Rory McIlroy’s flawless US Open start brings dreams of ending major drought

I felt like those times where I kind of got myself out of position a little bit, you just try to get back into play as easy as you can, give yourself a chance for a par.

“I think staying very disciplined is important. There’s a lot of pins you don’t really think about going for. So me and Joe, my caddie, we have a lot of good conversations about certain areas that you try to hit it in.”

Tiger Woods had been an early casualty of what he had predicted would be a “war of attrition”, the 15-time major winner making a birdie on his opening hole of the day before struggling to a 74.

Woods made a record 24th consecutive cut in the Masters before carding a third round of 82, his worst-ever score at Augusta National, and also missed the cut in the US PGA Championship.

The 48-year-old also needed an invite from the USGA to make it to Pinehurst after his exemption for winning the 2019 Masters expired, but insisted: “I’m physically getting better as the year has gone on.

“I just haven’t been able to play as much because I just don’t want to hurt myself pre, then I won’t be able to play in the major championships.

“It’s pick your poison, right? Play a lot with the potential of not playing, or not playing and fight being not as sharp.”

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