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World Number One Rory McIlroy targeting another major win at Valhalla

Rory McIlroy (left) strolls onto the fourth tee during Wednesday's practice round

Rory McIlroy (left) strolls onto the fourth tee during Wednesday's practice round

  • by Phil Casey
 

He has won his last two events, is back on top of the world rankings and is rated a 5/1 favourite to make it three wins in succession with a second US PGA Championship title at Valhalla this week.

But Rory McIlroy will not be paying any attention to the hype surrounding his brilliant run of form, which saw him claim the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool and follow that with a first World Golf Championship victory in the Bridgestone Invitational.

The 25-year-old’s stellar play at Firestone Country Club had Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley eulogising about the “best exhibition of driving I have ever seen” and predicting McIlroy could be on his way to dominating the game as Tiger Woods did in his prime.

And with doubts increasing over Woods’ longevity after he pulled out of the Bridgestone midway through the final round with more back trouble, McGinley is not the only one talking about the start of ‘Rory’s era’.

“I don’t really know how to answer that,” McIlroy told his pre-tournament press conference at Valhalla. “Of course I’ve heard it and I’ve read it.

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

“I’ve had a great run of golf and I’ve played well over the past few months. 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.

“People can say what they want to say, that’s fine. But I can’t read too much into it.I just need to continue to practice hard and play well and try not to read too much of the stuff that’s being written, because if you read everything that was being written, I’d turn up at the first tee on Thursday thinking I’d already won the tournament.”

That last comment was said with a smile and McIlroy added: “I don’t think it’s productive at all to read anything about yourself. I try not to. Obviously it’s hard to stay away from everything, but I try to limit it as much as I can for sure.”

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