Rory McIlroy looked awfully impressive the last time he was at TPC Harding Park. Can he recreate the magic with his game in lesser shape?
The Northern Irishman was the top seed at the 2015 WGC-Match Play and played like it. McIlroy went 3-0 in pool play and stormed through the 16-man bracket to beat Gary Woodland in the finals.
“…as soon as I played the course, I liked it,” McIlroy was quoted by ASAP Sports in 2015. “ It’s a fair test of golf. You get rewarded for good shots. It suited my eye. I like big trees that frame holes and you’ve got a lot of definition to work the ball off stuff. I really enjoyed the golf course this week and enjoyed it as a whole.”
The bigger storyline this week will be McIlroy’s current form.
He’s without a top-10 in five starts since quarantine, halting momentum from what was a stellar 2019-2020 season.
McIlroy won the 2019 WGC-HSBC Champions and recorded five more top-fives.
In his defense, he has made all four of his cuts and T-41st or better each time in the last month and a half. He’s just missing the magic late in the tournament. McIlroy ranks 125th in round 4 scoring and is top 20 and two or more strokes better the three other days.
Fortunately, the 31-year-old has a lot of good memories he can recall. Rory’s a four-time major champion including at the 2014 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. It’s crazy to think that was his last major.
Since then he’s got 10 top-10s in 19 starts. He’s made 36 cuts in 45 majors with 16 top-10s.
McIlroy ranks third on Tour in scoring average (69.016). He’s fifth in SG tee to green (1.499) and has been striking the ball pretty well. If he can get the putter going (98th SG, .096), he’ll be back to his old ways quickly.