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Rory McIlroy: Global warming bigger than knocking Brooks Koepka off world No 1 spot


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Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka

Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka

Getty Images

Rory McIlroy. Photo: Getty Images

Rory McIlroy. Photo: Getty Images

Getty Images

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Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka

Rory McIlroy insists he got no extra satisfaction from knocking Brooks Koepka off the top of the world rankings this week.

Four-time Major winner Koepka appeared to dismiss the Co Down star as a serious rival last season because he hadn't won a major during the five years he'd been on the PGA Tour.

"Not really," McIlroy said when asked if it gave him any extra pleasure to overtake the Floridian. "Brooks has been phenomenal the last few years.

"Even before he won the US Open at Erin Hills, he won at Phoenix, he was doing well on the European Tour, and he went on a fantastic run, winning four Majors in three years. So no, it doesn't.

"Golf isn't about the other person. Golf is about yourself. And getting the best out of what you have."

Tournament host Woods is the star attraction at Riviera, where he is hoping to end his winless streak and break Sam Snead's record of 82 PGA Tour wins.

McIlroy (30) admitted holding off Woods to become world No 1 for the first time as a 22-year-old is the only time he's been euphoric about getting to the top of the rankings.

"I have already had that euphoric moment in 2012," he said. "I won the Honda Classic to get to No 1. Tiger was coming down the stretch, I was able to hold him off. That to me was the really cool moment."

As for the distance debate in golf and talk of two sets of rules - one for amateurs and one for the tour stars - McIlroy believes the R&A and the USGA are right to worry about golf's impact on the environment. He said: "I think the biggest thing that came out of the report for me, the ball going too far and technology, it really pertains to 0.1 per cent of golfers out there. If they want to try to contain what we do as touring professionals, I am all for that.

"But one of the best things was the sustainability aspect… building golf courses on these massive pieces of land, having to use all this water, pesticides, all this stuff we shouldn't be doing, especially with everything that's happening to our world.

"Look at Australia and the fires here in this state and global warming. Golf has a responsibility to minimise its footprint."

In amateur golf, Hermitage's Rowan Lester fired a three-under 69 to go into the final round of the South African Amateur Stroke Play just four shots behind leader Casey Jarvis on 14-under par.

Dundalk's Caolan Rafferty shot 65 to move up to fourth on 10-under with James Sugrue 10th on eight-under after a 72. Holywood's Tom McKibbin scorched into the top 20 on six-under after making an eagle and nine birdies in a sensational 64.

In the Portuguese Amateur Open, Castle's Robert Moran and Waterford's Eanna Griffin are a shot off the lead after opening with four-under 68s.

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Irish Independent