R-Mac to put Twitter row behind him

Rory McIlroy’s objective in the Irish Open this Friday is to put his Twitter row behind him and get into contention.

Rory McIlroy’s objective in Friday’s second round of the Irish Open is to put his overnight Twitter row behind him and get back in to contention for a first professional win in Ireland.

The early-starting Northern Ireland World No 4 sat atop the leaderboard at 4-under after 10 holes on Thursday, but ran into trouble on a birdieless final stretch with a bogey at 11 and a double bogey at 18 that eventaully saw him shoot a 1-under 70.

That left him trailing the late-finishing first round leader Jeev Milkha Singh by all of seven shots, the Indian star having posted a an 8-under 63, the lowest score of his European Tour career.

But if this wasn’t bad enough, McIlroy, the new US Open Champion, then had to put up with being told on Twitter by former Tour professional Jay Townsend, now a TV and radio commentator, that his course management was
“shocking” and “some of the worst I have ever seen beyond under-10’s boys golf competitions.”

An angry McIroy hit back by writing: “Shut up … you’re a commentator and a failed golfer, your opinion means nothing!”

Townsend also said the 22-year-old Ulster star should hire Tiger Woods’ former caddie, Steve Williams, which McIlroy told PA Sport, was the “final straw that broke the camels back”, because he was tired of seeing Townsend sniping at JP Fitzgerald, his current caddie.

Now McIlroy, who may face a European Tour fine for his hot-headed Twitter response, says he has blocked Townsend’s Twitter account, will no longer have to worry about his comments and wants to put the incident far behind him when he tees off with the later starters on Friday and sets his sights on putting himself back on track to winning golf titles.

Singh led overnight by two from Frenchman Alexandre Kaleka, while Open champion Darren Clarke resumed on two under, last year’s US Open champion Graeme McDowell on one over and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington on two over.

The Dubliner, down to 64th in the world and without a top-six finish all year, said: “I just don’t seem to do too many things right.

“Golf is a strange game. I drove it well and putted well, I just didn’t score well. Maybe I need to be a little bit more patient – I was a bit too aggressive at times.”