Bethesda, Md. — With his first tee into history finally down the right side of the first fairway at Congressional Country Club, U.S. Open leader Rory McIlroy can stop trying to stay busy while waiting for late-afternoon starts the last two days.
Saturday, McIlroy did not begin his round until 3:50 p.m., thanks to torrential downpours that delayed Friday’s round and forced some golfers to finish their second rounds yesterday morning. USGA officials pushed back Sunday tee times because weather forecasters predicted early rain that amounted to a few mid-morning sprinkles.
All of which meant that the young lad from Northern Ireland with the largest 54-hole lead in the 111-year history of the U.S. Open had to scuffle around for ways to kill time.
“It was a very long morning,” McIlroy said Saturday night after firing a 3-under 68 — his third-straight round in the 60s — to take a commanding advantage over Y.E. Yang. Playing alongside McIlroy — who shattered every record in sight during his second and third rounds — Yang carded a 1-under 70 to sit eight shots back of the marauding McIlroy’s 14-under score of 199.
Prior to his march through the Open record book on Saturday, the 22-year-old McIlroy had breakfast with his father, made a few phone calls, and watched a movie on his laptop. He expected more of the same on Father’s Day.
“I tried to stay up as late as I could last night, but I still only made it to 11:30 or something,” he said Saturday. “I’ll try and stay up as late as I can so I can sleep until nine or 10 tomorrow morning so I don’t have as much time in between waking up and going out on the golf course.”
After reportedly viewing yet another film Sunday morning, McIlroy strode onto the practice green at about 2 p.m. to roars of “Rory!” from the gathered crowd. He worked a bit with his flat stick, shook hands with Sergio Garcia, and made his way to the driving range that was ringed with spectators hoping for a glimpse of the next U.S. open champ.
One thing McIlroy has not done is update his Twitter feed. The heir apparent to Tiger Woods has not tweeted since June 14, two days before he began his quest for the Open title. We’re talking focus, golf fans.
Barring spectacularly unforeseen circumstances and a double-bogey from the weather gods, R-Mac should be lifting the Open trophy sometime after 8 p.m. tonight. We’re pretty sure it will have been worth the wait.