After a disappointing couple of months inside the ropes, Rory McIlroy feels ready to rediscover the dominant form that saw him perched at the summit of the Official World Golf Ranking earlier this year, starting at this week’s WGC – Bridgestone Invitational.
McIlroy is the first to admit his disappointment at recent performances since his title defence at the US Open, but the Northern Irishman rightly refuses to indulge in any talk of a ‘crisis’ in his game.
The 23 year old instead points to his phenomenal level of performance since making his Major breakthrough at Congressional Country Club last year. After winning the US Open, McIlroy won three times to get to World Number One on three separate occasions, before Luke Donald resumed the mantle with his successful title defence at the BMW PGA Championship.
As McIlroy highlights, he was on top of the world two months ago so any talk of a crisis is fairly wide of the mark.
He does acknowledge that is time to get back in contention, though, and where better to begin than the Firestone Country Club, a venue that he holds close to his heart and where he has performed well in his last two outings with tied ninth and tied sixth place finishes in the last two years.
“I'd love to just get into contention and just feel the buzz of having a chance to win a tournament coming down the back nine,” he said.
“That feeling is quite addictive and it's a great feeling, so I'd love to be able to do that at some point in the next few weeks. I feel like I'm doing enough work and I'm putting in the effort to try and do that.
“I think after winning the US Open the expectations on me were definitely heightened. Whether they were unrealistic or not, I'm not too sure. I mean, I have high expectations of myself, and I feel like for the 12 months after Congressional I've played some really good golf. I got to Number One in the world at a couple of points and won three tournaments.
“So I feel like the golf I've played since has been pretty good. I'm not going to be able to play golf like I played at Congressional every week. I think everyone knows that. But it would be great to be able to play like that maybe a couple weeks a year.
“I haven’t played great over the past couple of months and that has been frustrating but you cannot be in contention every week: it’s just not possible. My game has been a little bit off for a couple of months but I have been trying hard to get it back to where it was and I do feel that I am getting close to that.
“Being here this week really helps. This is a great place to come and do some work. I like the practice facility because everything is so close, and you've got the range, the short game area, the putting green, as well. The thing about the range, it just gives you nice targets to hit at. It's got good target greens and great turf, and it's just one of those ranges where I just feel like I could spend all day on.
“I love this event. I think it's one of the best events we play all year and definitely one of the best courses. It's now just about going out there and putting a score on the card, and if I can do that, then it would be nice to play well here this week and go into the PGA with a good finish behind me.”