Watch Rory McIlroy send ominous message to his rivals: "Because I do"

Rory McIlroy staked his claim ahead of the PGA Tour's Waste Management Phoenix Open before explaining the flexibility in his TaylorMade contract.

Ben Smith's picture
Thu, 9 Feb 2023
Watch Rory McIlroy send ominous message to his rivals: "Because I do"

Rory McIlroy had an ominous warning to his rivals ahead of the PGA Tour's Waste Management Phoenix Open. 

Asked whether he believes he is currently the best player in the world, McIlroy said: "Yes". 

The 33-year-old Ulsterman is ranked the World No.1 but after the emergence of LIV Golf and the updates to the OWGR system there has been constant debate about points, strengths of fields and more. 

Related: Rory McIlroy finally snaps at Phil Mickelson

Jon Rahm - who apologised to his wife Kelley Cahill after this TMI joke - reckons he's been the best player since last August. 

He has a strong claim to the throne given that he's won four times in eight stars. 

Rahm and McIlroy had polar opposite views of the system when they spoke before the DP World Tour Championship. 

It got to the point where Rahm finally conceded that he was "past caring" about it all during the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. 

Why does McIlroy believe he is the best?

He bullishly said: 

"Because I do. I'm playing well. I feel like consistency-wise, I've been as good as I have been ever in my career.
"I said at the end of last year, I feel like as complete of a player as I ever have. If you just look at my statistical categories, there's no real glaring weaknesses there. I've worked really hard on that, to try to become a more well-rounded player.
"I think the results speak for themselves, as well, over not just the past six months but really the past 18 months post-Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, I feel like I've been on a really good run of form since then."

McIlroy is playing the first two rounds of the elevated event at TPC Scottsdale alongside Hideki Matsuyama and Collin Morikawa


"TaylorMade are giving me more flexibility"

McIlroy was spotted testing Titleist Vokey wedges before teeing it up in Dubai. 

He has also opted not to upgrade to the Stealth 2 Plus Driver yet. 

Asked about this, McIlroy said TaylorMade are giving him more options with some of the clubs he can use.

He said:

"Yeah, so this is my first year of my new deal with TaylorMade, and they gave me just a little bit of flexibility with some of the clubs that I can play.
"Yeah, so that was really it. I was messing around with Justin -- I see Justin Thomas all the time at home and messing around with some of his wedges and some of the grinds he has.
"I got in touch and ordered a couple, and they've worked really nicely.
"This week, as well, I feel by going back to that 760 long iron in the 3- and the 4-iron, just to give me a bit more extra flight into the par-5s -- I feel like sometimes with the 3- and the 4-iron in the blades they can come in a little flat at times, where the par-5 and the second shots into the par-5s specifically this week are very, very important, so I thought having a little bit more flight on those long irons could be helpful."

Next page: Ryder Cup won't be devalued without LIV players, says Rose