Pro­mot­ing PGA, rested McIl­roy read­ies for next week’s US Open

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY GE­NARO C. AR­MAS

Rory McIl­roy needed a break af­ter miss­ing the cut two straight weeks.

Re­turn­ing to the site of what McIl­roy con­sid­ers one of his break­through tour­na­ments — the 2010 PGA Cham­pi­onship at Whistling Straits — might give the world’s top-ranked golfer an ex­tra con­fi­dence boost go­ing into next week’s U.S. Open at Cham­bers Bay in Wash­ing­ton.

Not that McIl­roy seems too wor­ried about his game.

McIl­roy had a tough two weeks in Europe in late May. He missed the cut at the BMW PGA Cham­pi­onship in Eng­land three week­ends ago.

Born in North­ern Ire­land, McIl­roy missed the cut again at the Ir­ish Open the fol­low­ing week — a tour­na­ment he was host­ing, no less, in familiar sur­round­ings. It was a dis­ap­point­ing end to a stretch of five straights weeks on the course.

So McIl­roy took last week off, elect­ing to sit out The Me­mo­rial to get some rest at home in Florida.

Con­sider Fri­day’s gath­er­ing

at Whistling Straits, a scenic public course along Lake Michi­gan, an unof­fi­cial pep rally for McIl­roy.

Tele­vi­sions in­side the course’s Ir­ish Barn showed a high­light video of McIl­roy’s win at the 2014 PGA at Val­halla, his fourth victory at a ma­jor. The golfer re­ceived hon­orary jer­seys from the Green Bay Pack­ers, Wis­con­sin Badgers bas­ket­ball team and the NBA’s Mil­wau­kee Bucks — the last one pre­sented to McIl­roy by Bucks coach and avid golfer Ja­son Kidd.

McIl­roy can draw on fond mem­o­ries from the last time the PGA Cham­pi­onship was at Whistling Straights five years ago, when Martin Kaymer won af­ter beat­ing Bubba Wat­son in a play­off.

McIl­roy fin­ished tied for third at 10-un­der, one shot off the lead at the end of reg­u­la­tion.

It was ex­pe­ri­ence in a pres­sure sit­u­a­tion from which McIl­roy could draw when he won his first ma­jor the next year, the 2011 U.S. Open at Con­gres­sional.

Com­pared to Con­gres­sional, Cham­bers Bay is a mys­tery. Just 10 years ago, Cham­bers Bay was still be­ing built along Puget Sound south of Seat­tle.

McIl­roy will play the course for the first time on Satur­day in a prac­tice round.

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