Saturday 24 February 2018

Rory McIlroy: Overall still a pretty good week and I’m looking forward to San Francisco

Rory McIlroy is not too downhearted ahead of his forthcoming US Open defence
Rory McIlroy is not too downhearted ahead of his forthcoming US Open defence

RORY McIlroy stopped the rot in Memphis, but his final warm-up for his US Open title defence this week still ended on a bitterly disappointing note.

Northern Ireland's world number three had missed the cut on his three previous starts, so to be joint leader with one hole to play at the FedEx St Jude Classic was a massive boost in confidence. Then came a hook into the lake off the final tee, a missed four-foot putt and a double-bogey six that dropped him to only joint seventh.

McIlroy was not too downhearted by his late collapse, though. He said: "I saw a lot of positive signs this week. I got in a good position after 11 holes of the final round and hit a couple of shots coming in, but, you know, overall it's still a pretty good week."

He added: "I'm looking forward to getting to San Francisco and I can take a lot into next week.

"I said in the early part of the week, if I got into contention that was great. I did that. I feel like I'm well prepared going into the US Open."

Dustin Johnson is the one who flies north-west in the best of moods.

He birdied two of the last three for a closing 66 and a one-stroke win over fellow American John Merrick in only his second event back from an injury that kept him out of action for nearly three months.

Johnson missed The Masters after aggravating his back lifting a jet ski at his home, not returning until the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago.

"It feels really good, especially having so much time off," said Johnson, the first player since Tiger Woods to win in each of his first five seasons on the PGA Tour.

"I wasn't worried about the US Open - I was worried about winning the FedEx. Next is a whole different week."

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