Wine country, low-key vibe at Frys suits McIlroy


NAPA, Calif. – Though perhaps not as distracting as Las Vegas or New Orleans, there are plenty of appealing off-course options for players this week at the Open. 

“After this we’re going to go to the vineyard and check it out,” Rory McIlroy said Thursday after his opening 68. “Excited about that.” 

It’s tempting to say this is a working vacation for McIlroy, who is only playing this week’s event because he was among the eight players who played in a lucrative 2012 exhibition in Turkey held the same week as the Frys. He had to play here once over a three-year period.

“Yeah, I was obligated,” he said, “but I was looking forward to coming here because I haven’t played that much and because there is stuff to do off the golf course. It was always going to be a week where it was great to get some competitive play but enjoy yourself at the same time.” Open: Articles, photos and videos

McIlroy looked sharp while recording five birdies and missing several other chances on a perfect day for scoring. He said he didn’t feel lethargic, despite the relatively subdued crowds and low-key opener.

“It’s a nice event,” he said. “It’s a beautiful part of the world. There is a lot of stuff to do off the golf course as well. Just trying to find a balance between not feeling too hungover when you tee it up the next day.”