Caddie’s choice words kick Rory McIlroy into gear after nightmare Open start | Andy Bull

Five bogeys in the first six holes left Rory McIlroy facing humiliation and it needed JP Fitzgerald to jolt the world No4 into making four birdies on the back nine to keep his Open challenge alive

If Rory McIlroy’s best is as good as it gets, his worst is just about as ugly as it comes. On Thursday, the fans at Royal Birkdale saw a bit of both. On a hot day, with just enough breeze to ruffle the gorse, McIlroy’s game ran stone cold for nine holes. Wayward off the tee, uncertain around the greens, by the time he got off the 6th he was five over par, 10 shots off Jordan Spieth’s lead, and his chances of winning the Open looked dead already.

Only, McIlroy kept at it, forcing the pieces of his game together like a kid puzzling out a jigsaw. He ground around the turn and then picked up four birdies in eight holes. That left him one over, six shots back. He had played his way into trouble and out of it again.

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