Plenty bite in McIlroy as he gets in swing to secure second Major

Rory McIlroy’s literally got the bug for PGA Championship glory this week at a storm-drenched Kiawah Island in South Carolina.

There had been five weather stoppages before a shot had been fired in anger on the course lying just south of the island fortress of Fort Sumter, and the scene that ignited the American Civil War.

And if the persistent storms are not enough, there’s alligator infested ponds, including a six-foot long ’gator guarding the 17th green plus biting mosquitoes.

“We’re getting eaten alive by the insects which isn’t very nice,” he said.

“I’ve been spraying all sorts of insect repellent on my arms and face just to ward off them off.

“I’m also feeling the heat, and I think everyone is. It’s hot and humid out there.”

McIlroy’s competing in his fourth PGA Championship having finished third in both 2009 and just one shot off the play-off in 2010 at Whistling Straits.

And, after being bitten so often this week, and going close in the event twice before, McIlroy’s got the bit between his teeth for a second Major Championship success.

“I got off to a good start at The Open and fell away again, so if I could make up for those three finishes with a good one here this week I would be a lot happier,” he said.

“It is the last chance to have a nice little holiday in Bermuda in October.

“Also there’s the anticipation of wanting to do well as it’s the last Major of the season and you to do well before the next Major after this week is about eight months away at Augusta.

“But I am inspired by the way I played last week at the Bridgestone and if I can bring that form into this week and hit the ball well then I should fare better than I have in the other three Majors this year.”

McIlroy was among nine players European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal met with on Tuesday.

Olazabal asked for the leading nine currently on the points table, and with the exception of Lee Westwood, who did not arrive into South Carolina until late Tuesday, but leaving out the likes of Ian Poulter (No. 12 on the points table), Thomas Bjorn (15) and Pádraig Harrington (20). Present at the meeting was Graeme McDowell, third on the points table and looking forward very much to Medinah after holing the 2010 Celtic Manor winning putt.

“It was a fun meeting and since the US Open I have been able to pen my name onto the team as opposed than pencil myself in,” he said.

“The Ryder Cup is the most fun event we get to play every two years and I just love it, and I was really motivated this year to be a part of Jose’s team because he’s going to be an awesome captain. He kind of took me under his wing in 2008 at Valhalla, and the two most inspirational and emotional speeches made that week were made by him.

“But we only scratched the surface last night. He didn’t have a lot to say, so it was all about sitting us all down, looking at each other and fast forwarding six weeks and putting us all there. We know Chicago is going to be a tough city to compete in. What we didn’t know until last night they sought to stage this year’s Olympics but it was a failed bid. They also went for the Superbowl and failed, so they are 100% behind the Ryder Cup.”

Darren Clarke will lead out the five Irish at 1pm (Irish) followed in the group behind at 1.20pm by McIlroy.

Pádraig Harrington, looking to win on the main Tour for a first time since his 2008 PGA success, will tee off at 6.40pm Irish time and with McDowell in the group behind Harrington out at 6.50pm.

Michael Hoey, making his PGA Championship debut, tees up in the second last group of the day at 7.20pm Irish.

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox