Rory looking to kick-start his putting
Rory McIlroy will look to reconnect with his putter at this week’s St Jude’s Classic at TPC Southwind in Memphis.
Rory McIlroy will look to reconnect with his putter at this week’s St Jude’s Classic in Memphis as he aims to build on his top-10 finish at the Memorial last Sunday
Along with England’s Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter and Irishman Padraig Harrington, McIlroy, the world number 10 is one of a quartet of European big guns in the field teeing off at TPC Southwind on Thursday ahead of next week’s US Open.
McIlroy, still 20 and already a winner on the PGA Tour this season following his remarkable come-from-behind win at the Quail Hollow Championship last month, claimed a tie for 10th in The Memorial on his return to the United States last week.
Yet he left Muirfield Village in Ohio and travelled south to Tennessee on Monday seeking further improvements on the greens at the 7,244-yard, par-70 TPC Southwind course.
“It was a good week at the Memorial,” McIlroy wrote in his blog on his official website rorymcilroy.com.
“From tee to green I played really well, but having said that I shot five under over the weekend and I felt that I could have been 10 or 12 under for the weekend as I hit the ball great.
“It was a little frustrating for me on the Sunday as I couldn’t really get the putter going.”
While McIlroy flew in from Ohio, world number three Westwood arrived from California having made an early scouting trip to next week’s US Open venue at Pebble Beach, while No.5 Poulter spent Monday playing a New York links course at Long Island’s Sebonack.
Poulter, who won the WGC-Accenture Match Play in Arizona in February, then appeared on NBC Television’s Late Night With Jimmy Fallon chat show, where he played the host at the Tiger Woods Ryder Cup 2011 video game.
The pair duelled over one hole at a virtual Celtic Manor but Poulter will be hoping for a better outcome in real-life Memphis than on-screen Wales as comedian Fallon birdied the par-three 13th to win the hole.
Westwood, Poulter and McIlroy will be the highest-ranked players at what promises to be a hot and humid TPC Southwind, where the defending champion is Brian Gay. Yet they will face some stiff homegrown competition led by last month’s Colonial champion Zach Johnson and San Diego winner Ben Crane, currently fifth in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings.
And a strong international challenge will come from Australia’s in-form Robert Allenby and Colombia’s Camilo Villegas.
Allenby has compiled five top-20 finishes in seven starts at the tournament, including ties for second in 2008 and fourth last year, while Villegas has two top-20s in four starts.
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