"You know, I may look back at that shot as being the turning point of the week" - Rory McIlroy
The four-time major winner was picked up by CBS cameras telling Justin Thomas about his poor night's sleep, and Whoop score.
Rory McIlroy was not at his best during the first round of the US PGA Championship, at Oak Hill, on Thursday but he scrambled his rump off to stay within sight of the leaders.
McIlroy experienced a similar first round as he did at the US Masters, last month. Not in possession of his 'A' game and driving erratically, he needed all his chipping and putting acumen to save pars and limit damage to bogeys when things went awry.
During one point of his Thursday round, TV cameras picked up a snippet of his conversation with Justin Thomas on a hot mic. McIlroy admitted to being under the weather and struggling to get a decent night of sleep. He later told reporters he was battling illness:
"I'm fighting something. I thought I got a great night's sleep last night, and I look at my Whoop, and I was 22% recovery, and my skin temperature was 3.5 degrees higher than what it's been. I'm fighting something. But I actually feel better today than I felt yesterday, so plenty of water and a bit of rest, I'll be fine."
McIlroy finished at +1, five shots back from Bryson DeChambeau, but saved himself bogey or worse with this miraculous par save on the second hole:
There are many ways to save par 💪@McIlroyRory judged this one perfectly @PGAChampionship.pic.twitter.com/e1Aw2SPx95
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 18, 2023
'It was massive' - Rory McIlroy
"I was staring sort of just hoping to get done in two and make bogey and go to the third hole at four-over par," Rory McIlroy told reporters, not long after signing for a round of 71.
"When you walk off the green 3-over and then you hit a tee shot like that, and all of a sudden, the pendulum swings or momentum goes the other way, and all of a sudden you make a couple of birdies in a row, and you feel like you're sort of right back in the tournament.
"So, yeah, it was massive. I don't know how... depending on what happens over the next three days and what I go on to do, you know, I may look back at that shot as being the sort of turning point of the week."
While McIlroy was feeling confident picking it up in his second round - unlike his recent Masters experience, when he went on to miss the cut - Shane Lowry's chipper pre-tournament mood tailed off somewhat.
Ahead of his latest PGA tilt, the Clara native was celebrating a Leinster U20 hurling title for the Offaly lads, alongside his dad, Brendan:
Two very happy Offaly men here in Rochester. Great win for our @Offaly_GAA under 20s this evening and great to see a bit of silverware heading for Offaly again 🟢⚪️🟡 pic.twitter.com/31XndpGnwc
— Shane Lowry (@ShaneLowryGolf) May 17, 2023
The inevitable Shane Lowry f-bomb
Shane Lowry did drain one epic putt during his first round but had a day that was more down that up.
He eventually carded a 73 and was picked up, at one stage, cursing himself after pinging one too hot from a green-side bunker:
Death, taxes, and Shane Lowry on a hot mic 🐐 🐐 🐐 pic.twitter.com/xW5hgpRxW0
— Christopher Powers (@CPowers14) May 18, 2023
Seamus Power was best of the Irish, after day one, on level par while Padraig Harrington was +2.
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