Rory McIlroy bringing 'Lucky Loonie' to Pebble Beach for US Open assault
Following his closing round of 61 to clinch the Canadian Open, a reporter asked Rory McIlroy if he wished the US Open was starting on Monday.
"No," McIlroy replied, "because I'll be hungover, probably!"
If ever a man deserved a cold brew - alcoholic or non-alcoholic - it was McIlroy. The 30-year-old started the final round of the Canadian Open tied with Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar, on -13, for the lead.
By the end of a remarkable day, McIlroy was on -22 and the rest were in his wake. He was looking good for a professional career best round of 59 but his stunning eagle of 17 (below) was book-ended with bogeys on 16 and 18.
🦅for Rory on 17!pic.twitter.com/oliPKDJpeE
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) June 9, 2019
"What I'm proudest of," the Holywood native said after his 16th PGA Tour victory, "is still playing with that freedom today going out being tied for the lead. Just putting my foot down and really making this tournament mine."
That is The Players Championship and the Canadian Open in the bag for 2019 and the highlights of a very consistent year. McIlroy has been well in contention in 10 of the 13 tournaments he has contested and he is up to third in the world rankings today.
Earlier in the week, in Hamilton, Ontario, McIlroy was at an event for tournament sponsors KBC. He was handed a lucky charm to mark his ball with and kept hold of it all week.
'The Loonie' is a gold $1 Canadian coin that features the common loon, a bird found throughout the country. In 2010, ahead of the Winter Olympics, Canada minted a commemorative coin that many in the country now refer to as 'The Lucky Loonie'. The Canucks repeated the dose for the 2016 Winter Olympics and won a shed-load of medals there too.
On his new, lucky charm, McIlroy said:
"Yeah, I've been marking my ball with a loonie all week."
He added, "So, I played an RBC day on Tuesday over in Mississauga. One of the guys gave me a Lucky Loonie to mark my ball with this week. Said, 'Sure. Why not?' Every little bit helps, right?
"I've been marking with my ball with that all week. It might have to cross the border and come with me to the States next week."
McIlroy said he would love to bottle the feeling and form of his week in Canada and uncork it next week for the US Open at Pebble Beach.
I think when you get to the U.S. Open setup it can make you play careful, a little tentative and try to guide it down the fairways. Unless someone rips up the form book, the winning score will be much, much lower than -22.
Every course and every week is different, he acknowledged, but he is heading to the third Major of the year in good shape.
"If I've learned anything this week," he commented, "it's my game is good enough and swing is good enough that I can play with freedom.
"Yeah, look I'm not going to go and hit driver on every hole, but when I pull a club out of the bag I'll make a really good, committed swing and know for most part it should work out for me."