Rory McIlroy looks to be in fine form in his first outing since the Masters last month.
Comments concerning that very tournament raised some eyebrows as the Ulsterman spoke ahead of this week’s Wells Fargo Championship, an event which represented his first win on the PGA Tour back in 2010.
Rory was three shots off the lead in second place heading into the final round of the season’s first major – the only one to-date he has yet to win. He birdied the first hole on Sunday, as leader Patrick Reed made bogey.
A par for Reed on the par five second hole was juxtaposed with the four foot putt that McIlroy had left for eagle to tie atop the leaderboard with 16 holes remaining. The 28-year-old missed the putt, and never quite recovered, finishing in a tie for fifth.
McIlroy spoke of his gloom post-Augusta, as wine and self-help books became a crutch in the following days. It was his apparent dismissal of both the US Open and the Open Championship that garnered headlines, however.
“I don’t care about the US Open or the Open Championship”, he declared about the events he won in 2011 and 2014 respectively.
“The Masters has now become the biggest golf tournament in the world and I am comfortable saying that. It is the biggest golf tournament in the world; the most amount of eyeballs; the most amount of hype; the most everything is at Augusta. To me, it is the most special tournament that we play and the one everyone desperately wants to win.”
Despite his obvious desire to wear the green jacket, the Holywood man is adamant that it’s not motivated by the possibility of the much vaunted Grand Slam.
“It’s tough to win. And I thought Patrick (Reed) did a fantastic job on Sunday holding it together because he didn’t have his best stuff. He made a couple of key putts coming in which really helped him. I don’t think about the Grand Slam and what that means. For me, it’s about being able to go and use the champions’ locker room and all the other cool stuff that comes along with it.”
Whether he cares about this week’s event or not is immaterial, as at the time of writing, McIlroy holds an early share of the lead at -3.
Three birdies in his first six holes (starting on the back nine) saw McIlroy show no signs of rust after almost a month out of action.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 3, 2018
Following a bogey on 18, his approach to the par 4 second hole got to within ten feet, with McIlroy sinking the putt for his fourth birdie.