Golf

Rory McIlroy dismisses 'Rory era' claims

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Rory McIlroy may have recently won back-to-back tournaments, which happened to be the Open Championship and a maiden WGC win, but the Northern Irishman is remaining humble among talk of the berth of new 'Rory era' in golf. 

Speaking ahead of this week's US PGA Championship at Valhalla, the season's final Major that annually attracts a stellar cast of elite golfers, the 25 year old reflected on his recent triumphs with a typically McIlroy-like sense of perspective.

Great run

"I've had a great run and I've played well over the past few months," the triple-Major champion told at packed press conference in Louisville. 

“I said at the start of the year that golf was looking for someone to put their hand up and become one of the dominant players in the game.

"I felt like I had the ability to do that and it's just nice to be able to win a few tournaments and get back to where I feel like I should be, which is near the top of the world rankings and competing in Majors and winning golf tournaments.

"I'm not necessarily sure you can call that an era or the start of an era, but I'm just really happy with where my golf game is at the minute and I just want to try and continue that for as long as possible."

Woods era

It's a different approach to the one taken by Tiger Woods all those years ago in the late 90s, who openly proclaimed his goal was to be the all-time leading Major winner, eclipsing the 18 won by Jack Nicklaus  

Hindsight is a beautiful thing, as McIlroy is finding right now with Woods struggling to add the his 14 titles amid a growing pressure-cooker of endless questions of whether he will ever add to a total that was last topped up over six years ago now. 

You can tell he has clearly learned from Woods - a man he admits was his hero growing up.

When you set the bar so high - as the Man in Red has done throughout his career- when the wins dry up, the questions begin to flow until they form an estuary of intense pressure. Woods is suffering for that right now because of the standards he set of himself. To suggest he is a victim of his own success, however, would be insulting; he is a billionaire sportsman, after all.

When he's had a crucial putt in a Major championship over the last six years, though, there is doubt in his mind - no question. Far more so than there was when he was knee-deep in the Tiger era, reeling off wins on a conveyor belt of success. 

Don't read all about it

But that era is gone. Never to emerge again? Who can really say that? Not even McIlroy can - and so his assertion pre-tournament this week that his recent victories are no sign of the beginning of the 'Rory era' is a smart, shrewd move - even if it is an obvious one. 

"People can say what they want to say, that's fine. But I can't read too much into it," he added. 

"Sometimes I feel that people are too quick to jump to conclusions and jump on the bandwagon and jump on certain things.”

That happens rather frequently in golf, but the ever-changing face of the game means that is inevitably going to happen. Not many sports can offer the competitiveness that golf does. Remember Martin Kaymer's US Open victory, coupled with his Players win?

Yeah, that happened this year - but you can be forgiven for letting it slip your mind given his struggles (he missed the cut in his next event) since he blew the field away at Pinehurst No.2. 

So McIlroy, a man who's now won 13 times worldwide, is right to err on the side of caution when it comes to hailing the dawn of a new era… especially if it has his name in front of it.

 

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Topics:
Rory McIlroy
PGA Tour
Golf
Tiger Woods

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