Rory McIlroy spotted at Sony Open in Key Biscayne
The typical ritual for a golfer practicing on the driving range is to whack five or six balls and then step back and take a look at the fellow golfers around him also trying to hone their games.
That would be the person who tops his ball and rolls it 20 yards into the range. Also, the person who pops his shot up some 50 yards. And, of course, even the occasional person who makes a complete whiff.
That was the routine at a Miami-Dade course recently when the group on the range spotted somebody down at the far end launching humongous drives and pin-point accurate iron shots. He was definitely somebody of exceptional golf ability.
Finally, someone asked the obvious question, “Who is that that guy?” Someone else answered, “You know, he looks exactly like Rory McIlroy.”
That answer was wrong. It didn’t look like Rory McIlroy – it was Rory McIlroy.
McIlroy was in Miami to watch his tennis-playing girlfriend, former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, compete in the Sony Open. Unfortunately, Wozniacki made an early exit.
However, one of golf’s majors, The Masters, is coming up and you don’t get prepared by sitting in the stands watching people hit a large yellow ball rather than a small, white, dimpled ball.
So, for several days during the tournament, McIlroy would sneak over to Crandon Golf Course — about four minutes away from the tennis tournament — and practice on the range. McIlroy, the No. 2 player in the world (after a recently ended stay at No. 1), was working on a swing that has failed him recently.
Practice doesn’t always make perfect, but it usually improves skills, so McIlroy left the purple courts of the Crandon Park Tennis Center and headed off to the nearby green grass of a municipal golf course.
Rory McIlroy adjusts Tour schedule to take in Valero Open in Texas
If there appeared to be a measure of panic stations about world number two Rory McIlroy’s decision to adjust his schedule on the recommendation of his caddie JP Fitzgerald to take in this week’s Valero Open in Texas on the US Tour, a choice that has caused him to postpone his humanitarian visit to Haiti, there can be little doubt that a competitive dress rehearsal ahead of the US Masters makes a lot of sense.
McIlroy – joined in Texas by another two of Ireland’s recent Major champions, Pádraig Harrington and Darren Clarke – at least showed over the weekend at the Shell Houston Open that his game appears to have turned a corner, but the decision to add in this week’s tournament, as sudden as it was, would appear to be an ideal opportunity to iron out any lingering swing issues before driving down Magnolia Lane for the far greater demands of Augusta.
“I’ve learned a few things,” observed McIlroy after posting back-to-back sub-par rounds over the weekend to move from the cut line to a tied-45th finish in the the Houston Open, won by DA Points. “I feel like my short game is sharp, a very positive sign…there’s a lot of things I can bring (into the Valero Open) and obviously looking ahead to Augusta too. It’s been productive.”