In bright sunshine, with balmy-for-Scotland temperatures in the low 60s and manageable wind, scoring conditions probably were as ideal as the players will see this week. This is Scotland, and during Thursday's opening round of the 145th British Open, Spieth didn't putt almost well enough to capitalize on his ball-striking.
So McIlroy grabbed his driver, gripped it, took a mighty whack and immediately yelled, "Fore!" while pointing way left of the fairway.
After the round, he shook his head and laughed as he reached this point in the story. "I think you're looking at something at around eight or 10 under par that might win this tournament, and I felt like I got off to a good start in trying to achieve that". The 13th is a par-4.
Mickelson, who got a break on the front nine before the steady rain came and made hard conditions for players, birdied three of the first eight holes, including a near ace at the par-3 eighth.
The powerful Dustin Johnson did not fare much better in a round that had the opposite problems to Day.
"It's just a good feeling coming to the Open knowing that I can play Open championship golf".
What helped ease the pain is that it was only the first day.
For his part, McIlroy followed an opening 2-under 69 with an even-par 71 that had him pleased with the way he played.
"My game certainly feels better after today's round where I had a good score", Mickelson said after his final round at the Scottish Open.
He hasn't contended at a major since coming third at the PGA Championship in 2014 and he withdrew from the US Open last month before the end of his second round. The last Open I played, I got the good end of the draw and good things happened that week. But I'm not going to let being on the wrong side ruin my mood or ruin my week.
A second round two over par 73, left the Welshman level par and going into the weekend ten shots behind leader Phil Mickelson.
After going out in the morning on Thursday, McIlroy must wait until 2:37pm local time (1337 GMT) on Friday to begin his second round. Irish Examiner reports that the former world number one hasn't been featured in the finish of any majors in the past two years. And I played the front nine well especially. "I think there should definitely be more holes like that in golf". And that's worked out well for me.
"I can't buy a putt right now", Spieth said as he strode to the par 3 17th tee box.
QUOTEWORTHY: "You've got to understand that some people get lucky, some people get unlucky". I made one or two bad swings that led to bogeys. "It's definitely a way different pace than back home".
"You want to throw a pity party", said Stricker, who finished with a 75. "If you can pick up a birdie or two along the way, that's great". Morris was 46 years and 102 days old when he triumphed at nearby Prestwick 149 years ago. He's confident, though, in the knowledge that he's overcome large deficits in the past to win titles.
Mickelson was at 10-under 132, the best 36-hole total ever to lead at Royal Troon.
And now, he faces a return to reality. "But this is a bit of a difference".
The four-time major victor was pleased to be able to focus on his bid for the Claret Jug after a build-up to the tournament dominated by his and numerous other stars' decision to withdraw from the Olympics.
There's one advantage he might own over those atop the leaderboard come this weekend.
Wayward drives on the 12th and 15th led to Mickelson's first dropped shots of the championship and allowed Stenson to close to within a shot, with Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen two strokes further back.