Golf Club: Rory McIlroy is now ranked 14th in the world, but he believes he is “the best player in the world” when he is at his best.
McIlroy was ranked world No. 1 when the Covid-19 pandemic struck world sport in March 2020, but he has been hampered by inconsistency and a weakening swing, which has seen him fall to his lowest spot in 12 years.
Much of his demise was ascribed to his public pursuit of more speed and length after witnessing Bryson DeChambeau dominate Winged Foot at the US Open last year, and McIlroy’s association with new swing coach Pete Cowen saw early success at the Wells Fargo Championship in May.
However, the four-time major champion has only had three top-10 performances since winning his third victory at Quail Hollow, but he struck a defiant and optimistic tone ahead of this week’s CJ Cup at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.
“I think when I’m at my best, I’m the best player in the world,” McIlroy said, adding that he expects to compete in the DP World Tour Championship and the Hero World Challenge before taking a winter vacation.
“I haven’t played like that in a while, but I don’t feel like I need to go that far back to when the epidemic hit when I was the world’s No. 1 player.” I don’t have to go far back in time to find my name at the top of the rankings.
McIlroy is making his first appearance since his Ryder Cup singles triumph over Xander Schauffele, and he jumped to Padraig Harrington’s defence, insisting the European captain could have done little to prevent Team USA from surging to a record 19-9 victory.
“There’s not much more Padraig could have done from the whole process and obviously being involved and in the team room,” McIlroy added, who lost all three of his matches on Friday and Saturday and was dropped for a session for the first time in his Ryder Cup career.
“I stated at the outset, even before the week, that the captains set the tone and perhaps created a little bit of the culture that week, but at the end of the day, it’s us, the players, who are out there hitting shots and trying to hole putts, and Europe didn’t hit shots or hole putts.
“When you look back, America just sunk so many more putts than we did and gained so much momentum so quickly. They started matches so quickly and got the crowd on their side, they gained momentum, and it’s very difficult to fight back from that when you’re on the away side.
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