Remember the penalty incurred by Dustin Johnson for a windblown wobble of his ball that threatened to upset his march to the U.S. Open title at Oakmont in June?
Rory McIlroy encountered a similar situation at the par-5 fourth hole on Bethpage Black in the first round of The Barclays Thursday, but the resolution was a happy one.
McIlroy adressed the ball with his putter on the elevated fourth green, which is exposed to the winds that gusted to 21 miles per hour in the afternoon when he played. McIlroy said there was “a tiny bit of movement. I told the ref what happened, and he said, with the wind and everything, ‘I don’t think you caused the ball to move.’ I just played it from where it was.”
McIlroy sank the putt for a birdie and went on his way to a par 71.
Grillo playing without fear
Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo, who has one win and is bidding for rookie of the year honors, bogeyed the par-3 17th to fall out of a tie for the lead but finished tied for third with a 4-under-par 67. The 23-year-old reflects a younger generation that has no fear of challenging the top players.
“If you want to be No. 1 or you want to be FedExCup winner,” Grillo said, “you have to pretty much play with no fear. That’s what everybody tries to do.”
British Open champ Stenson withdraws
British Open champion Henrik Stenson withdrew after a three-over-par 74, citing a knee injury. Stenson underwent meniscus surgery on his right knee in December. “My right knee has flared up again,” Stenson said in a statement. “I need to withdraw to allow time for an MRI and see what the next step is.” . . . Brett Stegmaier withdrew with a left wrist injury . . . Average score on the par-36 front nine was 35.630 (-0.370), while the average on the par-35 back nine was 36.496 (+1.496).