10 - 13 April

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy: Third round leader at Augusta in 2011

Rory McIlroy: Third round leader at Augusta in 2011

A few weeks is a long time in golf. Just ask Rory McIlroy, who is the subject of a huge rush to judgement on the state of his game and mental well-being as soon as he strings a few poor results together.

That was the case at the start of 2013 when, after a high-profile switch to Nike, Rory struggled badly in his first few tournaments.

The intense media scrutiny affected him and he appeared to crack when defending his Honda Classic crown as he stormed off the course after a horrid start to his second round.

That seemed to be a turning point in Rory's season because the very next week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship he steadily played himself back into form and finished eighth and in his final event before The Masters he was runner-up in the Texas Open.

However, a third round 69 wrecked his hopes at Augusta for another year and despite two decent efforts at Quail Hollow (10th) and Sawgrass (8th) he's still without a victory in 2013 whereas Tiger has four.

The US Open is very close to his heart as it is this tournament which saw him become a major winner in sensational style when he broke records galore on the way to an eight-shot triumph at Congressional in 2011.

He also won last year's USPGA by that same crushing eight-shot margin so when he's on his game, the Ulsterman is capable of blowing any field away.

Those two victories came on vast, lengthy courses so it remains to be seen whether he'll be as effective on a short track like Merion.

Rory's Vital Stats

  • DOB: 04/05/1989
  • Nationality: Northern Ireland
  • Height: 5ft 9