McIlroy Believes Form Is Good Enough To Double Current Victory Total

Rory McIlroy, WM Phoenix Open,Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Rory McIlroy, WM Phoenix Open,Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports /

"“I feel like, consistency-wise, I’ve been as good as I have been ever in my career.” – Rory McIlroy"

“I said at the end of last year, I feel like as complete of a player as I ever have.” Rory McIlroy said at the WM Phoenix Open.

It’s hard to argue with a guy who is currently No. 1 in the world.

In addition, McIlroy’s not known as a bragger, so he’s speaking based on his results, his stats, and his play.

While many players have been No. 1 recently, Rory McIlroy is currently at the top spot, a place he’s owned for 107 weeks off and on since March of 2012.  He most recently took over the No. 1 position in October of 2022, after winning the CJ Cup.

Because he’s been there before, he knows what it takes to get there, and he’s willing to work to stay there. His stat categories, he believes, don’t have big deficiencies.

Last season, Rory McIlroy had three victories on the PGA Tour.

He won the 2021 CJ Cup, the 2022 Canadian Open, and the 2022 Tour Championship. He also won the season-long FedEx Cup.

"“I think the results speak for themselves, as well, over not just the past six months but really the past 18 months post-Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits,” Rory McIlroy said about his recent results."

“I can sit here and say I want to win six times this year and I want to win the Masters, and I want to win whatever,” he said. “Of course, everyone wants to do that. But what helps me get to that point?”

For him, it’s improving the parts of his game where he’s not at the top statistically.  In addition, this week, he changed out a couple of clubs.

He has gone back to the TaylorMade p760 3- and 4-irons because he said it gives him “a bit more extra flight into the par-5s.”

Rory McIlroy noted that newer clubs, those made after the p760s,  have a longer blade length.

“I feel like the toe just wants to close over on me a little,” he added about playing the newer long irons. “I’ve played those 760s before, and they’ve worked really well.”

As this is his first PGA Tour event since the CJ Cup, which he won, there is only one PGA Tour event for 2023 that can be used to compare stats. So, using the previous season makes more sense.

For last season, his total strokes gained number was 2.115, and he was in first place. He had the best-adjusted scoring average on the PGA Tour of 68.67. And he was fourth in actual scoring average with a number of 68.90.

He was third in strokes gained off the tee and second in driving distance. McIlroy was 14th in strokes gained approach and 12th in greens in regulation with a 69.91 percentage. He was also 12th in sand saves.

When it comes to putting, he was 16th in strokes gained with a number of .495, and his putting average was 1.739.

The goals of winning certain tournaments are what he calls outcome goals.

"“What do you have to put in to give yourself a chance at those outcomes, and that’s the important thing.”"

So, for instance, if he’s 14th in strokes gained approach, how much more successful would he become if he could shave that number in half and be 7th?   Those are the kinds of improvements he may be thinking about making, although he has not been specific as to what he is working on now.

One interesting stat is that his putts per round ranking is significantly higher in rounds 3 and 4 than in rounds 1 and 2. So that would be another area where he might improve.  For the 2021-2022 season, in round 1 he was ranked 2nd in putts per round.  For round 2, it was 48th. For round 3, it was 162nd, and for round 4, 104th.

It was at the recent Ryder Cup that he had kind of a crisis of confidence in his game.  Europe was defeated by the U.S. Team, and McIlroy seemed to be devastated by the loss. Since that time, he has rededicated himself to game improvement, and it appears to be working.

Two weeks ago, he won the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, but that was not a PGA Tour event, and therefore, there are no ShotLink stats to review.

"“I think the results speak for themselves, as well, over not just the past six months but really the past 18 months post-Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, I feel like I’ve been on a really good run of form since then.”"

Of course, Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler may have something to do with whether McIlroy stays at the top.

As Scheffler said this week, “I like being No. 1 in the world. I don’t like being No. 2.”

Jon Rahm has already gone on record saying he thinks the world rankings are wrong.

McIlroy, though, believes his best days may still be ahead of him.

“I’ve won 30 whatever times around the world as a professional,” he said. “There’s no reason that I can’t double that number going forward. Like I truly believe that.”

Next. Stewart Cink rocks Kevin Durant Jersey at WM Phoenix Open. dark

Rory McIlroy   Weeks at Number 1  Ranking Dates 

Total Weeks: 104

  • February 27, 2012 – March 5, 2012
  • April 9, 2012 – April 16, 2012
  • April 30, 2012 – May 14, 2012
  • August 6, 2012 – March 18, 2013
  • August 4, 2014 – August 10, 2015
  • August 31, 2015 – August 31, 2015
  • September 14, 2015 – September 14, 2015
  • February 10, 2020 – July 13, 2020
  • October 24, 2022 – February 6, 2023