Sport Golf

Friday 20 July 2018

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

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport