Rory McIlroy's epic year comes full circle
It is week four of five on the spin and no sign yet of the train that is Rory McIlroy running out of steam.
A round of golf with a card in his hand is almost a day off for the world No 1 in this frenetic phase of sponsor engagements and dinner shows, and so it was with a sense of relief that he headed off last night to prepare for his defence of the BMW PGA Championship.
Yesterday he walked with football royalty, Paul Scholes, his footman, Phil Neville and boy band Narcissus, Niall -wrong direction - Horan around Wentworth, which, judging by the arboreal nature of the landing zones, must have made the hard yards of the West Course even tougher to bear.
"Fore right, fore left," has the making of a song title or maybe a book should young Niall fancy a literary detour to spell out his love of golf. Scholes, hitting out of a crouch, has the back swing of an 80-year-old, but gets through the ball as he used to on the football pitch, and goes at flags as if they were goals.
The less said about Neville the better. A competent footballer and a good enough cricketer to interest Lancashire in his youth, Neville is fighting the disappointment of not being as good at golf as he thinks he should be.
McIlroy stood imperious amid the topped shots and shanks, quietly using the day to remind himself of the lines to take when the whistle blows for real. His drive at the last was as good as any he has hit all year, and that is saying something, sailing over the trees down the right to take the dog-leg out of the equation.
He did not bother hitting the second. What's another short iron into a green he knows like the back of his hand? This, of course, is where it all started to go right a year ago following the shock disclosure of his split from fiancée Caroline Wozniacki. With the smoke from the burning wedding invitations still in his nostrils, McIlroy went on to post one of his great come-from-behind victories.
"This is what kick-started everything, really. This win, it gave me a lot of confidence to go on and do what I did (back-to-back Majors at the Open, US PGA). I feel OK. I'll try to rest up again tonight and make sure I'm fresh and ready to go tomorrow." (© Daily Telegraph, London)
BMW PGA Championship,
Live, Sky Sports 4, 10.00am
Crowne Plaza Invitational,
Live, Sky Sports 4, 9.00pm