FORT WORTH, Texas – Following a first-round 68 at the Charles Schwab Challenge, Rory McIlroy admitted that, after a 91-day hiatus from golf, his distance control was off with his wedges.
On Friday, his 7-under 63 included 15 of 18 greens in regulation and a 1.72 strokes gained advantage over the field. What changed?
“Actually, the rental home we're staying in this week has a simulator in the basement, and I actually hit a few balls in there last night, and that helped,” McIlroy said. “The fact that where we're staying has a simulator and you can hit some shots, I guess get some numbers, I just needed to sort of dial them in a little bit.”
McIlroy was on an impressive run when golf was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. He’d finished in the top 5 in each of his four starts in 2020 and retook the top spot in the world ranking in February, but he admitted that he wasn’t sure how he would play this week after three months away from PGA Tour golf.
“You can do as much practice as you want and play as much as you want at home, but until you actually get into that competitive environment, you're never 100 percent sure of how your game is,” said McIlroy, who was two off the lead at 9 under. “I learned a lot yesterday.”