Earlier this week, Rory McIlroy appeared on the NBC’s Tonight Show to plug The PLAYERS Championship, which can be seen all weekend on the same broadcast network.
“Round one is in less than two days. How do you now get in the zone? Because, now I got you here, pal,” said Fallon. “I wanna get you in the zone.
“Other than talking to me – Rory, what do you need – what do you need from me?”
McIlroy replied, “I just need some good vibes. Just some good vibes from you, Jimmy. That’s it.”
The leftwing comic bowed his head, placed his hands on his forehead, and said, “I’m sending it to you right now.
“You ready? You ready for this?
“There you go. Round one is yours!”
McIlroy said, “Awesome. Perfect.”
Starting his round on the 10th hole, Rory opened with a double bogey. Dropped another shot on No. 13, and then dunked two balls in the water on 18 to turn on 7-over par 43 – tying his career-worst 9-hole score.
With a 43 on the back nine at TPC Sawgrass (his first nine), defending champion Rory McIlroy tied the highest opening nine-hole score of his PGA TOUR career (677th round).#THEPLAYERS pic.twitter.com/ju9HdZRCJh
— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) March 11, 2021
He finished his final nine holes with three birdies against three more bogeys, including a gut punch on the par-5 finishing hole, to sign for a 7-over par 79, a career high score at TPC Sawgrass. His previous worst was 77 – way back in his rookie season of 2009 as a then 19-year old.
After 18 holes, in what Fallon predicted was “his round,” Rory was ahead of just six players in a field of 144.