Ahead of the start of the Dunhill tomorrow, the media tent was abuzz with press teams and their cameras trying to ready themselves for the start of the tournament. This afternoon Rory McIlroy sat down with the press to discuss the upcoming tournament and his expectations. I was lucky enough to be one of them, sitting in on the conference and hearing what Rory had to say about what is arguably the most exciting week in St Andrews.
It was announced today that Rory is partnering up with his dad to take on the team competition in the tournament, as well as competing alone. When asked about what the dynamic will be like playing with his dad, Rory noted that he had been playing with him since he was young and so they were used to playing together.
Shortly after the end of the tournament, the competing golfers will be rewarded with a much-needed break. When Rory was asked about this, he said that he was excited at the prospect of having a few months off. When he resumes golf again in January, the question was posed as to where abouts in the world he would be restarting his golfing adventures for the year – “it depends where I spend Christmas” he truthfully answered. If he spends Christmas at home in Ireland it would be very difficult for him to get himself to Hawaii for the second of January when the competition begins. Whereas if he spends Christmas in America it will be much easier for him to get himself to Hawaii.
The one person competing this year on everyone’s minds at the university is Justin Timberlake – the idea of him in our small university town is all a bit surreal – and even the press wanted to know what Rory thought about it. One interviewer asked how they thought Justin Rose, Timberlake’s partner, would fare with the crowd of people (I should imagine mainly female) who will be watching them play – understandably it will be much greater than what they will be used to. Rory said he wasn’t sure how Justin Rose would fare with the distraction that a large crowd could ultimately bring. He also noted that the appearance of Justin Timberlake in the tournament, his first time nonetheless, will do a lot for publicity for the tournament.
Nonetheless Rory seemed ready to play, regretfully denying two fans of autographs as he bustled out of the media centre – he had things to do and headed straight over to the putting green to get practising for tomorrow. Although it is a bit of fun for the celebrities who come to play, and a chance to show off their golfing prowess. For the professional golfers, it is still part of their competition season, and all eyes will be on them to see how well they can perform.