Cromwell, Connecticut. For a world-class athlete, Rory McIlroy looked haggard as he spoke to media at TPC River Highlands on Wednesday. His raincoat was wet, he was unshaven, and his body language screamed that he would rather be back in bed or on the couch sipping coffee.
On the other hand, waking up around 5:00 am and playing in a rain-drenched professional club with four hackers for five hours, any pro could easily get the job done.
There will be no rest for the weary, however, as Kevin Kisner and Webb Simpson face off against McIlroy at 7:45 am in the first stage of the Travelers’ Championship on Thursday morning.
“I must say, after yesterday’s board meeting, my head hit the pillow and I was out,” he said with a half-smile, referring to the PGA Tour board meeting that McIlroy attended Tuesday afternoon after attending a meeting just for players. with Commissioner Jay Monahan at 7:30 am Tuesday.
This is McIlroy’s fourth tournament in a row – although he flew home to Florida on Sunday night and boarded the plane back to Connecticut on Monday night – and each tournament brings tension and stress.
Memorial is a very demanding golf course. (RBC Canadian Open) was not that demanding, but when you get into arguments and play like this on the weekend, it takes quite a lot of energy from you, ”said McIlroy. “And then you complete that US Open. So I think it’s a combination of everything. Psychologically, I’m fine, but I, you know, it would be nice to get some rest this afternoon, get another good night’s sleep and prepare for tomorrow’s game. But four weeks in a row is a rarity for me now. It’s been a long time since I’ve played as a four and you start to remember why.”
The most significant stress on the 6852-yard TPC River Highlands is likely to be McIlroy’s feeling this week that he will need to do a lot of birdies. However, since Justin Thomas pulls out on Wednesday rest your back and Brooks Koepka pulls out on Tuesday amid reports that he joining the LIV Golf serieshe has two fewer top players to worry about.
Asked if he was surprised to learn that Koepka had decided to join the LIV Series, McIlroy, one of the most vocal supporters of the PGA Tour, didn’t hold back.
“Yes, because of what he said earlier. I think that’s why a lot of these guys surprise me because they say one thing and do another,” McIlroy said. “I don’t get it and I don’t know if it’s legal or they can’t, I have no idea. But it’s rather duplicitous of them to say one thing and do another.”
McIlroy spoke to the media ahead of Monahan’s press conference. However, many of the details the commissioner was talking about have already been reported, and McIlroy sounded like he was in favor of changes that would come after next season.
“I think having a FedEx Cup season over the course of a calendar year, like January through August, would be a good idea,” McIlroy said. “It gives the guys the option to play if they want to play in the fall or if they don’t want to play in the fall, they don’t have to, they’re not forced, it won’t change that though.”
McIlroy also acknowledged that it would be difficult to keep everyone happy, stars and players alike. Different people have different needs and priorities.
But for McIlroy, the priority is to rest and save the game for another week.