Five things that can stop Rory McIlroy winning the USPGA
Published 06/08/2014 | 11:00
Rory McIlroy goes into this week's USPGA as overwhelming favourite following back-to-back victories in the Brittish Open and Bridgestone Invitational.
The Irishman is aiming to capture his fourth Major at Valhalla and along with a very strong field, there are other obstacles that may hinder his success.
1: A dodgy alarm clock
The Irishman was due to face Keegan Bradley at precisely 11.26 at Medinah on the final day of the Ryder Cup two years ago.
McIlroy didn’t arrive at the course until 11.15 before rushing to the putting green for a couple of practice putts and teeing off in a match he ended up winning.
He would later cite mistaking time zones while Jose Maria Olazabal presented him with a giant alarm clock which sparked plenty of laughter.
Still, McIlroy certainly won’t be laughing if he makes the same mistake again, particularly if he loses.
2: Rekindling his romance with Caroline Wozniacki
McIlroy wasn’t right on the course for long periods since his last Major win in 2012.
In fact, the Holywood star failed to win a single tournament last year and had not won on the European Tour since he scooped the BMW Championship in September, 2012.
He split with tennis star Wozniacki and has since won the BMW Championship, US Open and Bridgestone Invitational.
It’s the scene of heartache for Europe from six years ago when Nick Faldo’s Europe were plundered in the Ryder Cup.
And although many holes will suit McIlroy and his strength, accuracy from the tee will be vital according to those who know the course best.
McIlroy has been driving the ball superbly but he pushed a couple to the right on his final round at Firestone and was lucky not to be punished, getting two breaks off the trees lining the fairways.
A few stray drives at Valhalla and McIlroy’s luck may run out.
4: Sergio Garcia
McIlroy is 5-1 overwhelming favourite to win his fourth Major but Garcia is another man in brilliant form going into Thursday’s starting round.
McIlroy’s British Open win was duly followed up with the Bridgestone Invitational success where Garcia's challenge was fended off on both occasions.
The Spaniard will be determined to make it third time lucky and will have learned from his mistakes, and Rory’s, at Hoylake and Firestone over the past fortnight.
5. The hype
He was quick to play it down yesterday, but no other golfer in the world comes close to McIlroy when it comes to filling column inches.
To many, he is now on the brink of dominating golf in the manner that Tiger Woods did for so many years.
"Sometimes I feel that people are too quick to jump to conclusions and jump on the bandwagon and jump on certain things,” said McIlroy this week.
It seems the Irishman is going about keeping his cool in the right way, but the increasing talk about him and being in the public eye 24-7, particularly in the week of a Major, is a big burden for those young shoulders.