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McIlroy primed for major examination

THE TIME has arrived for Rory McIlroy to see if he can hit straight back from the most crushing disappointment of his young golfing life in the majors. But if anything was going to put what happened to him at The Masters in April into perspective a trip to earthquake-hit Haiti on the eve of this week’s US Open certainly fitted the bill.

The 22-year-old Northern Irishman was described on his website as being in a sombre mood on his departure after floods and landslides led to the deaths of more than 20 people. McIlroy, appointed a UNICEF Ireland Ambassador in March, met pupils from a school destroyed by last year’s earthquake who are now being educated to protect themselves from cholera.

An emotional McIlroy said: “The chance that these children are getting to be kids and enjoy themselves is so important for their well-being. “Nothing could prepare me for meeting the children in Haiti and I am truly amazed by how happy they are. The everyday things that we take for granted at home in Ireland are so longed for in Haiti.” It all made McIlroy appreciate more what his talent has already given him and now he hopes it will take him to a first major title two months after a closing 80 at Augusta that at the time seemed so devastating.

Four ahead with a round to go, he finished 10 strokes behind Charl Schwartzel and at Wentworth recently McIlroy spoke of how much it hurt to see his South African stablemate wearing his green jacket up on stage at the European Tour awards night. The young Ryder Cup star went from Haiti to the course near Washington for a look at the course where the season’s second major champion will be crowned. After his first round he wrote on Twitter: “Saw Congressional for the first time today. Gotta draw the ball a lot so hopefully that will suit me!”

After his trip he added: “Got all my prep done so I can put my energy into Thursday-Sunday next week!” McIlroy has been paired in the opening two rounds with Americans Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson.