Some major championships are slow burners. The first one of the year, it is claimed, fully gets under way on Sunday’s back nine.
On Tuesday, McIlroy laid out his plan for the week. He explained that he wants to pick up strokes at Augusta National’s four par fives, the 2nd, 8th, 13th, and 15th, and “play the other holes conservatively and smartly”.
Darren Clarke remains at a loss as to why no European golfer has tasted Masters glory since José María Olazábal in 1999.
Jason Day’s first trip to the Masters was very nearly his last trip to the Masters.
Rory McIlroy’s demeanour tells any onlooker he is not consumed by the pressure of trying to complete a clean sweep of major championships at his second attempt. As the 26-year-old himself put it: “Someone told me once that pressure is for tyres.”
Rory McIlroy’s Masters week received the ideal kick-start as the Northern Irishman produced a hole-in-one at Augusta National’s 16th on Monday. Using a seven iron, McIlroy delighted the crowd with a 170-yard ace.
Bubba Watson’s willingness to defy convention was apparent in his youth.
Jim Herman, who last week was ranked 191 in the world, has provided a Masters fairytale by clinching the Shell Houston Open and therefore the final spot in the 90-man field at Augusta National. Herman’s one-stroke triumph triggered tears and no wonder; this was the 38-year-old’s maiden victory on the PGA Tour.
This Masters already serves as Rory McIlroy’s odd one out. For the first time since 2012, the Northern Irishman will arrive at Augusta National without an all-consuming narrative as baggage.
The United States Golf Association’s belated attempt at damage limitation arrived on Monday evening, with those responsible for the chaos which engulfed the second major of the year expressing “regret” over events at Oakmont.
Circumstances had combined to strengthen Lee Westwood’s case for Ryder Cup inclusion even before his form in marquee events which suddenly renders an appearance for the Englishman at Hazeltine in September as a no-brainer.
The good news is that round one of the 116th US Open ended. That was 33 hours after it had begun. In a nod towards the impact of torrential rain 11 entrants had broken par; only eight did that in the entire tournament when it was played here at Oakmont in 2007.
Perhaps the golfing gods will smile upon the honest man.
The marginalia of US Open lore is scrawled thick with surprise first-round leaders who burst from obscurity only to vanish as quickly as they appeared. The roll of names reads like the answer key to a pub quiz – Lee Mackey Jr, Bob Gadja, Mike Nicolette, Olin Browne, Justin Hicks – improbable opening-round leaders all, each of whom plummeted back into relative anonymity.
Advanced apologies for something more akin to a weather bulletin.
Matt Kuchar moved into a tie for the lead after the second round of the Memorial Tournament in Ohio on Friday after posting a second successive round of 66. He stands in first place at 12-under par with his fellow American Brendan Steele, who has only one US tour win in his career - in 2011.
Crisis, what crisis? Rory McIlroy has criticised what he regards as the negative perception of his 2016 to date. McIlroy has not won this year despite a consistent run of six top-10 finishes in nine strokeplay events. At the WGC Match Play Championship he was defeated in the semi-final.
Early Monday morning in Augusta. On Washington Road, which runs out from downtown to the golf club, workmen are already packing away cones and pulling down signs. The police who spent the past week directing traffic are gone, so are the scalpers offering spare tickets and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who have quit their quiet roadside vigil.
As Darren Clarke uses this weekend to ponder his wildcard picks for the European team, with the announcement to be made at Wentworth on Tuesday, the nuances of Ryder Cup captaincy will play a part in his thinking.
There was nothing to separate Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson through 71 holes with the former Ryder Cup partners both 15-under par as they stepped on to the 18th green at the Olympic Golf Course on Sunday afternoon.
The popularity of major champions is always easy to determine.