Is Rory McIlroy The Best Player In The World? He Still Believes He Is...

The four-time Major winner believes that when he's on, nobody can match him.

Rory McIlroy close up pictured
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The four-time Major winner believes that when he's on, nobody can match him.

Rory McIlroy insists that he still believes he is the world's best golfer when he plays his best.

In other news, grass is green and the sky is blue.

Whilst his words are undeniably true, as nobody can beat a prime Rory McIlroy let's face it, we haven't seen his best stuff for far too long.

"I think when I play my best, I'm the best player in the world," Rory said ahead of this week's CJ Cup.

An in-form Rory McIlroy is the greatest golfer of his era, with his natural talent simply unmatched.

McIlroy, on his day, can tear any golf course apart and plays a different game to 99% of touring pros, but one fact that can't be ignored is his seven-year Major-less streak.

After winning the Open Championship, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship in successive starts between July-August 2014, nobody in their right mind would have still had him on four Majors seven years later.

As things stand, he is the 14th-best golfer in the world according the Official World Golf Ranking.

A telling statistic when it comes to his Major-less streak and world ranking is that he's only finished a season inside the top 95 of the PGA Tour's Strokes Gained: Putting statistics once since winning his second Wanamaker Trophy at Valhalla in 2014.

His consistent long game can hardly be criticised but the 32-year-old has struggled to get the ball in the hole and put consecutive low scores together in recent years.

Some may point to his putting, his wedge play or his caddie, but the reality is that golf on Tour is a mental game and Rory's confidence, swagger and perhaps even belief in himself has not matched the likes of Rahm, Thomas, Morikawa, Koepka, Spieth, DeChambeau and more in recent times.

Can he get it back and add to his Major tally? Of course. But the journey continues to get more difficult as he says with the standard of play increasing as each year goes by.

Rory returned to the World No.1 position in 2019 after a season that featured Players Championship and FedEx Cup victories, but he himself admits the past 18 months have been a struggle since the pandemic hit.

"I haven't played like that for a while, though, but I don't feel like I need to go that far back to whenever the pandemic hit, when I was the No 1 player in the world. I don't have to look that far back to see my name at the top of the rankings," he said.

"Obviously the last 18 months haven't been what I've wanted them to be, but if you keep it in perspective, I'm not that far away. And there's a ton of great players now that play obviously really, really good golf.

"I feel like the talent pool is just getting deeper and deeper every year, so you have to strive to keep trying to get better to stay where you want to stay.

"It's not the position I want to be in, but at the same time, there are so many other guys that are trying to do the same thing as I'm doing and I realise the competition gets tougher each and every year. You just have to try to not just keep up with that, but try to become better."

As McIlroy continues these early stages of what is almost his second career, with some $220m+ in the bank, it is going to be fascinating to see if he can regain the form of those golden years between 2011-2014.

He's had fantastic times since, reclaiming the World No.1 position, winning multiple PGA and European Tour events, FedEx Cups, Race to Dubais and WGCs, but we all know Rory can and should win multiple Majors.

Will he win more Majors? Do you think he is still the best player in the world? Let us know on social media

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV