Monday 14 October 2019

'It is unacceptable' - Rory McIlroy hits out at slow play as he storms to the top of the leaderboard at The Players Championship

Rory McIlroy in contention for another big title after a second round of 65 at The Players Championship at Sawgrass
Rory McIlroy in contention for another big title after a second round of 65 at The Players Championship at Sawgrass
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Rory McIlroy fired a second round 65 to claim a share of the lead with his Ryder Cup team-mate Tommy Fleetwood at The Players Championship.

McIlroy's sparkling form continued as he fired six birdies and an eagle in a fine round that came to life after a bogey five on the opening hole.

"My game is in good shape and to shoot 65 at this course is always a great score," declared McIlroy. "I feel like the tournaments I have played have been building blocks to where I want to be and it is coming together nicely towards where I want to be.

"I'm excited for the weekend. Tommy played great last week. I obviously had my chances as well. This is the great thing about golf, you can get straight back on the horse. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

McIlroy also hit out at the slow play of some of his rivals after he finished his round with daylight fading and when he was asked about the issue in his press conference, he didn't hold back in his comments.

"They don't do anything about it. It has become an epidemic on the Tour," he stated. "Look, it's our livelihoods and people are going to take their time, but someone didn't finish yesterday. That is unacceptable.

"I mean, I am here five hours, 40 minutes after our tee time. Honestly, I think they should be getting a little tougher and start penalising shots. That would be an easier way to fix it."

Fleetwood was also in sparkling form as he carded a round of 67 to back up his opening day effort of 65, with a third round alongside McIlroy exciting the Englishman.

"It's all very positive, and my game is clearly in a very good place," said Fleetwood. "Last week, I had three very good rounds and one where I struggled but didn't feel like I did loads wrong. I think the things to take from it is how confident I've been with my game.

"All the good stuff I've been doing has been nice. I've had a slower start to the year than the last couple years, so these couple of weeks are really nice, really refreshing. I showed some good golf in Mexico, last week I showed a lot of really good golf, and now this week.

"It's just really important to look at all the positives and keep that flow going, keep doing all the same things and keep playing. Golf is a tough game, tournaments are long. It's hard to keep it going for four days, but I'll just keep it going. I'm playing well.

"I had the absolute dream start today, but even then I felt very calm, felt really good. I was hitting a lot of good tee shots, putting myself in position a lot, and I enjoyed it. There was a lot of good stuff, and I just feel really happy with it.

"I need to keep driving it like I have done. Hitting it really good off the tee breaks the course down a lot because there are some tough tee shots and once you get out of position, it makes the course a lot harder, not necessarily because the rough is tough or the fairway bunkers are tough, but actually controlling your ball into these greens is very important.

"So I need to keep doing that, which is my game in general. The courses get tougher as the week goes on, so late on Saturday and Sunday when hopefully I'll be playing, courses get firmer and harder and patience is a key.

"But I've just played two really, really good rounds of golf, and I played three really, really good rounds of golf last week. I just need to keep doing what I'm doing and see where it goes from there."

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