US Open 2022: Rory McIlroy pursues the serenity of his youth as he watches the first big crown of 2014.

BROOKLINE, Massachusetts – In a way, Rory McIlroy has been chasing his 25-year-old self for the past eight years. He is now 33 without a major championship since turning 25 that summer. He won two this season to match the two he already owned, but remained empty for the next 81 months.

On Saturday at the US Open 2022, McIlroy will face three iterations of this previous self as he tries to give a fresh start to his main championship career.

Colin Morikawa, 25, Scotty Scheffler, 25, and John Ram, 27, have four majors together, the same number as the older statesman in their sport. Morikawa is one shot higher than McIlroy with Ram tied with Ulsterman and Scheffler with one behind. They surround Rory.

McIlroy almost kicked out this US Open before it got really good. After shooting 67 and stepping back one shot on Thursday, he took the lead until his second round began on Friday. Rory started equally, but the No. 3 disaster resulted in a 25-foot double buggy blow that he buried.

He dances 1 to 2 less and back for most of the day on Friday, evoking visions of the PGA Championship in Southern Hills that he had in his hands until he did, which danced in the minds of fans.

Cap number 10 pushed McIlroy back to 1 lower and everything seemed to slip. At that moment, he thought, “I just wanted to try to shoot at face value [on the day]”Three birds coming home without carts in the last eight holes meant he barely made it.

McIlroy headed for the back nine to shoot 69, a solid follow-up to his 67, giving him four lower and one back lead shared by Morikawa and Joel Damen.

McIlroy looked healthy all week, partly because he bears the weight of the sport. But it is clear that he feels that this is his best chance to add to his main collection in a few years. McIlroy is a blood hunter when it comes to smelling important moments and has benefited from almost everyone he has played.

However, a long time has passed and he knows that winning this event in 2011 will not help him win this US Open.

“I think I should come out with the attitude this week that I will try to win my first one again,” McIlroy said. “I play golf as well as I’ve played for a long time. I have a lot of experience. Yes, I’ve won big championships and other big events, but … just because I did it doesn’t mean I’m going to hit better golf shots or hit better shots.

“I’m in a good place. I’m really happy with my game and I think that’s the most important thing.”

The freedom of course that McIlroy pursues can be found in the hearts of Morikawa, Scheffler, and to some extent Ram.

Will McIlroy call for what these boys embody – what he once embodied better than anyone else – over the weekend?

Morikawa, Scheffler, and Ram have the ability to let the young man gallop because they still don’t know they can get tired. For years, McIlroy doesn’t seem to be sure if he can trust himself enough to leave. Now? Well, he looks ready.

“You want to face the best to try to get the best out of yourself,” McIlroy said. And to see Colin, John, Scotty and Sam [Burns] up there, and whoever it is, it’s golf in the big championship. This is the competition.

“It simply came to our notice then. I want guys to go out and shoot 65, so I have to go and shoot 64. This is a competition and this is the basis of this game. I’m excited to be in it for the weekend mix. ”

When McIlroy feels himself and the moment, everything looks like a liquid.

Other players hit, hit or hit. Rory is running. His swing, of course, but also his whole ethos. His presence fills major championships.

There was a 10-minute break on Friday, which embodied when McIlroy finished his round with players Xander Schaufele and Hideki Matsuyama. An analog ranking dances with the curved letters SCHAUFFELE just above McIlroy’s shoulder as he fills the 17th cup with his fifth and last bird of the day to reach 4 less.

McIlroy moved on to the 18th, where while waiting for the group in front of him, he juggled golf balls handed to him by Schauffel’s caddy. The juggler who was about to go for the juggler.

As McIlroy gained momentum at the end of his circle, he moved around the property with the freedom of water.

All this raises the question: Can you move around the weekend at the US Open while dragging so much of your past with you and watching so many young stars who don’t have to deal with this burden?

After the sun faded on this rocky old field, McIlroy was asked on Friday if he could play freely in Brooklyn. An antique look appeared on the face of the four-time main champion.

“For the first time in a long time,” he said meaningfully.

The weekend will be significant.

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