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McIlroy coming off win but still searching at Kiawah Island


KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — For Rory McIlroy, successful did not maintain every little thing.

McIlroy missed the reduce at The Players Championship, then admitted he messed up his swing making an attempt to maintain up with long-hitting Bryson DeChambeau. Another missed reduce adopted at the Masters and McIlroy fell to fifteenth on the earth, his worst rating in additional than a decade.

Three weeks later, he showed up at Quail Hollow and won. His first victory in 18 months was sufficient to make him the betting favourite at this week’s PGA Championship, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, but McIlroy’s latest struggles stay recent in his thoughts.

“It was a great sort of validation that I’m working on the right things, but it was just a step in the process,” McIlroy mentioned Tuesday.

“I want to get better. I want my game to get better. I want to become more consistent,” he added. “It was nice to see some results pretty early on. But I feel like there’s still a long way to go.”

Returning to Kiawah Island, the place McIlroy received the primary of his two PGA Championships 9 years in the past, does not essentially fill him with confidence, both. With the PGA’s transfer from August to May, the Ocean Course is firmer, windier and fewer forgiving this time round.

McIlroy, too, has modified. He still had curly hair spilling out of his cap and roundness in his cheeks when he bounded his option to an ebullient eight-shot victory in 2012. Now he is 32, a married father with flecks of grey in his close-cropped hair and a taut, wiry body.

“Yeah, everything has changed, really,” McIlroy mentioned. “I feel like I’m a completely different person.”

Case in level: McIlroy’s celebration, or lack thereof, after he received the Wells Fargo Championship. He might have been any dad getting back from an extended day at the workplace.

“I got on the plane at about 7:45 on Sunday night, got home probably around 10 o’clock, put (daughter) Poppy to bed, and I took a shower and went to bed myself,” McIlroy mentioned. “I was exhausted.”

McIlroy’s latest search to recuperate his type led him so as to add swing coach Pete Cowen to his staff and have some lengthy chats with sports activities psychologist Bob Rotella. Asked what he was searching for from Rotella, McIlroy quipped, “a lobotomy.”

“Look, it’s nothing that I haven’t heard before, but Bob just puts it in a way that is so simple and can make you laugh,” McIlroy mentioned of the casual remedy periods. “We’re in contact every week, and I really value his input.”

The work paid off at Quail Hollow and put McIlroy again close to the highest of a sport that, for now, lacks a dominant participant. He is No. 7 on the earth. Four of the gamers above him have one victory apiece this yr, and No. 3 Jon Rahm and No. 4 Xander Schauffele are winless. The hottest huge identify in golf is Jordan Spieth, who dipped to 92nd on the earth in January but since then has a win and 6 different top-10 finishes in 9 begins.

McIlroy will play Thursday and Friday with one other two-time PGA champion, Brooks Koepka, who’s still recovering from knee surgery two months in the past. McIlroy and Koepka every have 4 main titles — trailing solely 50-year-old Phil Mickelson, who has 5, within the 156-man subject.

McIlroy obtained his second main out of the way in which early. When he was requested what that meant to him, he spied Justin Thomas, whose solely main got here at the 2017 PGA and who was awaiting his flip at the rostrum.

“A lot of guys have won one major, but it’s a big hurdle to get the second,” McIlroy mentioned, his eyes fastened on his good friend as he sharpened the needle. “I definitely didn’t want to be stuck on one for a long time, so happy to get that second.”

Given a possibility to rib McIlroy in response, Thomas was light.

“I can’t really say too much, other than it’s great to see him win. I know it’s been a long time for him,” Thomas mentioned. “I don’t really want to egg him on, because usually when he wins he likes to reel some off, and with a lot of big tournaments coming up I don’t really want to poke the bear.”

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Follow Ben Nuckols at https://twitter.com/APBenNuckols

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More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



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