BETHESDA, Md. – It was 10 a.m. when Rory McIlroy stepped up to the first tee of Congressional CC’s Blue Course to play a practice round for the second consecutive day at the host of the U.S. Open. Already nearly 90 degrees, McIlroy was dripping sweat – even as he stood in the delightful shade on the first tee.
He pipes a 3-wood down the middle of the fairway at the first, the ball landing where the fairway pinches in and turns to the left. With the course undergoing its final preparations for next week, McIlroy is getting acclimated early to what will be a very hot U.S. Open.
The Open may play to a scorecard length of over 7,500 yards, but McIlroy says driver will not be a big part of his approach. Asking him on the tee how many drivers he’ll pull around Congressional each day, McIlroy counts the holes and arrives at nine.
How come so few on so long of a course?
“The course is playing really firm right now,” McIlroy said. “And they’re going to move the tees around to give us a lot of options this week.
The USGA has said it expects Congressional to play to its full length each day, but it is fighting the heat wave in the area that has seen temperatures approach 100 degrees in recent days. Ergo, nine drivers is all McIlroy needs. That’s just him, though.
Plenty of guys are going to hit driver here [at the first], but that just doesn’t make sense for me,” he said.