GOLF: McIlroy ‘hates thought’ of winless season

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy admits he hates the thought of ending his season without a win as he looks to make the first successful title defence of his career in Boston.

McIlroy won the Dell Technologies Championship - then known as the Deutsche Bank Championship - in 2012 and 2016, the latter victory providing him with the springboard to win the overall FedEx Cup title and USD 10million bonus.

The 28-year-old has also won several other events more than once but never in consecutive years and has four chances left in 2017 to avoid just his second full winless season since turning professional.

Speaking after a tie for 22nd in the US PGA Championship which completed a third successive year without a major title, McIlroy said he was in two minds about competing again this year due to an ongoing rib injury.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” McIlroy, who has played just 14 events this season, said after a closing 68 at Quail Hollow. “You might not see me until next year. You might see me in a couple of weeks’ time.”

After seeking the advice of sports scientist Steve McGregor in Northern Ireland, McIlroy was told he could not make the injury any worse and finished 34th in last week’s Northern Trust Open.

He will play the remaining three FedEx Cup play-off events - assuming he qualifies for the 30-man Tour Championship - and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with his father Gerry from October 5-8 before calling time on his season in a bid to get fully fit for the new campaign.

“I’d hate to think I’ll end this year without a win,” McIlroy told a pre-tournament press conference at TPC Boston. “I’ve got four tournaments left to hopefully make sure that doesn’t happen.

“It would just be nice to get a win before I shut it down for a while. It’s not as if I’m out there making it any worse. I feel like I can still go out there and compete and if you can do that, why not give it a go?

“Of the courses that we have coming up I definitely feel the most comfortable on this one so if I didn’t get myself into the mix it would definitely be a lost opportunity.”