Golf: McIlroy goes on offensive amid 'boredom' accusation

Rory McIlroy reacts after finishing on the ninth green during the second round of the 2017 US Open on June 16, 2017.
Rory McIlroy reacts after finishing on the ninth green during the second round of the 2017 US Open on June 16, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

ERIN • Rory McIlroy and Steve Elkington engaged in a social media spat after the Australian took a potshot at the world No. 2 who missed the cut at the US Open on Friday.

Elkington, the 1995 PGA Championship winner, suggested that McIlroy had lost interest in adding to his collection of four Majors.

"Rory is so bored playiing golf... without Tiger the threshold is prolly 4 majors with 100mill in bank," Elkington wrote on Twitter.

In a separate tweet, he wrote: "Nobody more gifted than Rory... Hes so bored playing golf on tour."

McIlroy was not amused. "More like 200mil... not bad for a 'bored' 28 year old... plenty more where that came from," replied the Northern Irishman.

Elkington said retired American great Jack Nicklaus never discussed his earnings, to which McIlroy called out the Australian's spelling and wrote: "That's why jack designed 100's of golf courses... and it's knew... mustn't have taught grammar in the 50's."

The exchange came after McIlroy struggled to avoid the brutal Erin Hills rough with a one-under 71 and a shocking first-round 78 en route to an early exit from the year's second Major.

Injuries have limited McIlroy's practice and competition rounds recently, and his putting seems to have suffered the most.

STUMPED

I don't know. I couldn't have shot any higher. It's not possible to shoot higher.

DUSTIN JOHNSON , defending US Open champion and world No. 1 golfer, felt that he gave it his all despite missing the cut at the year's second Major.

He switched putters trying to find a new feel on the Erin Hills greens.

"I don't think it was the putter in this tournament - it was the guy on the end of it," he said. "I'm holing putts on the practice green, but it's a different kettle of fish when you get out on the course."

For the first time since the world golf rankings were established in the mid-1980s, the top-three ranked players missed the cut in a Major - last year's winner and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson (73) finished on four-over 148, three off the cut, and No. 3 Jason Day had a second-round 75 to finish on 154.

The trio's struggles were all the more surprising given that low scores were there to be had for all. Rain-softened conditions at Erin Hills made greens more receptive and a lack of brisk winds left the course virtually defenceless.

The links-style layout had the most sub-par scores in a first round at a US Open, while the one-over cut matched the record low previously set in 1990 at Medinah.

Asked to explain it, American Johnson answered: "I don't know. I couldn't have shot any higher. It's not possible to shoot higher."

Australian Day would only say: "I hit my driver into the tall, hay grass too often to make good scores. I liked the golf course; it's beautiful. I enjoyed the walk around it."

Interestingly, Erin Hills turned away three other golfers in the top 10. Sixth-ranked Henrik Stenson (73) finished at 147, eighth-ranked Alex Noren (77) on 150, and Jon Rahm (73), ranked 10th, at 149.

REUTERS, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 18, 2017, with the headline 'McIlroy goes on offensive amid 'boredom' accusation'. Print Edition | Subscribe