LAKE FOREST, ILLINOIS | There was a point during his second round at the BMW Championship on Friday at Conway Farms that Rory McIlroy noticed his name on the leaderboard.
He turned to his caddie, J.P. Fitzgerald, and said, “I haven’t been in the top 10 since June.”
It’s been a while.
Strange as it seems, given the fact that he’s ranked No. 1 in the world, McIlroy has been left in the shadows this summer as Jordan Spieth and Jason Day have hijacked the glow that was his a year ago.
McIlroy has won twice this year but he hasn’t contended in months, in part because of an ankle injury in July. Since returning at the PGA Championship last month, McIlroy has been solid but unspectacular.
While the threesome of Spieth, Day and Rickie Fowler had a large gallery squishing through the mud to watch on Friday, McIlroy – tied for ninth after 36 holes but nine strokes behind Day – did his work in front of far fewer fans.
“Sort of nice to come in and do my own thing,” McIlroy said. “Crowds aren’t as big out there. I don’t mind it. Obviously, it’s not the position I want to be in but it’s a nice little change.”
It’s temporary, at least it should be. There’s no reason to think McIlroy won’t regain the form that allowed him to separate himself from everyone else last year. He had it going for a time Friday but closed with a string of pars that left him feeling like his second-round 65 wasn’t all it could have been.
McIlroy says his form is not far off but on a rain-softened course against a guy like Day who’s on a tear, it’s as if he’s spinning his wheels.
“If I could just convert a few more chances and putt a little better,” McIlroy said.