Rory McIlroy knows the easiest way to upgrade a season he currently grades as B into an A – win the final Major of the year at Kiawah Island.
The Northern Irishman became World Number One for the first time in 2012 when he won the Honda Classic, but that remains his only victory of the campaign to date.
This week’s US PGA Championship is McIlroy’s final chance to add to his 2011 US Open Championship this year, and having failed to break the top 40 in the three preceding Majors this year, the 23 year old is eager to put in a good show.
“There were a few goals I set myself early at the start of the year,” he said. I achieved getting to Number One in the world and playing well, winning a tournament early.
“Then the second half of the season has been a little bit more of a struggle. I feel like I'm playing pretty well, so if I had to give my season a grade to this point, I'd probably give it a B. There's still a lot of golf left to play, but very happy with some of the golf that I've played this year. I've still got a lot of good golf to look forward to.
“I want to get in contention, give myself a chance to win on Sunday - that's all I can ask for. I can't sit up here and say a success would be to win or a top three or a top five. If I feel like I have a decent chance going into Sunday, that's all I can ask for.”
At last year’s US PGA McIlroy injured his wrist on the third hole when he struck a tree root, but the World Number Three expects the challenges at Kiawah Island to be more mental than physical.
“It's a long golf course, a big golf course,” he added. “It's a golf course you not only have to hit it well, but you really have to think about what you're doing out there. You really have to pick your spots where you want to hit it, and obviously with the weather the way it's been this week, that's going to play a pretty big factor, too.
“I like what I see. I think the course is in phenomenal shape, and I love the greens. I love the paspalum; I think the ball rolls really, really well, so I'm looking forward to the week.
“I think most Pete Dye courses are mental challenges more than physical. Even though this is a very long golf course, mentally you've really got to be on the top of your game. And if the wind and the rain comes, it's obviously going to be more about how you mentally approach that than physically.
“The Bear's Club actually have paspalum and we practice on paspalum all the time - me, Luke [Donald], Keegan [Bradley] and Dustin [Johnson]. It's something we are quite used to and something I was talking to Luke about yesterday, something that the guys that are members of the Bear's Club might have an advantage because we are used to how it reacts and we practice on that stuff on our off weeks, so it's actually quite nice.”