Dublin, Ohio: On the 20th shot of his opening round at the Memorial Tournament, Rory McIlroy tweaked his left knee when his spikes got stuck in the ground. For the rest of the day, McIlroy said, his thought process was stripped to the bare essentials: find the fairways, hit the ball close and make the putts.
No amount of emotional or physical distress seems capable of slowing McIlroy, who carded a 9-under-par 63 at Muirfield Golf Club to take a three-stroke lead over Paul Casey, Chris Kirk and Bubba Watson. Since he broke off his engagement to tennis star Caroline Wozniacki last week, McIlroy has averaged 67.4 strokes in five competitive rounds. He came here fresh off his first victory on the European Tour since 2012.
The more his knee swelled and throbbed, the better McIlroy scored. He was 7-under - with two eagles on par 5s - after suffering the injury, his second in two weeks. During the second round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, he hurt his back, and responded with scores of 69 and 66 on the weekend.