Monday, May 18

Rory McIlroy: 'I Don't Feel Like My Game Has Ever Been in Better Shape'

By Brian Keogh

Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.


Golf news from Brian Keogh's
Irish Golf Desk.
RORY MCILROY RACKED UP HIS 11th PGA Tour win with an impressive seven-shot victory in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow and admitted that a weight has been lifted since he went to the Masters seeking the career Grand Slam. While last night's win only puts him tied 86th on the list of all-time PGA Tour winners alongside the likes of Miller Barber and Al Geiberger, he at least matched Masters winners Zach Johnson and Adam Scott with 11 titles.

Getting that elusive green jacket is at the top of McIlroy's wish list and while he'll be looking to the US Open at Chamber's Bay, the Open at St Andrews and the US PGA at Whistling Straits before returning to Augusta National, he admitted in Charlotte that he's played like a man with a weight lifted from his shoulders since the Masters.

Sunday's win — he followed his course record 61 on Saturday with a 69 to finish with a record, 21-under par total — was his second since he failed to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National in April. Since finishing a career best fourth in the Masters, McIlroy has won the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play, tied for eighth in The Players and now won his second title at Quail Hollow, five years after notching his maiden PGA Tour win at the venue.

"I'm not going to lie," McIlroy said of his post-Masters explosion and last night's seven-shot win over Patrick Rodgers and Webb Simpson.

"There was a lot of expectation going into Augusta, a lot of hype, lot of expectation that I put on myself.  It was a great opportunity to do something that very few players in this game have done.  

"I'll go back next year with the same opportunity. But, yeah, since then I guess it was a little bit of a weight lifted off the shoulders and free up and not think about it and just go on and play the rest of the season and play the way I know that I can play and that's why I'm excited about what's coming up with the three majors still to play and everything else."

McIlroy has now won three times this season, having claimed the Dubai Desert Classic, and he now has 17 official victories, including four majors and two WGCs, since he won for the first time in Dubai in February 2009.

"I don't feel like my game has ever been in better shape," he said after knocking five shots off the tournament scoring record and extending his lead over Jordan Spieth at the top of the world rankings to 4.46 points.

Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.

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