Lynch: Links Golf "A Test Of Attitude"

Links golf can be maddening, Eamon Lynch explained; Rory McIlroy's opening round at the Open Championship is proof

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
July 19, 2019 - 8:24 am
Rory McIlroy Open Championship

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Rory McIlroy entered Thursday as a favorite to win the Open Championship at Royal Portrush. After a quadruple bogey on the first hole, however, McIlroy, who finished the first round with an 8-over-79, was immediately scrambling to make the cut.

“He got caught with what is a fairly ridiculous out-of-bounds left on the first hole, which really isn’t that far left, but of course there’s 100 yards right of it that he could have hit the ball and stayed in bounds,” Golfweek columnist Eamon Lynch said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I think Rory is probably under more scrutiny this week than anyone else, and I think he tried to put it off as much as he could. He didn’t show up here until about lunchtime on Tuesday, which, to me, kind of hinted at a guy who was trying to avoid being in the lights too early.”

McIlroy, 30, has won four majors, but none since 2014. Many golf analysts wondered if he would end his major drought at Royal Portrush – and, if so, what that would mean for his country.

His pre-Open press conference reflected that.

“Every question was a little breadcrumb that was trying to lead him into a position where he was going to be presented as playing for something greater than his own resume, that he was going to be playing for a peaceful Northern Ireland and all of this kind of nonsense that people have been peddling for a long time,” Eamon said. “He spent his entire career trying to avoid being painted into those corners, so I’m not convinced Rory might have been looking forward to this as much as he said he was.”

As Eamon explained, links golf can be maddening, and Thursday was one of those days for McIlroy.

“This is the kind of golf course where you could hit a wonderful shot and get a lousy result,” Eamon said. “That can last all day long. That drives a lot of people crazy. That is why Tom Watson has won five of these things, and it’s why Bubba Watson goes home Friday nights at almost every Open. It’s a test of attitude as much as it is of aptitude.”

Click below to listen to Lynch’s interview in its entirety.