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McIlroy targets return to major glory in 2020 after tour triumphs

Omnisport
NEWS
News
Modified 25 Dec 2019, 03:28 IST
Rory McIlroy - cropped
Rory McIlroy is chasing a fifth major title

Rory McIlroy is determined to carry his regular tour form into the majors in 2020 - and he knows a fast start is the missing component that has held him back.

The 30-year-old Northern Irishman remains stuck on four major victories, having not won one of golf's four biggest tournaments since his 2014 US PGA Championship success.

He enjoyed a stellar 2019 though, carrying off four titles including the Tour Championship in August, when he pocketed prize money of $15million as the FedEx Cup winner.

That triumph at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta flushed McIlroy with confidence, and it was little surprise he carried off the WGC-HSBC Champions trophy in Shanghai in November.

The regrets from his year are obvious, with McIlroy not seriously contending at the business end of any of the majors, despite grinding out top-10 finishes at the US PGA and the U.S. Open.

At the Open Championship, held at Royal Portrush, McIlroy had a nightmarish opening 79 and a sparkling 65 on the Friday could not stop him missing the cut in front of his home supporters.

"The majors weren't what I wanted, but I played a lot of good golf and I think I played some good golf within the major championships as well," McIlroy told Sky Sports News. "I shot a few good scores. I just need to start a little faster, that's the big thing for me.

"If there's a key to me starting to contend more regularly and win majors again, I just need to start a little better."

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It sounds obvious and is, and the more McIlroy puts himself immediately in the frame to win at regular tour events, the more starting at least solidly should become second nature.

He is moving in a positive direction, with the world number two putting pressure on Brooks Koepka at the top of the rankings.

It was fending off playing partner Koepka's challenge on the final day of the Tour Championship that put a spring in McIlroy's step and has convinced him he can land more of the big pots.

"I'd say the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup meant the most because it was Brooks in the final group and it meant a little more to me just because he is still ranked the number one player in the world," McIlroy said.

"There were a lot of tournaments I had chances in before the Players, even though it was still early in the year, and I felt there were questions about: Can Rory get it done? Can he close? Can he finish?

"That was huge to me. It proved to myself and it proved to other people that I can get it done on a Sunday when it matters at one of the biggest tournaments in the world."

Published 25 Dec 2019, 03:28 IST
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