Rory McIlroy drops Phil Mickelson story as he previews US PGA bid

World number two Rory McIlroy says he 'just needs a little something' to end his major drought as he previewed his tilt at the 2024 PGA Championship.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

World number two Rory McIlroy says he needs that 'little bit of something' once he gets into contention to end his major drought. 

McIlroy, who turned 35 years old last week, has three more chances this year to end his wait. 

At this point, you'll likely know it's been 10 years since McIlroy was victorious in one of the big four. 

His last major win came when he pipped Phil Mickelson by one to the PGA Championship at Valhalla. 


McIlroy prevailed by finishing his round in almost complete darkness and, at the time it represented back-to-back wins in majors after triumphing at the 2014 Open at Royal Liverpool. 

McIlroy told the Belfast Telegraph that he's leaning heavily on data to reassure him that he's a better player now compared to that bushy-haired 25-year-old. 

"There was more volatility in my game back then," he said

He added: "I don’t want to get too much into the data stuff, but if you look at my numbers over the last four years and compare them to earlier in my career, yeah, I’m a better player.

“The results in the biggest events haven’t married up with that, but I’m still grinding away. 

"I’m a good enough player to just play my way into contention but it’s when I get into contention, say on that back nine on Sunday at Valhalla, it’s just needing that little bit of something.

“At Valhalla it was Phil and Rickie [Fowler] fist-pumping on the way to the 12th tee. Whatever it is, just tell yourself a story to get that fire going.

"Not that you should need a fire playing for a major championship. It’s the biggest thing that we do. I know that I’m a better player now than I was back then.

“And the narrative has been, ‘Rory hasn’t won a major in 10 years, so what’s going on or what’s wrong?’ 

"But I’ve done everything else there is to do in the game in those last 10 years. It’s just a matter of getting over the line in one of those big four.”

McIlroy will be returning to Valhalla next week. 

He told the publication his abiding memory from back then was seeing Fowler and Mickelson fist-pumping during the final round that sparked a reaction. 

"That almost felt like two-on-one in a way," he said. "And I was like, 'I'm going to get these guys.'"

Before McIlroy heads to Louisville, he will be the headline act at the Wells Fargo Championship

He is attempting to win at Quail Hollow for the fourth time. 

Should he be successful, he would take his haul of PGA Tour titles to 26. 

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