Golf: McIlroy hopes sparks will fly again at PGA

McIlroy plays footgolf during the pro-am. PHOTO: REUTERS

WENTWORTH, United Kingdom (AFP) - Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy is hoping this week's PGA Championship can be the catalyst for a run of success as his previous win at Wentworth proved to be in 2014.

The 29-year-old Northern Irishman has gone a bit flat since the Masters eluded him yet again as he failed to land a punch on final round playing partner and eventual champion Patrick Reed.

However, he is hopeful that a course where he has missed the cut four times will prove more favourable territory for him now it has undergone a revamp since he last played there in 2015.

After his win in 2014 he went on to capture two Majors (the British Open and US PGA Championship) amongst other victories.

"I guess all you need is that spark or that catalyst," said McIlroy at his eve of tournament press conference.

"I felt like my game was trending in the right direction in 2014, but didn't quite have the win. I didn't expect to win on that Sunday, I was seven shots adrift going into the last day.

"Yeah, it did snowball from there and I got on to a nice little bit of a hot streak, and I'd love to be able to do something like that again as I've got a busy summer coming up.

"So I guess yeah this could be the spark."

McIlroy, who started the season well with two top three finishes in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and then victory in Bay Hill in the United States, admitted his poor overall record at Wentworth could play on his mind but he did have some better memories too.


"It's just been a bit up-and-down," said McIlroy regarding his relationship with the course.

"It's a course where if you're not quite on, you can get frustrated easily and sort of let it go from there.

"So it sort of - I think it just magnifies either side of your golf game, whether you're playing well, you can do great, and whether you're playing badly, it really - it frustrates you and it's hard to get out of that.

"But I've had my fair share of bad play here."

McIlroy, whose fame has seen him play with US President and keen golfer Donald Trump whom the Northern Irishman said hit the ball impressively for a 72-year-old, says he is looking to play more consistently.

Although he adjudges himself to have taken giant strides forward compared to the past 18 months - he failed to win a tournament in 2017.

"I just feel like it's been a little bit inconsistent," he said of his campaign so far.

"I've had some really good results and I've had three missed cuts, so it's been a bit up-and down where if I can just get my play a little bit more consistent and swing a little more consistently, that would be a step in the right direction."

McIlroy, who revealed in January he has a slight heart irregularity brought on after he suffered a bad viral infection in 2016, says the fame that has come with his brilliance on the course has taken some getting used to.

"Probably something I've grown to accept," he said.

"I dreamed of being a great golfer. I never dreamed of the other stuff.

"I feel very privileged that I'm in the position that I'm in and I can basically pursue my dream of being the best golfer in the world, and obviously that starts to cross over into different things.

"I never wanted to be famous. I wanted to be known for my golf and that was it."

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