Sport Golf

Saturday 16 February 2019

Rory: I have renewed my focus and dedication

Rory McIlroy has drawn some of the richest dividends since dedicating himself completely to his sport after terminating his engagement to Caroline Wozniacki in May. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy has drawn some of the richest dividends since dedicating himself completely to his sport after terminating his engagement to Caroline Wozniacki in May. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Karl MacGinty

Rory McIlroy went straight back to work at Valhalla yesterday, driven on by his relentless appetite for further Major championship glory at this week's US PGA.

Satisfying himself with just one night of celebration following his first World Golf Championship victory at Firestone and his reinstatement as No 1 player on the planet, McIlroy touched down in Louisville, Kentucky, and immediately hit the golf course.

McIlroy had never before played Valhalla but this course suits his power game to a tee and with back-to-back victories in the Open and the Bridgestone Invitational on his last two outings, few people in Kentucky are betting against a phenomenal hat-trick next weekend.

The 25-year-old has drawn some of the richest dividends golf can offer since rededicating himself completely to his sport after terminating his engagement to Caroline Wozniacki in May.

Within days, he won Europe's showpiece BMW PGA Championship, then six weeks later picked up the most prestigious trophy in golf, the Claret Jug.

Asked to explained this sensational surge back to the top of the world game, he said: "Just putting golf first, I guess, and really dedicating my whole time and everything I have into my career.

REWARDS

"I've worked, I have worked extremely hard and I'm reaping the rewards of it now. I just feel like I've just had this renewed focus and dedication, and it seems just to be paying off."

McIlroy landed his 14th career win as a professional on Sunday and boosted his on-course winnings to €32,679,762, a whopping figure which still is a mere fraction of his earnings from sponsorship and endorsements off the course, including that $20m-per-annum deal with Nike.

Though he has banked €3.2m in prizemoney in two months since Wentworth, his appetite is far from sated. "My goal now until the end of the year is just to try to win as many golf tournaments as I can."

The mantle of world No 1 will not be a burden after spending a total of 39 weeks in that exalted position in 2012 and early 2013 before it was taken back by Tiger Woods.

The key to living at No 1 is, he said: "Not to think about it too much. Not to feel like you're going defending every week or defending it all the time. Just to go out and play.

"It's a nice honour, a nice title to have but you don't go into tournaments thinking 'this guy could pass me if I don't finish in this position'. I think you just go and you play and you try to win and if you do that, the ranking takes care of itself."

McIlroy certainly has the confidence to stay on the victory trail.

"The way I'm playing, there's a few left in me this year."

Irish Independent

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