Rory McIlroy recorded his worst finish of the PGA Tour season last week. That comes with a couple noteworthy asterisks, though.
For one, it shows how well he’s been playing when T-32nd (73-67-70-70) at the WM Phoenix Open is your poorest result. Secondly, it was just his second appearance at TPC Scottsdale and the first in three years.
His chances of winning the tournament were all but shot after an opening 2-over 73, but he fought back well to safely make the cut and beat half of the field on the weekend.
He has the benefit of coming to a more familiar venue this week.
Rory at Riviera has produced five made cuts in six tries, all of which finished in the top 20.
He’s yet to win the Genesis Invitational, but he has two top-fives and another top-10. The Northern Irishman’s top result here was T-4th in 2019 when he roared back from an opening 72 to finish 63-69-69.
“It’s a golf course where … there’s no hazards to really hit it in. You can’t really lose a ball unless you’re Phil,” McIlroy joked in a 2020 transcription by Tee Scripts.
"“It’s sort of one of these where if you hit it offline, you’re going to get it and you’re going to have a chance to recover and use your short game and get away with a par and move on to the next hole. So I think that’s why. That’s the beauty about Riviera, you don’t necessarily have to have your best as long as your manage your game well, you’re always going to be in there with a chance.”"
McIlroy’s won on two tours in the last four months. In October, he moved back to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking by beating a great field at the CJ Cup.
Thanks in part to a win in January at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, he stayed atop that perch until last week when Scottie Scheffler won to reclaim the spot.
Statistically, he’s coming off one of his best-ever seasons on the PGA Tour. McIlroy led in total strokes gained per round (2.115) and scoring average (68.67).
Pertinent to this week, he was ninth in average approach proximity from 175-200 yards (30’6”).