Rory McIlroy may need to make up three strokes against Patrick Reed in the final round of the Masters, but he’s not worried. McIlroy says that all the pressure is on Reed entering Sunday’s final round.
“This is my first final group here since 2011 and I feel like I learned an awful lot from that day. Hopefully all that I did learn seven years ago I can put into practice. So I’m really excited to go out there, show everyone what I got, show Patrick Reed what I’ve got. All the pressure’s on him tomorrow. He went to August State, he’s got a lot of support here. I’m hoping to come in and spoil the party,” McIlroy told CBS after his round on Saturday.
McIlroy shot a 7-under 65, tying with Rickie Fowler for the low score of the day. He’s 11 under for the tournament after shooting a 69 in the first round and 71 in the second round before Saturday’s 65. He’s certainly well within range of being able to take home his first green jacket.
The 28-year-old has won three of the four majors and just needs the Masters to complete the career grand slam. His best career finish at the Masters was when he was fourth in 2015. In 2011, he entered the final round as the leader but bombed on Sunday and finished tied for 15th. Reed has not won a major during his career.
McIlroy charged forward on Saturday at Augusta, having come into the day at 4-under-par, five back of Patrick Reed, who led the field through 36 holes. McIlroy erased that deficit within the first eight holes of play on day three, moving into a share of the lead with an eagle on No. 8.
With Tiger Woods struggling to stay healthy over the past several years and not winning a major since 2008, you could make the argument that Jordan Spieth has become the most popular player on the PGA Tour. Even if that is the case, Rory McIlroy does not think the 24-year-old gets enough credit for how good he is.
In a recent sit-down with Paul Kimmage of the Irish Independent, McIlroy and Padraig Harrigton had extremely high praise for Spieth. The conversation began when Harrington suggested Spieth’s buddies — like Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas — should be paying Jordan a retainer because they have the privilege of getting to golf with him in their free time.
“They are all much better golfers because of Jordan Spieth,” Harrington said.
McIlroy seemed to agree.
“I had a chat with Brandt Snedeker last night and we both said it: ‘Jordan Spieth is the most underrated player in the game,'” he said. “When you look at what he’s done, and what he’s achieved, but all you hear are negatives. … ‘He doesn’t have this and he doesn’t have that.'”
Spieth has already won three major championships, and he’ll play in three more before his 25th birthday. He has won the Masters once and finished as the runner up two times. The only win he needs to complete the career grand slam is the PGA Championship, and he finished second there in 2015.
McIlroy is considered by many to be golf’s next greatest thing, but he has only one more major win than Spieth and is more than four years older than him. A chart shared by Kyle Porter of CBSSports.com shows how both McIlroy and Spieth are tracking right along with Phil Mickelson in terms of career wins per tournament played. Woods remains in his own stratosphere, but that will probably never change.
Spieth has been criticized for some pace of play issues, most notably with the disaster of a situation during the final round of his win at the Open Championship last year. But you could argue that he gets plenty of credit for how good he is, so it says a lot that McIlroy thinks he’s underrated.
McIlroy and Wozniacki dated from 2011-2014 until Rory called off their engagement, saying he realized he wasn’t ready for it. The topic of their breakup continued to come up in the media even as recently as a year ago, when Woz told McIlroy to move on.
After recovering from a rib injury he suffered last summer, McIlroy will have a busy start to 2018. The now-married 28-year-old will play in two events later this month. McIlroy is then scheduled to take part in two events in February and two more in March, including the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Rory McIlroy says that he will be out indefinitely with a rib injury following a 22nd-place finish at the PGA Championship in Charlotte on Sunday.
McIlroy shot a final-round 68 to finish the major one over par. Afterwards he said he will return home to be examined by doctors. He believes he may miss anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” McIlroy said on Sunday. “You might not see me until next year. You might see me in a couple of weeks’ time. It really depends.”
Although all four majors have already been played, McIlroy still has work to do in the FedEx Cup standings. He’s ranked No. 43 and needs to be in the top 30 to qualify for the Tour Championship. But it sounds like he’s not too worried about that as of now. Instead, he seems to say he’s more focused on the Masters next year.
“April is a long way away. That’s the next big thing on my radar,” he said.
McIlroy last won a major in 2014, when he went back-to-back at The Open Championship and PGA Championship. The 28-year-old posted two top-10s this year.
Rory McIlroy is riding high entering The Players Championship this week.
McIlroy married wife Erica Stoll two and a half weeks ago. The two then reportedly went on a 10-day honeymoon. McIlroy’s just now getting back into the swing of things with his golf and still appears to be on his wedding high.
The world No. 2 golfer spoke at a news conference on Tuesday and spoke glowingly about his wedding, calling it the “best weekend” of his life.
“It was really cool. We tried to keep it as private as possible, it was between our friends and families and we didn’t really want anything else.
“It was a weekend of celebrations. We had a welcome reception on the Friday, the whole wedding day on the Saturday and a farewell brunch on Sunday. We spent three really nice days days with the people we cherish the most and that was really special.”
McIlroy says he tried to lose some weight entering the event this week, so it sounds like he is trying to refocus and prepare for golf again. If he plays extremely well, it could be because he has so much peace of mind.