TROON, Scotland – No one can say Rory McIlroy isn’t evolving as player.
In 2011, he closed with rounds of 74-73 in conditions similar to those on Friday at Royal Troon to tie for 25th at The Open. Afterward his comments were telling.
“My game is suited for basically every golf course and most conditions, but these conditions I just don't enjoy playing in really,” he said at Royal St. George’s. “That's the bottom line. I'd rather play when it's 80 degrees and sunny and not much wind.”
But on Friday, when winds gusted to 35 mph and a cold rain blew in sideways off the Firth of Clyde the Northern Irishman had a much different outlook to all that Mother Nature had to offer.
McIlroy finished with an even-par 71, playing his first seven holes in 3 under before the storm blew in and led to four bogeys in five holes. But he rallied with a birdie on the 16th hole and was tied for 15th, eight strokes off the lead, when he finished his round.
“I think I've embraced the challenge of it more and more over the years. I used to hate playing in those conditions. I really did,” said the 2014 Open champion. “But I've found a way to get myself around the course and be as positive as I possibly can.”