After a succession of slow starts in the majors, Rory McIlroy has started the USPGA at Southern Hills like a golfer with something to prove. Starting his round on the 10th hole, four straight birdies on 12, 13, 14 and 15 launched McIlroy to the top of the leaderboard, where he has remained since.
Playing alongside Jordan Speith and Tiger Woods in the opening round seems to have spurred on the two time winner. The opposite is true of Jordan Spieth who, seeking to complete the grand slam of golf majors, has stumbled to +2 after 10 holes. Tiger, nursing the injuries sustained in February 2021, is holding things together at +1 as the wind begins to blow in Tulsa.
Although it is very early stages in golf’s second major of 2022, McIlroy hasn’t started this well since the US Open in 2021. He is driving the ball long and straight and he appears to be playing well within himself in the opening round.
As I write, McIlroy has sunk a short putt on the 11th and moves to -5 and into a two shot lead.
Pre-tournament favourites, John Rahm and Scottie Scheffler are yet to tee the ball up. They will have to play exceptionally well if they are to chase down McIlroy in this form and with the wind freshening.
McIlroy fans will know that Rory has had a problem putting four good rounds together. Getting off to this fine start simply means that he has not already given himself too much to do.