Written by Staff Writer
Editor’s Note — Rory McIlroy is a five-time winner of the coveted PGA Championship. According to TOUR, the Northern Irishman is “the only player to win the PGA Championship in the 21st century.”
A championship, as golfers say, that the Rory McIlroy avoids.
“Obviously, there is a lot of golf to play and a lot of great golf to be played. You get a feeling in these events like you do in other tournaments, and you see where you’re at, and you see what others are doing and where you’re at. It’s good to see how the other players are doing, but you can’t get lost in it,” he told CNN Sport.
“That being said, at the end of the day, any of the top 100 players in the world are probably the same as me. We all need to improve in our individual games. I will try to do that.”
McIlroy is among the game’s true big hitters, and he’s no stranger to winning ‘open’ courses and controversial galleries, having earned his last major title in 2016 at Quail Hollow Championship, a course once visited by the sport’s great pariah, Tiger Woods.
“I would describe myself as a steady hand,” McIlroy said. “I don’t try to take too many risks.
“At a lot of the tournaments I win, I go to the Sunday tee thinking I’m always going to come out on top, or I’m playing the golf course, and saying, ‘it’s the easiest there is going to be.’
“Some of the things I’ve achieved in my career (are) because I’ve grown up in a smaller town in Northern Ireland and always wanted to prove to people that I belong here, and I want to try to be the best player in the world.
“At a golf course like (next week’s defending champion) Honda Classic, there is a lot of talk about (this tournament) being maybe the toughest to win, and I just want to go in there and play my golf and, if I do that, I’ve still got a chance at the weekend.”
While McIlroy will be wanting to be remembered for something more than throwing the clubhouse punch at Woods at the British Open in 2011, the winner of 20th PGA Tour title in the world’s third-most popular sport may yet wind up chasing him into a busy season on the PGA Tour.
“I would like to be in the running for the majors. That’s what I would love to achieve, and I feel that if I can play my best golf, I’m capable of being the best player in the world. I mean, that’s my goal,” he said.
“I know it doesn’t always happen, that’s part of what makes it so great that it’s not the easiest, but I don’t spend too much time dwelling on that. I spend a lot of time thinking, ‘OK, this is how I’m going to win this week,’ and ‘OK, this is how I’m going to work on this and what I can do different to make it happen.’”