The grandstand was full and the gallery framed the entire par 3, despite heavy clouds that began to darken with the promise of more rain at Royal Portrush. "It's very much a rags to riches story for Graeme, through both talent and hard work".
Northern Ireland's long wait to host the Open Championship comes to an end on Thursday as golf's oldest tournament gets underway outside of Scotland and England for the first time since 1951 at Royal Portrush.
McIlroy holds the course record of 61 at the course.
"It would be too bittersweet", McDowell said about his close call. "I'd rather not go to a Royal Box with a starred shirt but it's what I had. I still need to get the shape of the golf ball a little bit better than I am right now, especially with the weather coming in and winds are going to be changing".
McIlroy won his fourth and most recent major at the 2014 PGA Championship, the same year he won his only Open title at Royal Liverpool.
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He also gave minutes to Reiss Nelson, Robbie Burton and Bukayo Saka against Arsenal's illustrious opponents. For example the one-to-one Nketiah against Sule [was encouraging].
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"Last time we stayed in Portrush, actually on Kerr Street, but this year it's a little bit busier than two years ago", the world number eight said. "I think for the most part, the last few Opens I just technically wasn't feeling great with my swing. We can pull it off'". Of course, it also means that it will be a pure test of links golf, with all a player's potential shortcomings fully visible to the world.
You can start a free 5-day trial of PS Vue right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the Open Championship on your computer via the PS Vue website, or on your phone (Android and iPhone supported), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation (3 or 4), or other supported device via the PS Vue app.
It came only after the 39-year-old had a talk with himself about the state of the game he's loved since he was a kid. This year we're staying in Portstewart, playing in Portrush.
"Bombs were going off quite frequently and a lot of people, unfortunately, paid a heavy penalty for being in the wrong place at the wrong time", he said. I want to keep reminding myself of that, that this is bigger than me. He said he was stunned by the noise made when he walked onto the first tee Tuesday for a practice round, and the crowds will be even bigger when he tees off for real on Thursday. "Making the cut or not doesn't make the difference".
"Every hole I just step up on: 'You tell me what to do".