Golf balls rain down at Precipitation Invitational
The weather was supposed to have been finer, and so was the form of world no 2 Rory McIlroy
Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland, Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain and Richard Sterne of South Africa line up a putt on the 18th hole during the first round of the Irish Open at Carton House Golf Club in Maynooth, Ireland. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry share a joke on the 3rd tee box. Photograph: Inpho/Cathal Noonan
McIlroy chips onto the 18th green. Photograph: Inpho/Cathal Noonan
Ireland’s Paul McGinley signs autographs at a players Q&A during the first round of the Irish Open at Carton House Golf Club today. Photograph: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
“They should rename this the Precipitation Invitational,” said yer man taking shelter in the tented village. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
The early morning drizzle steadied to a downpour, just like last year at Royal Portrush, as Europe’s finest took to the immaculate fairways of Carton House for the opening round of the Irish Open. The weather was supposed to have been finer, and so was the form of world no 2 Rory McIlroy.
But he opened his account with two bogeys in the first three holes. Having spent the pre-tournament build-up taking up his game, he showed less than brilliant form on the opening nine holes with some zig-zag golf.
Clad in grey and black rain gear he displayed a grey and black mood with “what’s going on” looks directed at his caddie and disbelieving stares after some stray shots. It really wasn’t supposed to be like this.
Not that the early leader Shane Lowry took any notice. Playing on home turf, he shot his way into the lead with at five under, seven ahead of his superstar partner.
Will Irish Eyes Be Smiling, questioned a number of posters bearing the faces of the Irish contingent. The answer appeared to be: well – yes and no.
Lowry’s were when he hosted his press conference.
If he found it irksome that so many questions about Rory’s performance came his way, he didn’t show it.
The 2009 Irish Open champion, and the local touring pro, politely declined to offer free advice on the Co Down man’s problems and insisted his mind was taken up entirely with his own game.
Padraig Harrington’s eyes weren’t smiling either. Sure, he picked up a few shots – then handed them right back.
Darren Clarke didn’t look happy either at three over. No flashing smile, no banter with spectators. Warning bells.
In contrast down in the tented village the tills rang. The big names in golf stuff were all there – with free professional coaching for the kids. A good move by Golf Ireland if ever there was one.
You could have bought a BMW if you were of a mind, or won one if you holed out on the short 17th. Emirates plane tickets were also available. It’s not often you find those for sale in a Kildare meadow. Or what about an apartment in Spain? Or Portugal? Hmmmm.
The skies eventually cleared and the many who turned up in shorts began to look vindicated. They looked to the promise of a sunnier day tomorrow. So too, no doubt, did Rory and Padraig and Darren.