Rory McIlroy did something on Thursday at The Barclays we haven't seen him do very much of this season: He struggled.
McIlroy shot his first 40 for nine holes (the back nine of the course) for the first time since the Scottish Open and in a first round for the first time all season.
He blamed eschewing practice for a whirlwind media tour that is just now winding down after winning the last two majors of the year.
"It's more to do with just not putting the adequate time into my game over the past week for obvious reasons," McIlroy said. "I think that's really been it. So I'm going to grab a bit to eat here and go to the range this afternoon and work on a few things and really just catch up on some practice that I probably missed out on over the past week."
Fair enough. When you're the king of sport you can do what you want but the opening-round 74 does have to be a disappointment for McIlroy.
Here's a look at his messy card:
McIlroy said he sort of saw this round coming.
"It was inevitable, after such a great few weeks -- I wanted to enjoy it for a week," McIlroy said. "I came here Monday morning, hit some balls, practiced pretty well. But I guess taking a week off and sort of getting back into it this week, I probably just needed to give myself a bit more time. But I wasn't going to do that. I was enjoying myself."
It's not like he's totally out of it, either. He trails the early leaders by eight strokes which is not that much to make up when you're a scorer like McIlroy.
Plus he'll want to peak closer to the Tour Championship and that $10 million prize in a month.