US Open: Rory McIlroy happy to take smooth with the rough at Erin Hills

World No2 has not competed since May due to a rib problem but he is ready for the US Open and has been working harder on his short game

In a week when the United States Golf Association will inevitably be in need of allies, a high-profile one arrived in the shape of Rory McIlroy. The world No2 hit back at those fellow US Open competitors who have complained about the rough at Erin Hills – Kevin Na labelled it “unplayable” – by insisting the margins for error remain perfectly fair.

As McIlroy was speaking, the USGA was overseeing the cutting back of dense, tall rough in only a few areas of the course. News of that triggered a rueful smile from the Northern Irishman, who will go in pursuit of a fifth major title from Thursday, and saw little need for such an adjustment.

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