Rory McIlroy, the drive to win his first major in eight years, started the US Open with a three-under-67

Brooklyn, Massachusetts – That might seem like a coincidence Rory McIlroy He is once again playing some of the best golf of his career at a time when the new LIV Golf Invitational Series is threatening the PGA Tour.

However, McIlroy, an outspoken critic of the new circuit led by two-time World Open winner Greg Norman and funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, insists that is not the case.

After taking a share of his first-round lead at the 122nd US Open after the morning wave at The Country Club on Thursday, McIlroy insists he is being pushed by something else.

“It’s been eight years since I won the Major, and I just want to get my hands on it again,” McIlroy said.

With the opening round 3-under 67, McIlroy put himself in a great position to do just that. In each of his four previous major tournament victories — at the 2011 US Open, the 2012 and 2014 PGA Championship, and the 2014 Open Championship — he started tournaments with a run of 67 or better.

“You feel like you’ve been in the championship right since the start of the week, which is great,” McIlroy said. “I’m going to [Friday] With the mindset of let’s keep moving forward, rather than where the cut line is or whatever. If you don’t get off to a great start, those thoughts will start to creep in. It’s definitely a different mindset when you get off to a good start, and yes, I have to keep it going. “

It was an eventful opening round for McIlroy at the golf course outside Boston. He started on his back nine and a ghost kart free, 2-under 33. Then on a fourth par 4 hole, he pushed his tee to the right. His ball ended up in a very thick rough over a vault.

“You’re going to face things at the US Open, whether it’s lies or things like that, that you wouldn’t really face any other week,” McIlroy said. “It’s hard not to get frustrated because I’m walking there going like, ‘Just going back to the bunker. The thickest rough stuff on the track was around the edges of the bunkers. So I was cursing the USGA when I was going up the ball.'”

To make matters worse, McIlroy’s feet were under the ball. He managed to hit his second shot just about 10 yards away—in another shelter in the fairway. He hit his stick twice hard in the sand. Remarkably, McIlroy was able to climb up and down the sand to maintain equality.

“I gave Sand a few hits because I already messed it up, so it wasn’t like it was more work for [caddie] Harry [Diamond]’ said McIlroy. Then I reset and played a good blocky shot, and then it was really nice to punch that punch. But, yeah, you’re going to encounter things this week that you wouldn’t normally encounter in other weeks of the year, and you just have to try to accept it as best you can.”

After making sparrows on the 7th and 8th to move to 4-lower, McIlroy lost his cool again in the 4th ninth, his last hole. He pushed his approach to the right of the green and threw his baton in frustration. He ended up making a ghost.

McIlroy said his reactions in the bunker on the fifth hole and ninth fairway are “almost to remind yourself sometimes how much she means to you.”

“Again, some of those reactions that you’ve probably seen out there today, whether it’s sanding on a 5 or throwing the putter on a 9, you just have to be very precise and precise in this golf tournament, perhaps compared to each other,” McIlroy said. “If any little thing is not going well, you kind of put yourself behind the eight ball. The margins are very good in this tournament, and I think you can kind of see that with some of the reactions.”

While McIlroy didn’t say the emergence of LIV Golf and the defection of several PGA Tour players – including Bryson DeShampooAnd the Dustin Johnson And the Patrick Reed – It inspired him to play better golf, and that’s exactly what he’s been doing the past few weeks.

He won the RBC Canadian Open in Ontario last week. It was the twenty-first victory of his career, which saw him surpass Norman in his career victories. McIlroy was the last player to win a major title a week after winning a PGA Tour event, and now he’s trying to become the first player to do so at the US Open.

McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, has become the strongest voice to support the PGA Tour, which really needs one now.

“I just be me,” McIlroy said. “I live my life.” “I do what I think is right and try to play the best golf possible. I wasn’t asked to be here. I wasn’t trying to be in this position. I just be me.”