Rory McIlroy: I had to "drag myself off the sofa" for the BMW PGA

Rory McIlroy eager for more Wentworth success, but believes golf should maybe take a leaf out of the NFL's book with its scheduling.

Andy Roberts's picture
Wed, 18 Sep 2019

Rory McIlroy claims he wants to win at least two of his final five tournaments of 2019 as he seeks to match his personal best of five victories in a year - he's just had to force himself off the couch to achieve it. 

McIlroy returns from a two-week break to compete in this week's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth having recently locked up the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup and Player of the Year honours. 

The World No.2 starts a warm favourite at the European Tour's flagship tournament of the year which he last won in 2014, and the Ulsterman admits he is eager to win in Surrey again as he looks to emulate his career best of five victories in a year - something he achieved in 2012.

"I did want some time away from the clubs, I had to drag myself off the sofa last weekend!" McIlroy told GolfMagic and the rest of the golf media ahead of the BMW PGA. 

"I told myself 'I'm playing next week so I've got to do something'. I hit balls on Saturday and I hit balls on Sunday before flying over here.

"It was my first day back on the golf course yesterday, but the game feels goo and I'm still swinging it well. I played pretty good in the practice round yesteray.

"I don't think taking a couple of weeks off will have done me any harm. I feel like I can still finish the year on a very positive note, and who knows maybe win five times and then really enjoy the off-season, and then reset and go again."

McIlroy won his second career FedEx Cup at the end of August, before returning to action in Switzerland a week later to narrowly lose out in a playoff for the Omega European Masters

With good memories of Wentworth having won here before, McIlroy is hoping to win the tournament again in its new slot of September and use it as a springboard to even greater success to round out his year. 

McIlroy certainly did that when winning here in 2014. Out of form by his own very high standards, the Northern Irishman won the BMW PGA (in its old May slot) and went on to win two majors, a WGC and help Europe win the Ryder Cup.

McIlroy's BMW PGA victory is something he remains immensely proud of, especially given the personal issues he faced back then. 

"That win was somewhat out of the blue with everything else that was going on in my life back then," said McIlroy.

"If you can play good golf in those sorts of circumstances it says a lot about your character, and I rode that wave of momentum to win two majors, a WGC and the Ryder Cup.

"That was the spark for me to push forward and do what I did that year. It gives me motivation to try and end this year well."

McIlroy has five events left of his season, with England this week coming before tournaments in Scotland, Japan, China and Dubai.

He claims he will then take around two months off to recharge his batteries for the 2020 season - something he cannot wait for following a stretch of 13 tournaments in the space of 16 weeks that all started at the Memorial in June. 

"It's been quite tough," McIlroy said of the new golfing calendar. 

"I'm not used to playing this amount of golf in such a short space of time. Some 13 tournaments in a 16-week stretch, it's tough. 

"I guess it's always going to be congested in this part of the year, and that's why I needed those two weeks on the sofa!"

Justin Rose has recently claimed he's not much of a fan of the new condensed playing schedule, and Jack Nicklaus has expressed his dislike at the majors being so close together. 

McIlroy is in a similar camp, and thinks golf would have no harm in taking a leaf out of American Football's NFL book. 

"There are so many different stakeholders in the game and they all have their own priorities," said McIlroy.

"You have the PGA of America, the PGA Tour, the USGA and the R&A. There are so many different entitities in the game and they are all pulling in different directions, and somewhere along the line something isn't quite going to work.

"So I think it's the way it is for a while. My only thing is, you know, I love the game of golf and I as a fan would love to follow it for more than just the five months a year the majors are in. Just try and keep relevance there. But I understand that's -- you know, maybe by -- if you look at the way like the NFL works in the States, they end -- the Super Bowl ends in February and they don't play their first game again until September and that anticipation.

"So maybe that seven months of anticipation to, Augusta is always Augusta and the type and that sort of stuff. Maybe that is a good thing for the game. Time will tell."



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