Four-time Major winner will be looking to continue his rich vein of form at the final Major of the season
Rory McIlroy could say the same thing about shooting 61 to win a second Wells Fargo in 2015 at Quail Hollow – which is hosting this week’s USPGA Championship.
Rory McIlroy averaged over 350 yards off the tee at the 2015 PGA tour
Hideki Matsuyama of Japan with the Gary Player Cup after winning the World Golf Championships in 2017
Supermac’s course record in North Carolina is still talked about with awe on the PGA Tour.
The way he brought a course measuring more than 7,500 yards to its knees, making it resemble a pitch and putt track, was nothing short of sensational.
McIlroy, 28, averaged more than 350 yards off the tee…and hit a nine iron or less into 15 of the 18 greens. The three exceptions were on par threes measuring well over 200 yards!
His class was summed up on the 16th tee – a 506-yard par four marking the start of Quail Hollow’s notorious Green Mile finish. It is so called because that is the colour players often turn when faced by it.
McIlroy pounded a drive 354 yards down the middle and hit a gap wedge to within a foot of the flag for an easy birdie.
He won by seven shots, with a record 26 birdies, and his 21-under total beat the old course record by five shots.
McIlroy is a bookies favourite, despite going off the boil in recent Major competitions
Dustin Johnson is the currently World Number 1 in the official World Golf Ranking
It was the perfect response to Jordan Spieth’s 2015 Masters and US Open wins.
And Supermac declared: “I feel like I’m the best player in the world and wanted to go out and prove it.”
There has not been enough of that swagger since then — although his performances have not exactly warranted it.
Yet McIlroy is a hot favourite at Quail Hollow this week after that 2015 super-show, not to mention his first-ever US victory there in 2010 — where he shot a stunning 62.
The Northern Irishman also finished tied-fourth in last year’s Wells Fargo.
Jimmy Walker won his first major championship title at the PGA Championship in 2016
He is as low as 6-1 with some bookies, even though the four men alongside him at the top of the rankings have eclipsed him in big events this year.
Dustin Johnson, the Grand Slam-chasing Jordan Spieth, Matsuyama and Sergio Garcia have all won Majors or World Golf Championship titles.
McIlroy’s tie for fourth at The Open last month was his best effort so far in the game’s biggest championships.
As the final Major of the year, they call the USPGA ‘Glory’s Last Shot’.
Sergio Garcia has won 31 international tournaments as a professional
Though there is still one more WGC to come at the HSBC Champions in China — plus a FedEx Cup title to defend — it really is now or never for the world No 4.
Confidence is up after a share of fifth in Ohio at the Bridgestone and that display at Royal Birkdale.
He said: “I’m playing my best golf of the year, but there’s still room to improve.
McIlroy was ranked world number one in the official Golf Ranking for 95 weeks
“I often deliver my best displays at this time of the year — as my two USPGAs and last year’s FedEx Cup win show.
“I’m excited to be back at this course. If I’m favourite, it means I’m playing well — so different than I went into my last Majors.”
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