Rory McIlroy says he wishes it was late March after putting in yet another brilliant round on Tour as he closes his 2021 out in much better form than he has shown throughout the year. The Northern Irishman carded an opening 66 at the Hero World Challenge, which was his 10th score in the 60s in his last 13 rounds across the PGA and European Tours.
“I wish it was the end of March," he said after his opening 66 in the Bahamas. "I wish it was a different time of the year the way I’m playing. But there’s no reason why I can’t pick up again in January and keep playing the way I’m playing. I’m still going to keep myself ticking over these next few weeks. I’m not going to completely shut the clubs away. My game’s in good shape and I want to keep it there.”
Rory begins his 2022 with back-to-back starts on the now-DP World Tour where he'll tee it up in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai for the first time since 2018. He'll look to build on what has been a very strange 2021 that featured two PGA Tour victories along with MC-T49-T7-T46 in the four Majors. He also had a poor Ryder Cup showing, resulting in him missing a session for the first time in his career, and then squandered the chance to win the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, where he ripped his shirt in frustration following three bogeys in his last four holes.
He has now split with coach Pete Cowen after linking up with the Yorkshireman in March and returns to exclusively working with his boyhood coach Michael Bannon as well as figuring things out for himself.
"Those two weeks in between the Ryder Cup and Vegas [his CJ Cup win] I feel like I figured a few things out on my own. Which sometimes you need to do," he said of his split with Cowen. "Sometimes you need to go and throw hundreds of balls down on the range and hit some and figure it out on your own. I'm not saying that I don't need any help ever again and I've got it figured out, but I talked about it in Vegas, just about being myself and not trying to do anything that other people do or what I can't do."
McIlroy will once again head to Augusta National in April amongst the tournament favourites as he seeks to complete the Career Grand Slam following his Open Championship triumph in 2014 that saw him pick up the third of the four men's Major golf trophies. Rory has had five top-10s in seven attempts at the career slam but did record his first missed cut at Augusta since 2010 this year after rounds of 76-74.
Let's hope Rory can continue his form into 2022 as he looks to complete the slam or win a Major for the first time since August 2014.
Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered three Open Championships on-site including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats between 3-5. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Honma TR20
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
Irons: Mizuno MP5
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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