Rochester: Like his new haircut, Rory McIlroy`s one-under 69 in the opening round of the PGA Championship earned the Northern Irishman mixed reviews on Thursday.
McIlroy got his title defence off to a brilliant start with three birdies in his first four holes to charge up the leaderboard.
But the world number three could not maintain that momentum through a wobbly back nine that left him four shots behind co-leaders Jim Furyk and Masters champion Adam Scott.
"I got off to a fast start obviously," McIlroy told reporters. "I was three under through nine holes. I felt like I played really, really well on the front nine. Overall it was good, to shoot under par today was a solid way to get off to any major," he added.
Struggling through a season that has had more downs than ups after switching his club brand to Nike in a lucrative deal reported to be worth $250 million, McIlroy arrived at Oak Hill sporting a new look, having chopped his mop-topped locks in favour of a more disciplined close-cropped coif.
After romping to victory by a record eight shots in last year`s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, McIlroy appeared determined to once again run away from the field as he picked up a birdie at the first, and two more at the third and fourth.
The sprint, however, turned into a stumble with the 24-year-old collecting more bogeys (four) than birdies (two) over his final 14 holes.
He (Major Dhyan Chand) is inspiration personified. He became synonymous with hockey. He became the parameter of hockey by which other player's calibre is measured.
Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal