Rory McIlroy’s Day Of Reckoning

As the final day of an enthralling 150th Open Championship dawns, we take a look at the day of reckoning ahead for Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy's Day Of Reckoning
(Image credit: Future)

Seven years, 414 weeks, 2,898 days. That’s how long it’s been since Rory McIlroy, arguably the most gifted golfer of his generation, won the last of his four Major Championships. Since that last trophy was lifted in 2014 there have been 29 attempts, six missed cuts and 16 top-10s. With every passing major, the head-scratching has become more vigorous. Could today be the day?

Well, first of all, he’ll need to overcome his playing partner. Having missed the cut at the Genesis Scottish Open with rounds of 74 and 73, Viktor Hovland looked to many of us like an outsider heading into the 150th Open Championship. Fast forward a few days and his long game is back to its best and his long putting has been the star power that’s pushed him to the top of the leaderboard. What a fickle game golf is. 

For the 24 year-old Norwegian, today will be his first real taste of the sharp end of Major golf (he’s had three top 15 finishes in 12 major starts). Whatever happens, over the next few hours we’ll find out an awful lot more about Viktor Hovland. 

And then there’s the two Camerons (-12), Scheffler and Kim (-11), and Dustin Johnson (-10). With favourable weather conditions, it’s highly plausible that one or more of the supporting cast will make a run at the Claret Jug. Without the pressure of sleeping on the lead and with a layout there for the taking, don’t doubt for a second that these players are good enough to pile the pressure onto McIlroy and Hovland. 

And yet with all these worthy winners and compelling storylines, you can’t help but feel that today will be all about whether Rory McIlroy is truly ready to put his Major Championship drought to bed. Looking at his array of near misses over the last seven years (he's had 8 top-5 finishes since winning the 2014 PGA Championship), none of those chances were quite as clear-cut as this one.

On his shoulders will be a colossal weight of expectation, vocalised by the fans but also clearly felt deeply by the man himself. That he would be a most worth winner of such a historic event only makes the prospect of this final round even more mouth-watering. 

If he is going to become the Champion Golfer of 2022, the Northern Irishman will need to push all of this to one side, put one foot in front of the other and play the golf we all know he can. Of course, this is much easier said than done. Getting across the line will not be easy but it’s a golden opportunity, the outcome of which, you feel will carry an importance that goes far beyond just this Open Championship. Strap yourself in, one way or another, it’s going to be compelling viewing.

Neil Tappin
Neil Tappin

In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."


Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSi2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X