August 21, 2014
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Rory McIlroy made just two birdies in the first round of The Barclays. (Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
PARAMUS, N.J. -- Following a whirlwind two weeks after winning a second consecutive major championship, Rory McIlroy got off to a sluggish start Thursday at Ridgewood Country Club.
McIlroy, who has won each of his last three starts, stumbled to a 3-over 74 in the opening round of The Barclays, where he hit just half his fairways and took 32 putts on his way to three bogeys, one double-bogey and just two birdies.
"I just wasn't very good," McIlroy said. "It's very important here, if you are going to miss greens, miss it in the right spots, because I missed it in the wrong spot a couple of times today and it's really tough to get it up-and-down."
It didn't take long for him to find out how difficult it is to play from the thick rough at Ridgewood.
On his third hole of the day, the par-4 12th, McIlroy missed the fairway right, then hit his approach in the bunker. He hit a poor shot out of the sand that stayed in the rough and went on to make double-bogey.
One hole later, he found a fairway bunker off the tee, laid up short of the green and flew his approach into a back bunker. Again McIlroy failed to get up-and-down and went on to make his second consecutive 6.
At the par-4 18th, McIlroy, who came into the first FedExCup Playoffs event No. 1 in both the FedExCup and the Official World Golf Ranking, missed the fairway right, nicked a tree on his second and made bogey to make the turn in 4 over.
Things got better for McIlroy over his final nine holes, where he made just one bogey and added two birdies, including a 30-footer on the last.
"I think it's more to do with just not putting the adequate time into my game over the past week for obvious reasons," McIlroy said of his struggles.
Since winning the PGA Championship two weeks ago at Valhalla, McIlroy has spent time in, among other places, Northern Ireland, Florida and New York City, where earlier this week he had various sponsor commitments and appeared alongside Tiger Woods on "The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon."
"Fatigue isn't playing a part," McIlroy said. "It's I think just not putting the time in that I probably should have over the past week and I think I allowed myself that and deserved that. But this is the sort of consequence of it and I need to work hard on it this afternoon and go out (Friday) and shoot a good number."
Thursday was the first time in McIlroy's last 13 rounds that he has failed to break par.
"A score like this would be tougher to take if I had not just come off the weeks that I had," he said. "But at the same time, I want to play well and I want to give myself chances to win tournaments. There are chances on this golf course to make birdies. I feel like I can do that."
Rory McIlroy finishes with 32-foot birdie at Barclays