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Dressing down from caddie inspires Rory McIlroy recovery

22 July 2017

Only the patient shall survive. "You grow up and practice having a putt to win the Open".

Patience always should be the 15th club in your bag. "The back nine is playing really, really hard". McIlroy only bucks his head and lengthens his stride when he gets in contention at a major, when he's nuking drives and flagging his irons, and, unfortunately, we haven't experienced much of it in the past 18 months.

The 28-year-old endured a nightmare start to the tournament, bogeying five of the first six holes. The critics and cynics were lining up, ready to pounce. But first and foremost, McIlroy credited his caddie, J.P. Fitzgerald for giving him a pep talk.

Spieth blotted his card again at the short 14th, but he atoned with a brilliant eagle at the next before giving another shot back at 16, and two closing pars left him two clear of Ryder Cup team-mate Kuchar, who bogeyed two of the last three holes to slip to four under.

You're Rory McIlroy, Fitzgerald said.

"He's never afraid to do it".

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"There was a lot of quality out there and I was happy to see that". And it's not the first time. "He does it quite often". "He tries to keep me as positive as he possibly can". We've been together for nine years now. And he knows what to say out there and what not to say.

To his credit, the four-time Major-winner McIlroy rallied from five-over after six holes to shoot four-under on the back nine to rescue his round. 11 and 12 that kept his round alive, and he birdied No. 17 to get under par for the week.

McIlroy defied 40mph winds to produce a stunning 68.

McIlroy's last major title came at the 2014 US PGA Championship a few weeks after he won the British Open at Hoylake and he looked set to dominate the sport. It wasn't I couldn't look within myself.

He added: "I'll watch a little bit of the golf".

"I think anything around even par today is going to be a great score".

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More than anything, McIlroy stayed patient in times when he could have lost his composure.

JORDAN SPIETH has put himself in position to move three quarters of the way towards a career grand slam by heading the Open Championship leaderboard by two shots at the halfway mark at Royal Birkdale.

On his final hole, a mid-iron from just over 200 yards (182m) was sacked straight at the pin leaving a six-footer for birdie. "And I've been able to achieve that goal that I set myself".

"I thought if I could keep it under par for the championship I'm right there for the weekend".

The bright sunshine of the opening round was a distant memory as the field battled hard to combat fierce winds and torrential rain that caused a brief suspension of play in mid-afternoon, with Spieth and McIlroy among only eight players to break par.

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