“Happy with the way I struck the ball”, said McIlroy, who ruptured a ligament in his ankle July 4 playing soccer.
Of the last 29 Majors, there have been 21 different winners with Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Martin Kaymer, Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth being the only two-time or more Major winners.
It is time for once again for action with the fourth and final Major of the year, The PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
Rory McIlroy revealed it took him just two US PGA Championship holes to convince himself that no negative reaction had been caused by his recent and enforced injury absence.
Johnson has a 1-stroke lead over David Lingmerth and is two ahead of a pack at 68 including Jason Day and Matt Kuchar. “We’ll see if we can get somebody to carry it around for the round”. “It’s only the first round. We’ve still got a lot more golf to play”.
Round 1 was a draw.
He pitched out into the fairway and his third shot trickled into the water hazard. But it was a big one. “It was fine. I just had to remember to hit it hard”.
McIlroy rolled up a trouser leg and waded in, splashing the ball to some six feet and making the par putt.
“I’m very pleased, I played great all day”, world No 81 Morrison said.
“If the water gets through this (left) shoe, then the tape [on his ankle] gets wet and then that would be annoying or uncomfortable for the rest of the day”. Stricker shot a 1-under 71 for one of the best scores of the afternoon wave.
“I hit a great drive down there”, he said of the 16th.
Spieth missed a 10-footer for birdie at the 10th and ran up his only bogey of the day at the par-five 11th, where he three-putted from 15 feet.
Wind speeds picked up dramatically before afternoon groups were off the opening tee boxes, helping protect Johnson’s early lead. McIlroy and Spieth each came home in 71.
Spieth said the atmosphere around the group was “fantastic”.
“I just reminded myself that I was four-over through 11 when I won at Merion (2013 US Open) and I bounced back from that”, he said.
“Dustin Johnson saunters into scoring center, where they dropped hammer on him in 2010”.
With his athletic power game allied to his customary laid-back demeanor as he worked his way around the links-style layout, the 31-year-old eagled the par-five 16th and added five birdies and one bogey to surge to the top of the leaderboard. He couldn’t help but think of St. Andrews.
“It did cross my mind but that was it”. Thursday’s 75 (3 over) was his best round in that stretch. In the four majors this year, he is 18-over par in the opening round with a scoring average of 76.
Masters and U.S. Open champion Spieth was delighted with the grit that he displayed during a round highlighted by a chip-in for birdie at the par-three 12th.
But the bogeys soon began to appear, as did frustration with his putter.
“There were a lot of positives to take from today though, the way I hit the ball and the way I hit some putts”, said the 30-year-old from Dusseldorf, who played with Americans Tiger Woods and Keegan Bradley in the opening round. The two shots on the second hole settled me down.
“I got off to a flying start, was able to make some putts and give myself a lot of looks”, he said.