European Ryder Cup Captain, Padraig Harrington was not surprised that Rory McIlroy finally ended an 18-month winless drought last Sunday at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Harrington had ‘tongue in cheek’ recently spoke of hoping McIlroy would save his good form till closer to September’s Whistling Straits showdown but nonetheless he was delighted one of his European kingpins got back into the winner’s circle and also delivered ‘swagger’ that Harrington says has been missing from the ancient game.
“I was pleased Rory won – I won’t say I wasn’t,” said Harrington after his bogey-free 66 on day one of the AT&T Byron Nelson on the TPC Craig Ranch course to the north-east of Dallas in Texas.
“Certainly was not unexpected by me. Rory’s always been an ebb and flow player. When he starts playing well he plays even better.
“For me, I know it’s selfish and I am only being a bit facetious, but I wasn’t unhappy with his form because I was thinking he’s hanging onto his form for later in the year.
“You know, clearly Rory can play well all year. The way I look at it is that win last week brings back a bit of that swagger that we all need on the golf course. Rory is a very dangerous player with that. Hopefully he’ll be a very dangerous player for at least five more months!”
American JJ Spaun was joined by Texan Jordan Spieth at the top of the AT&T leaderboard after the pair signed for nine-under 63s, with Dubai-based Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello and American Aaron Wise amongst a four-way tie for eight-under.
Harrington was outscored by his Irish Olympic teammate on a great opening day for Seamus Power who carded five birdies and like Harrington, a final hole eagle, in his seven-under 65 that shares seventh ahead of round two.
- Full scoring HERE
Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!