MEXICO CITY, Mexico – There were any number of reasons for Rory McIlroy to be pleased with his 3-under par 68 in his first competitive PGA Tour round of 2017.
The way he, uh, felt had a lot to do with it.
Something – maybe the local cuisine or maybe just a bug – disagreed with McIlroy, who awoke at 3 a.m. Thursday dealing with the effects.
“Worshipping the porcelain bowl” is the way McIlroy put it after his opening round in the WGC-Mexico Championship at short, tight Club de Golf Chapultepec. Henrik Stenson, meanwhile, withdrew Thursday citing stomach issues.
Late last year, McIlroy also became ill at the WGC event in Shanghai.
“I don’t know what it was,” McIlroy said. “I ate with (fiancée) Erica and my parents and they seemed fine this morning.”
Regardless, McIlroy looked sharp in just his third tournament start in the past 18 weeks, using an eagle at the par-5 sixth (his 15th hole) to turn a solid day into a good one.
The rib injury that short-circuited his 2017 start has healed and McIlroy feels fresh, at least in a golf sense. He shot 65 in a match against Dustin Johnson last Saturday at The Bear’s Club, their home course in south Florida, and arrived here ready to get his 2017 season fully started.
“I’ve waited long enough to play,” McIlroy said. “I wanted to get out here and be competitive and try to shoot a good score. I don’t feel anywhere near as bad as I did in China last year when I had the same thing so hopefully it’s just a day thing that will pass and I’ll wake up feeling a bit better tomorrow.”