Rory McIlroy has received a timely boost as he begins his defense of the US Open at the Olympic Club, San Francisco.
He has been trying to appear confident whilst in the city, even throwing out the first pitch for the San Francisco Giants with a grin on his face. However, as he looks to achieve a special double at a course already being touted as unpredictable, McIlroy will be pleased to hear that his long-term coach Michael Bannon was rumored to have announced to those at Bangor GC, where his golfing academy is based, that he intended to leave his post in order to focus all of his energies on the young Northern Irishman.
If true it is possible that the young golfer may be better placed to tighten up his game and iron out any inconsistencies. According to Bannon’s own website it is a point of pride that he has helped coach a World Number 1, and so longevity may become a new aim for the pair as well.
Coming in to the Olympic Club at the top of the rankings means that an all-European, all-British trio of Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald will tee off as the one to watch later today in the major’s first round. Westwood is 3rd in the world with Donald in 1st just ahead of McIlroy and the two Englishmen will be keen to achieve their first major. After all, that would symbolize all of the hard work that has seen the two duke it out for the title on Number 1.
Of course at Congressional a whole year ago McIlroy blew the rest of the field apart. Will he be so dominant and belligerent this time around?
According to the bookmakers Tiger Woods is the outright favorite, following recent wins, closely followed by Donald and Westwood, who has also been in particularly good nick of late.
Behind that is McIlroy and then the like of Dustin Johnson and Jason Dufner. The likeable Bubba Watson has odds slightly longer, but he has proved beyond any reprise that you cannot fully predict these things.
The talk stops and the golf starts again in earnest. Will Rory McIlroy use what he has in his locker?