McIlroy and Woods grind it out to stay in the mix
Masters champion Adam Scott left gaspingfor air after four successive bogeys
Rory McIlroy during his second round of the US Open at Merion Golf Club, Pennsylvania. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
The two endorsers of the Swoosh had a number of common themes, apart from their manufacturer’s branding, as they went about their business yesterday in this 113th US Open.
Their Nike clubs, for one. The strut. The swing. Their status as past US Open champions, for another; a point not lost on Adam Scott who, in spite of being the newest member of golf’s Majors’ club, was pointedly isolated on the tee as the announcer introduced Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy in outlining their successes in the championship.
And, for much of a day which started with a morning chill that stubbornly refused to allow the sun’s rays break through until the afternoon, US Masters champion Scott – who wasn’t let in on the orange colour theme exhibited by his playmates – did his utmost to grind it out like the two men immediately ahead of him in the world rankings.
Indeed, all three shared similar travails with an intransigent golf course in their quests to add a Major tally of 17 – 14 to Woods, two to McIlroy and one ot Scott – that, combined, still fell short of Jack Nicklaus’s record 18. If that number is to be increased, then some magic will need to be conjured up over the weekend’s finale, one that promises firmer and faster conditions. As if things weren’t tough enough already.
Yesterday was a day for grinding, and, to their credit, Woods, bothered by a nagging injury to his left wrist caused when extricating a shot from rough on Thursday, and McIlroy especially rolled up their sleeves and got on with the task at hand. Scott, too, battled, only to be cast aside when thrown onto the bogey train on the back nine of his second round.
The three men had returned to complete their business yesterday on a cool, dank day robbed from another season. With jackets zipped up tight, the unfinished work of Thursday, when the gathering gloom brought an end to play, was done. It wasn’t always pretty – as exemplified by Scott’s hooked tee-shot out-of-bounds on the 15th or their play of the Par 3 17th where all incurred bogeys – but, when the time came to sign their first round scorecards, all were content: Scott a 72, McIlroy and Woods with 73s.
Woods didn’t want to dwell on his injured wrist. Asked what caused him to grimace on occasion, he replied: “Pain.” Before adding: “But it is what it is, and you move on.” Still, Woods had required treatment on the injury on Thursday night.
On the fairways
And copying a line or two from his Nike co-star, McIlroy – referring to his ball landing in divots on the fairways – remarked: “It’s fine, it is what it is. And as long as you keep putting the ball in the fairway that’s the main thing.”