Friday 20 September 2019

McIlroy reveals Rooney boost to form


Rory McIlroy Photo: AP
Rory McIlroy Photo: AP

Phil Casey

Rory McIlroy has revealed the part that Wayne Rooney played in his brilliant victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a win which led to a surprisingly low-key celebration.

McIlroy carded a superb final round of 64 to triumph at Bay Hill, coincidentally his first title since the Tour Championship on September 25, 2016, the day seven-time Major winner Palmer died.

Much was made of the influence of a putting lesson earlier in the week from former Ryder Cup player Brad Faxon, but Everton forward Rooney also inadvertently played a part in McIlroy's best putting performance on the PGA Tour.

"We were talking about different sports and he (Faxon) was talking about a free-throw shooter in basketball," McIlroy (left) told a pre-tournament press conference ahead of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin.

"We were talking about triggers, about how do you start your putting stroke.

"Everyone has different ways and I said Wayne Rooney before he takes a free-kick or a penalty, he taps his toe on the ground before he actually starts his run-up. I noticed it when I shot a Nike commercial with him a few years ago."

Whether it was Faxon or Rooney who had the biggest effect, the result was a bogey-free final round featuring eight birdies, five of which came in the last six holes.

But asked how he celebrated his victory on Sunday evening, McIlroy added: "It was two glasses of wine and a big bowl of ice cream. And I watched the highlights but I fell asleep before the fireworks started on the 15th (where he chipped in for birdie)."

Irish Independent

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