulting a sports psychologist, but didn't follow through. He dismissed the advice of six-time major champion Nick Faldo, who suggested McIlroy was spending too much time worrying about his off-the-course pursuits. The youngster just kept heading to the range, confident he would eventually sort things out.
This seemed to be a step in the right direction.
Now, he's got to do it again.
The goal is "consistency day to day or hole to hole, focus on each and every shot and try not to think ahead too much or think about anything else and really just focus on my shot," McIlroy said. "That is what I'm trying to do."
|San Diego||12/12/13 7:25 PM|
|Washington||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|San Francisco||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Seattle||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Chicago||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Houston||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Buffalo||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|New England||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Philadelphia||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Kansas City||12/15/13 3:05 PM|
|NY Jets||12/15/13 3:05 PM|
|Arizona||12/15/13 3:25 PM|
|New Orleans||12/15/13 3:25 PM|
|Green Bay||12/15/13 3:25 PM|
|Cincinnati||12/15/13 7:30 PM|
|Baltimore||12/16/13 7:40 PM|
|New York||79||4th Qtr 5:03|
|San Antonio||108||4th Qtr 6:52|
|Miami||70||4th Qtr 7:52|
|Boston||66||3rd Qtr 3:43|
|Oklahoma City||58||3rd Qtr 8:42|
|Minnesota||76||3rd Qtr 6:29|
|Milwaukee||33||2nd Qtr 0:30|
|Ottawa||1||3rd Prd 20:00|
|Tampa Bay||4||3rd Prd 17:05|
|New Jersey||3||3rd Prd 15:13|
|Los Angeles||6||3rd Prd 18:56|
|Detroit||2||2nd Prd 2:08|
|Nashville||2||2nd Prd 4:08|
|St. Louis||0||2nd Prd 19:37|
|Chicago||2||1st Prd 6:25|
|NY Islanders||9:30 PM|
|Chowan||66||1st OT 0:14|
|Kansas||49||2nd Half 2:22|
|Green Bay||56||2nd Half 0:22|
|Albany||62||2nd Half 3:50|
|Central Conn St||73|
|Evansville||60||2nd Half 0:18|
|Central Penn College||62||2nd Half 6:19|
|Savannah State||25||2nd Half|
|South Dakota||31||2nd Half|
|IUPU-Ft Wayne||33||2nd Half|
|Ark-Little Rock||28||2nd Half|
|South Dakota St||28||2nd Half 19:39|
|Idaho State||8:00 PM|
|Boise State||8:00 PM|
|Colorado College||8:05 PM|
|Pacifica College||9:00 PM|
|Army||12/14/13 2:00 PM|
|SE Missouri St||9||2nd Half|
|Incarnate Word||20||2nd Half 20:00|
|(23) Gonzaga||30||2nd Half 19:23|
|Northern Iowa||24||2nd Half 17:07|
|Chattanooga||38||2nd Half 13:46|