Disclaimer: This article was written before Rory McIlroy pegged it up for his second round at the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills.
When McIlroy held the clubhouse lead after 18 holes, he admitted it was nice to "finally" start a major well for a change.
It's a topic often discussed, so much so thatt the 33-year-old Northern Irishman may be sick to the back teeth of fielding questions about it.
Majors. Particularly, his form when it come to the big ones. He could be forgiven for thinking there's a hex on him.
No matter what he does or tries, the first round always appears to be a struggle. But there are some pretty revealing stats about McIlroy after Round 1.
They come courtesy of golf stats man Justin Ray:
Looks like this will be the first time Rory McIlroy has led or co-led following a round in a major since his win at the 2014 PGA. From 2010-14, he did that 17 different times.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) May 20, 2022
5th round of Rory's major career not recording a score on any hole worse than 4 https://t.co/VyQCuxb34O— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) May 19, 2022
Rory McIlroy is 2nd in scoring average and cumulative score to par in rounds 2-4 of majors since his last win, the 2014 PGA. Trails only Koepka.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) May 19, 2022
Rory McIlroy: 65, his lowest opening round score in a major since the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) May 19, 2022
Last 4 times he's opened a major with 66 or better:
2011 U.S. Open (W)
2014 Open (W)
2014 PGA (W)
Round one struggles...
McIlroy entered the week at a combined 35-over par in the first round of majors since 2015.
Compared to the rest of the week, he has been 68-under par.
His first round at Southern Hills Country Club was his best opening round of a major championship in nearly 11 years.
This was also the first time McIlroy had led after any major championship round since his victory at the PGA Championship in 2014 at Valhalla.
Moreover, this was also the fifth time McIlroy has led or co-led after round one.
The two most recent times he did it (at the 2011 U.S. Open and 2014 PGA) he went on to win.
Did playing with Tiger Woods help him out?
McIlroy's 65 tied the second-lowest score recorded by a player when paired with Tiger Woods in a major.
The record - 63 - belongs to Brooks Koepka.
What Rory McIlroy has said about his form...
"I haven't won a major in the last seven years but I've basically won everything else there is to win in golf. I've won the Players Championship, I've won FedEx Cups, I've won Race to Dubai titles, World Golf Championships, I've won national Opens. I've done a lot in the last seven years.
"Yes, that hasn't included a major championship but I've played good enough golf in those seven years to win one. I'm staying as patient as I possibly can and to just keep giving myself chances. If I do keep giving myself chances hopefully those chances end up turning into wins."