Miami (AFP) – Rory McIlroy is aiming to bounce back from a disheartening Masters finish when he tees it up this week at the PGA Wells Fargo Championship, where the Northern Ireland star is a two-time winner.
McIlroy, who turns 29 on Friday, admitted it took him awhile to “decompress” after his latest Masters miss — a tie for fifth after he’d gone out in the final pairing on Sunday only to fire a two-over 74 and fall short again in his bid to complete a career Grand Slam.
It wasn’t the horror show of 2011, when McIlroy took a four-shot lead into the final round and carded an 80.
But he was unable to apply any real pressure to eventual winner Patrick Reed.
“I was disappointed because I just didn’t give a good account of myself the last day,” McIlroy said. “I was sort of holding it together, and then, obviously, under the pressure of Sunday trying to chase Patrick down it just never quite clicked for me. It was disappointing that’s the way the week finished.”
McIlroy said that after he’d binge watched a couple of TV shows, read a couple of books and drunk a few bottles of wine his wife, Erica, finally “dragged” him out of the house.
“Once I sort of got back into my routine, I was fine,” said McIlroy, whose appetite for a first green jacket has only intensified.
“The Masters has become the biggest golf tournament in the world, and I’m comfortable saying that,” he said. “I don’t care about the US Open or the Open Championship, it’s the biggest tournament in the world. It is the most amount of eyeballs, the most amount of hype, the most amount of everything is at Augusta.”
It will be 11 months before McIlroy gets another crack at Augusta National, and in the meantime he’s happy to be back at the Quail Hollow Golf Course in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he won his first US PGA Tour title in 2010 and won again in 2015.
“It’s always nice to come back to a golf course and an event where you’ve played well before and you have some really good memories,” said McIlroy, who has six top-10 finishes at Quail Hollow in eight appearances.
“I’ve always enjoyed the golf course through the different variations of it from 2010 all the way up until now,” McIlroy said. “I’ve played it well. It’s one of those golf courses that sets up well for me. It fits my eye and I feel like I can play my game around here.”