Monday 21 August 2017

McIlroy gets green light to compete at US Open

Shane Lowry tees off at the second during the Memorial Tournament yesterday. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Shane Lowry tees off at the second during the Memorial Tournament yesterday. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

William S Callahan

Rory McIlroy is set to tee it up in the US Open which starts at Erin Hills, Wisconsin on Thursday week.

The four-time Major champion was given the all-clear to resume tournament action just in time for the second Major of the season.

McIlroy's season has been disrupted, first by the rib injury he suffered in the SA Open in January, and most recently by a recurrence of the problem which caused him to compete in The Players Championship with his rib area heavily strapped.

He opted out of the European Tour's BMW PGA Championship and also the Memorial Tournament which finished at Muirfield Village, Ohio last night, but has now signalled his intention to play at Erin Hills.

"I am ready for Erin Hills and looking forward to playing there for the first time," he said. "The last few weeks have obviously been frustrating - I never like to miss events either on the PGA Tour or European Tour - but it was important I got back to a level of fitness where I felt like I could give myself the best possible chance at the US Open.

"As I have said many times before, Majors will ultimately determine my golf career but I have had the rest of this busy season to consider as well."

McIlroy will join compatriots Graeme McDowell, Shane Lowry, and Paul Dunne in the field at the US Open.

Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson has been "applauded" by the US Open organisers for informing them of his intention to skip the tournament in order to attend his daughter's high school, graduation.

The left-hander stunned the game when revealing that he is sacrificing what could have turned out to be one of his final shots at completing the career grand slam and so join Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods in their very exclusive club.

"My daughter is graduating and she's the school president, and I'm going to be there," Mickelson said. "Unfortunately, it comes on the Thursday of the Open, around 10 in the morning Pacific [Time]. So, there's just really no way to make it, no matter what the tee-time is.

Improvement

"I mean it's the tournament I want to win the most, but this is one of those moments where you look back on life and you just don't want to miss it. I'll be really glad that I was there and present."

Meanwhile, Pádraig Harrington finished way off the pace at the rain-affected Memorial as he continues his return to action after neck surgery. The Dubliner carded a final-day 73 leaving him one-under overall in a tie for 31st.

Compatriot Shane Lowry hit the same final day score to finish on five under and in the top 15.

After a shocking 77 on Saturday, Jason Dufner rediscovered his form yesterday to lead by two as the tournament was delayed for a second time due to inclement weather.

Elsewhere, Italy's Renato Paratore (20) claimed his first European Tour title at the Nordea Masters after overnight leader Chris Wood bogeyed the final hole in Malmo.

Paratore carded a closing 70 at Barseback Golf and Country Club to finish on 11-under par.

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