GOLF

McIlroy frustrated by erratic form

An up-and-down season has left the world's No.4 with just the year's final major, the PGA Championship to make amends.

McIlroy frustrated by erratic form
STUART FRANKLIN AFP

Rory McIlroy is running out of patience with an up-and-down season and running out of time to do something about it as the year's final major, the PGA Championship, starts on Thursday.

The 27-year-old world number 4 from Northern Ireland likes his form and the par-70 Baltusrol layout, and he won PGA crowns in 2012 and 2014. But a season of frustration is catching up with him.

“There have been times where I got a little bit of momentum and then got set back a little bit”, McIlroy told reporters on Tuesday. “I'm trying to stay as positive as I can. I am positive because my game is in good shape. But I guess just maybe running out of patience a little bit trying to make it happen. Trying to get better and trying to get my name in the mix, and hopefully I can do that this week”.

He led at Doral but blew a three-shot lead in the final round to finish two strokes back. He was in Sunday's final group at the Masters but never made a birdie, a victim of the tension of trying to complete a career Grand Slam. McIlroy, whose major trophy haul also includes the 2014 British Open and 2011 US Open, will have an extended wait to ease his frustrations if he does not come through for a third Wanamaker Trophy.

“A grade this year? I'd say like a B- maybe, B. It's OK. I could change that into an A-plus on Sunday”, he said. “I want to give it my all to get in the mix and try to win another one of these things before I have to wait another eight months to get another opportunity at Augusta next year”.

Adding motivation for McIlroy are the low scores being posted by major winners lately, 20-under pars by Jason Day at the 2015 PGA Championship and Henrik Stenson at the British Open two weeks ago.

“Any time you walk away from a big tournament and you haven't lifted a trophy, it's going to motivate you, especially when you see the guys winning,' McIlroy explained, adding, “Sometimes you think that should be me and it gives you a bit of a kick in the ass to get out there and go practice”.

The player sees his maximum success rate as a major each year even with deep fields and no major title in nearly two years. “Yeah, I think it is realistic. I really do. If you can win one of the four every year, if you're that good, you can do it. I think it is achievable. That's what you're trying to get to. It's hard. I guess '11, '12, '13, '14, in that stretch of four years, I averaged a major a year. So there's no reason to think that I can't do that for the foreseeable future. That's what my benchmark is and I feel like I can attain that. I have to play my best golf, and sometimes it's hard to come up with your best golf each and every week. But I definitely think it's attainable”.

McIlroy was pleased to see the Irish Open, the only event he has won this year, given a European Tour slot in front of the Scottish Open and two weeks ahead of the British Open, where he shared fifth two weeks ago. “I played pretty well throughout the week. I felt like I handled the conditions pretty well that I had to play in.

"Conditions like at Baltusrol, it's more of my type of golf. I feel like I can really do well this week. My game is in good shape. I'm swinging it well. I'm hitting it good. Combine that with the layout of the golf course and I feel like this is my best chance this year to win a major”.