Final answer of Rory McIlroy press conference sets us up for thrilling US Open weekend
"I think I play quite an emotive brand of golf, if there is such a thing."
For anyone that has followed Rory McIlroy closely for the past dozen (plus) years, they would surely agree with that statement.
The word 'rollercoaster' is often linked with the experience of watching McIlroy play, and compete for the big pots. On Friday, at Brookline, it was white-knuckle stuff. Again.
Having put himself in cosy contention, on Thursday, McIlroy was in danger of blowing up as early as the third hole of his second round. He found the cabbage with a wayward iron approach, then needed three attempts to escape and put the ball on the green.
He was left with a 30-footer for double bogey but, crucially, he sank the putt to minimise a damaging hole. His putting was superb in his first two rounds, gaining over six strokes on the rest of the field with his pacing and accuracy on the green.
Mostly ups, with a few dippers
The next nine holes saw Rory Mcilroy trading birdies with bogeys, and he sat at -1 with six to play. Then, he got going. Three birdies were card, coming in, and he carded a 69 to finish on -4 for his opening two rounds.
That is is one stroke off leaders Collin Morikawa and Joel Dahmen, heading into the third round, with the likes of Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson and Scottie Scheffler all lurking. Justin Thomas is six back, but he was in a similar position before winning the US PGA, last month.
Asked about the big names atop the leaderboard, McIlroy declared, "Yeah, I mean, it's why we play. I sort of said it after [winning in] Canada last week when I was with Justin Thomas and Tony Finau.
"You want to go up against the best to try to bring the best out of yourself. And to see Collin and Jon and Scottie and Sam [Burns] up there and whoever else, that's what major championship golf is all about. That's what competition is all about.
"I certainly don't want it to be easy. I want guys to go out and shoot 65 so I have to go and shoot 64. That's competition, and that's at the heart of this game. I'm excited to be in that mix going into the weekend."
The Holywood native was asked by one reporter why many of his fans and followers have 'a very emotional attachment to the ebbs and flows of your rounds'. McIlroy reasoned that he was a quite emotive player, who can sometimes let his feelings burst through, and that many folks have watched him grow up on the tour.
His final answer of Friday's press conference - when asked if that emotive play could help get him that fifth major - set us all up for a thrilling weekend of golf. McIlroy commented:
"Probably doesn't. I don't know. I mean, I guess it does.
"I think I ride waves of momentum pretty easily. Certainly whenever you get on the crest of a wave and you try to ride it as long as you can, and I've gotten a little bit better at trying not to ride the other ones downwardly.
"I think if you can get... and you can, there's a lot of this golf course, I think there's a nice flow to it that you can get on a little bit of a run and start to make some birdies. If I do encounter that this week, I feel like I'm pretty good at riding those sort of waves of momentum through the course of a round."
Even that answer was a rollercoaster, in itself.
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