Fiery Rory in contention once again at PGA Championship

Rory McIlroy, 2023 PGA Championship, Oak Hill,(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy, 2023 PGA Championship, Oak Hill,(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images) /

Following his missed cut at the Masters last month, Rory McIlroy is back in contention once again at the PGA Championship.

Rory McIlroy is battling. He is battling to find form and return to the Rory of last year when he finished top 8 or better in each of last year’s major championships.

He is battling to erase the memories of a difficult and disappointing week at Augusta last month where he once again came up short of expectations and missed the cut at the Masters; despite feeling great about his game heading into this year’s first major.

And at this week’s PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club, he has battled through a difficult first two days of this year’s championship. Rory McIlroy followed an opening round-71 with a Friday-69 and he finds himself at Even-par heading into moving day at Oak Hill.

The two-time PGA Champion struggled on his opening nine holes on Friday making two bogeys and just one birdie on his way to an outward 36 on the difficult Par 70 layout that is hosting 2023’s second major championship.

McIlroy was able to keep a clean card on his back nine, but on the 14th hole on Friday, the Northern Irishman was overheard by a hot mic letting out some of the frustrations of the last handful or so weeks that have been threatening to boil over for some time now.

Despite airing his grievances, Rory added two birdies to his tally, including one on the last that saw the four-time major winner sign for inward 33 and a total of 69 for his second round.

McIlroy looked visibly relieved following a tough day on the course and he can hold his head high knowing that he has put himself in a great position to still mount a challenge in this year’s championship.

Rory McIlroy in contention at PGA Championship for second consecutive year.

McIlroy finds himself five shots back of the leaders heading into moving day of the 105th PGA Championship.

Viktor Hovland, who is looking for his major championship breakthrough this week, fired a 67 on Friday to climb to the top of the leaderboard. The Norweigan is joined by Canadian Corey Conners, who is also seeking his first major victory, and Scottie Scheffler who is looking to add to his major collection following his dominant win at the Masters last year.

Of course, McIlroy is no stranger to finding himself in this position. He had a great opportunity at the PGA Championship last year heading into moving day. Unfortunately, things once again didn’t go as he would have hoped and his championship challenge came up short at Southern Hills.

He responded well in the following two majors as he often has, but McIlroy’s wait for a fifth major title would go on. Rory got over the heartbreak of St. Andrews with a sensational win at East Lake the following month, and he will get over the disappointment of this year’s Masters as well.

The only question is whether or not the response this time finally ends Rory’s long wait for a fifth major. He has given himself another opportunity this week by not giving up the fight even when things have been difficult.

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As for his plan heading into moving day this time, Rory will be focused on getting the ball in play off the tee and giving himself a shot over the weekend.

"“If I can get the ball in play off the tee, I’ll have a shot.” – Rory McIlroy"

Positioning himself with an opportunity going into Sunday will be vital. That is something he failed to do at last year’s PGA Championship.