Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 6th 2014 Contents A76
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, August 6, 2014
LOUISVILLE---Golf stories about
Rory McIlroy are a lot more flat-
tering than those a year ago. And
if he reads too much into them,
they can be a lot more danger-
McIlroy led from start to finish
at Hoylake to win the British Open.
Then, he overpowered Firestone at
the weekend to win his first World
Golf Championship. Now he is the
overwhelming favourite at the PGA
Championship. He is looked on in
some corners as a sure winner, a
label once reserved only for Tiger
Boy Wonder is not so sure about
"Sometimes I feel that people
are too quick to jump to conclu-
sions," McIlroy said yesterday,
before heading out for his first look
"I ve had a great run of golf and
I ve played well over the past few
months. Look, I said at the start
of the year that golf was looking
for someone to put their hand up
and sort of become one of the
dominant players in the game. I
felt like I had the ability to do that.
And it s just nice to be able to win
a few tournaments and get back
to where I feel I should be."
He is No. 1 in the world again.
He has three wins in his last seven
starts. And with three legs of the
career Grand Slam---only Woods
and Jack Nicklaus were younger
than the 25-year-old McIlroy when
they achieved that---there was even
talk about the start of a new era.
McIlroy wasn t buying.
"I m just really happy with where
my golf game is at the minute, and
I just want to try and continue that
for as long as possible," he said.
"And people can say what they
want to say. That s fine. But I can t
read too much into it...Because if
you read everything that was being
written, I d turn up at the first tee
on Thursday thinking I d already
won the tournament."
The question lingered yesterday
whether Woods was going to make
it to the first tee at all.
Woods injured his back Sun-
day---just four months after back
surgery---and cancelled his news
conference yesterday. There was
no word on his prospects, presum-
ably because he wanted to give
himself as much time as possible
to see if he could play.
Even if he did, that wouldn t
take the focus from McIlroy.
McIlroy appears to be in full
flight, just as he was in his record
victory at Congressional in the 2011
US Open, and just as he was when
he won the PGA Championship
by a record eight shots in 2012,
and then added three more wins
the rest of the year against strong
Valhalla, where Woods won 14
years ago, would appear to be suited
for him. Then again, just about any
course is for a guy who hits it long
McIlroy said his work in gym
has added about seven pounds of
muscle in recent months, and he
is now the heaviest he has been.
He also has shortened his swing,
which would make him more accu-
rate off the tee.
"He s such a great driver of the
golf ball," Phil Mickelson said as
he looked back on McIlroy s win
at Firestone. "Even though the golf
course was fairly tight and hitting
fairways is important, he kept hit-
ting drivers and he kept putting
the ball in play and he kept playing
the course aggressively and making
"And he plays to his strength.
He s just a very good talent. We ve
been waiting a year, year and a half
now for it to turn. And it s really
turned for him. And he s tough to
McIlroy was foundering at this
time a year ago, missing the cut in
three out of six tournaments, not
even sniffing contention as he
worked through equipment
changes. The final touch was an
alignment issue he solved after the
Masters, and he is soaring now.
Of the 13 players to win a major
and a World Golf Championship,
McIlroy and Woods are the only
ones to win them in consecutive
starts. In the last 20 years, Woods,
Padraig Harrington and Nick Price
are the only players to win the final
two majors of the year.
McIlroy ended Adam Scott s 11-
week run at No. 1, and his intent
is to stay there.
McIlroy considers this his best
major, and the results bear that
out. In five starts, he has finished
out of the top ten only one time.
That was in 2011 in Atlanta, where
he played the last three rounds
with an arm injury after trying to
hit a shot through a tree root.
"Expectations are higher. Hype
is a little higher," McIlroy said. "So
it s a little bit different this year."
of all the hype
Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, hits a chip shot on the sixth hole
during a practice round for the PGA Championship golf tournament at
Valhalla Golf Club yesterday in Louisville, Kentucky. The tournament is
set to begin tomorrow. AP PHOTO
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