Rory McIlroy gets ‘colorful’ pep talk after disastrous start


AUGUSTA, Ga. – Rory McIlroy began his Friday morning by apologizing to a member of Augusta National after hitting one of the worst shots of his career.

Three holes later, he was chastising himself after hitting another horrific shot.

At the time, the four-time major champion and former world No. 1 was thinking about making the cut instead of contemplating winning his first green jacket and completing the career Grand Slam.

But after completing the weather-delayed first round and starting the second round – and getting a “colorful” pep talk from good friend and Augusta National member Jimmy Dunne during the 30-minute break – McIlroy started delivering shots we’ve become accustomed to seeing.

Now he’s on the outskirts of contention in the 84th Masters after rounds of 75-66.

“I was thinking coming into this morning, get this ball up‑and‑down on 10, play the last few holes in 3‑ or 4‑under par, get in and then go again, and I did the complete opposite,” McIlroy said. “That wasn’t ideal, and obviously wasn’t what I was thinking of. I turned it around nicely and shot a good one, at least gave myself a chance going into the weekend.”

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After resuming his first round at 7:30 a.m., McIlroy played himself onto the wrong side of par and signed for a 3-over-par 75. It was not a pretty nine holes on this Friday the 13th, he would tell you, especially his tee shot on the par-5 13th.

A search party was sent looking deep into the trees on the left side of Rae’s Creek on the dog-leg left hole. McIlroy found the ball but needed to consult a rules official to take a proper drop. A member of Augusta National accompanied the rules official and McIlroy took the proper drop.

“Sorry for getting your nice green jacket dirty,” McIlroy said to the member.

“Ah, no problem,” the member said.

After a bogey on 14 and a birdie on 15, McIlroy pulled his tee shot on the 16th into the pond.

“That is so bad, my God,” McIlroy said.

Funny thing, this is where McIlroy turned his form around. He canned a 20-footer for bogey and from there, he parred in and then put up six birdies on a clean card for a 66 in the second round.

At 3 under through 36 holes, he stood six back of the leaders.

“I went and hit five 9‑irons and a 3‑wood in between rounds and just tried to get myself to release it,” McIlroy said. “Sometimes I just get so draggy and hold on, sort of hold on to it. Just a matter of trying to release it a little bit more and being a little bit more committed to my shots and my swing.

“Jimmy Dunne gave me a pep talk in between rounds going on to the range. But I honestly have been playing so good coming in here, and then I go into the first round and I shoot 75, and I’m like, where the hell did that come from? I knew it was in there, it was just a matter of, as I said, just trusting a little more and being committed. It was better this afternoon.”



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