With the fairways at Carnoustie baked out to a record level this summer, many players opted to keep the driver in the bag Thursday at the Open Championship and opt for controlled tee shots that ran on the firm ground.
Rory McIlroy was not one of them.
Arguably the best driver on the planet, McIlroy opted for an aggressive approach off the tee in the opening round, and it paid off with a 2-under 69 that ultimately put him three shots off the lead.
With the penal fescue rough thinned out by the hot temperatures, the four-time major winner said he's committed to a bold game plan.
"You might make more bogeys than playing safe but you're definitely going to make more birdies as well," McIlroy said after the round. "Obviously I got away with some tee shots but, at the same time, I think that is what I have to to do. That is my game plan this week. I am convinced that is the way I should play it."
McIlroy only found 4-of-15 fairways on the day but was able to scramble and card just one bogey. He averaged 312 yards off the tee and approached a number of greens with a wedge in his hands.
The recent knock on McIlroy's game has been his putting, but if the world's eighth-ranked player can keep giving himself good looks at birdie, he's bound to pour a few putts in and fly up the leaderboard.