Scott In Awe Of McIlroy - 'Made Me Feel Like A Turkey'

The former Masters champion marvelled at playing partner Rory McIlroy, the first round leader of the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy, playing partners on day 1 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where Rory took the lead with an opening 65
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy was so good on day one of the Arnold Palmer Invitational that he made playing partner Adam Scott ‘feel like a turkey’. After an early bogey, Rory was imperious at Bay Hill, making an eagle and six birdies to card a 7-under-par 65 to take the first round lead.

Scott, a former Masters champion and World No.1 with career earnings of $58million, didn’t play badly himself, opening with a 4-under-par 68 for a share of 5th place, but according to a report in The Telegraph, the Aussie was inspired to play well by Rory’s fine form.

“It’s a little bit one-dimensional just to say ‘Rory drives it good’,” said Scott. “Yeah, he drove it well, but he did everything well and the speed of his putting was beautiful. I love watching him swing – he lifts my level when playing like that. But I did feel like a turkey next to him.”

McIlroy has finished in the top 10 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in each of the past five years, including winning it in 2018, and while he sunk his longest ever eagle putt on the 16th, he felt it was his iron play that really shone, especially on the 12th and 6th holes.

“They were probably two of the best long irons I have hit in a while,” said the Northern Irishman. “When I start hitting long irons like that, I know my swing’s in a pretty good place. It certainly gives me some confidence. I’ve long said it, but here you just need to take care of the par-5s and be disciplined on the rest.”

McIlroy will take a two-shot advantage into the second round, with Beau Hossler, JJ Spaun and Billy Horschel all shooting 67s. Scott is one of six players lying a shot further back, a group that includes McIlroy’s fellow countryman Graeme McDowell and England’s Ian Poulter. 

Rory is not the first player to impress Scott this year. In January he was one of the players to publicly praise the 20-year-old Hojgaard twins, Nicolai and Rasmus, who have been hailed as the future of European golf.

Jeff Kimber
Jeff Kimber

Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!