Sunday 20 October 2019

'Consistent' McIlroy happy to wait his turn to win again

Rory McIlroy. Photo: USA TODAY Sports
Rory McIlroy. Photo: USA TODAY Sports

Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy has found a new way to ease the pressure on his shoulders as he counts down to the Masters and his fifth attempt to complete the career Grand Slam.

With just one win in his last 49 starts worldwide, patience has become his mantra. So when asked if dealing with the pressure to win that elusive green jacket becomes more difficult with each passing year, McIlroy shook his head and somewhat bizarrely compared himself to Abraham Lincoln.

"No, I've become more comfortable with it," McIlroy said ahead of his defence the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, where he ended an 18-month winless streak last year.

"I mean the extra stress that I put myself under that first couple of years, 2015 and 2016, I've become more comfortable with it.

"I guess I've become a lot more comfortable with the fact that I'm going to fail more times than I succeed at that certain conquest or whatever you want to call it.

"So I've become comfortable with the fact I've tried four times, and I've failed. But Abraham Lincoln lost the first 13 elections he was ever in. He wound up being the President of the United States. So I've still got a bit of time."

After starting the season with four successive top-five finishes, McIlroy is not stressing about that fact that he has won just once in his last 49 starts worldwide compared to 10 wins in his previous 50.

Comfortable

"I think I'm more comfortable playing the sort of golf I'm playing right now where I'm consistent and just waiting for any given week where it is my turn to win," he said.

"If someone were to tell me you have to go through 12 or 18 months or 24 months of this but come out the other side of it, and you will have those five-win seasons, six-win seasons, it will have been worth it."

As for the thought of joining Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as just the sixth man to complete the career Grand Slam, he doesn't just want to join that elite group himself, he wants Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson to join it too.

"How good would it be this year if Jordan won the PGA and Phil won the US Open, and I won Augusta and three others are put into that?" he wondered. "I mean, how good would that be for golf?"

Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry will tee it up together at Bay Hill as Gavin Moynihan flies the flag as the lone Irishman in the Qatar Masters and Leona Maguire makes her 2019 Symetra Tour debut in the SKYiGOLF Championship.

Qatar Masters, Live, Sky Sports, 7.30am Arnold Palmer Invitational, Live, Sky Sports, 7.0pm

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