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World number one, Rory Mcilroy, has struck fear into the rest of the golfing world by proclaiming that his best years are not behind him. The Nothern Irishman has won 32 professional events in his career to date but he believes he could double that tally in the years to come.
Mcilroy has had a strong start to 2023 and won his first event of the year two weeks ago in Dubai. He is now preparing to take part in the WM Phoenix Open, his first PGA Tour event since October, and is clearly in a confident mood ahead of the tournament starting today.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Mcilroy said:
“I’m playing well, I feel like consistency-wise I’ve been as good as I ever have been in my career. I said at the end of the last year I feel as complete a player as I ever have. If you look at my statistical categories, there are no real glaring weaknesses there, and I worked really hard on that to try to become a more well-rounded player.”
I think the results speak for themselves as well over, not just the past six months, but really the past 18 months post-Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. I feel like I’ve been on a really good run of form since then.”
The proof is in the pudding
To be fair to Mcilroy, his words are far from his hollow as the stats speak for themselves. He has two of his last three professional events and has finished inside the top four in his last seven events. It is thanks to these results that he has been able to establish himself as the world’s best golfer.
Mcilroy, who says he wouldn’t be playing if he thought “his best days weren’t ahead” of him, is all set for a huge week in Arizona with his world number-one status under threat. The other red-hot golfer on tour, Jon Rahm, is also in the field and knows that a tournament victory would likely see him replace Mcilroy at the top of the rankings.
Playing good. Feeling good. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/RgHwFNDQjU
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) February 8, 2023
Rahm has won two events already this year and can’t wait to get started in Pheonix. These thoughts have been echoed by Mcilroy who seems eager to get involved with the crowd in what is typically a very raucous tournament. He said:
“I’m looking forward to it this week but it’s going to be an experience. It’s such a fan favourite, and players like it, players love the atmosphere. I think a lot of players like the golf course, as well.
I think to have a golf tournament where most of the fans here aren’t here to watch the golf is a different environment, but it’s totally fine. If we’re talking about growing the game, that’s a way to do it.”
Eyes on the prize
With Mcilroy feeling like he is playing the best golf of his career, he must surely have his eyes on more major success this year. His last major came nine years ago at the PGA Championship but he is far too good a player to allow the drought to continue any longer.
If he could win one to win then it would surely be the Masters in April. It is the only major that has alluded him in his career so far and victory in Augusta would seal a career slam. Beyond the majors, Mcilroy will be looking to play a key role in Team Europe’s quest for Ryder Cup glory in September.