Rory McIlroy: 'I've never hit the ball as well in a major'

Rory McIlroy U.S. Open - Final Round
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 21: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks off the 14th hole during the final round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 21, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

World No.1 Rory McIlroy views near miss at Chambers Bay as 'the one that got away' but says his display was the best he's ever hit the ball at a major championship


Rory McIlroy sent pulses racing on an electrifying final day at the US Open with a barrage of birdies that saw him surge into contention to win his fifth major title at Chambers Bay. The World No.1 holed a monster birdie putt at the 13th to go six-under par for his round, two under for the tournament, moving him just three behind the leaders.

"I really thought with 16 (a short par four) and 18 (a par five) coming in, if I could birdie those two holes and get to four under par I had a great chance with the way the greens were getting out there," McIlroy said. "It would have been a number for the guys to really think about.

Rory McIlroy U.S. Open - Final Round

Sadly for McIlroy, a short missed putt for birdie at the 14th took the momentum from his sails and he then bogeyed two of the final four holes to finish on level par for the tournament, five behind the eventual winner Jordan Spieth.

"When I look back, the last few holes have not been kind to me this week and that's where I will rue some missed opportunities. I feel like it's one that got away. I feel like I've never hit the ball as well in a major championship."

Rory’s ball-striking was certainly at its peak on Sunday and in a recent interview with Golf Monthly, he acknowledged his driving and mental game are his biggest strengths.

“One of my biggest advantages over my rivals is how I drive the ball. I’m not afraid to pull driver out and get it down there and leave myself with a wedge into the green where other guys are hitting six or seven irons, that makes a difference. Also, I'm not one‑dimensional. I can hit the ball both ways. I can flight it up or down. I'm a little more confident with it. My start lines are much tighter now too, I feel like my game doesn't have the ability to have these big misses, which is very important.”

Rory McIlroy driving at the U.S. Open - Round Two

“Also mentally, I’ve been so much better the last couple of years just from experience, knowing when to be aggressive and conservative, I handle pressure much better now and that comes from being in positions like that in tournaments. The more you’re in them, the more comfortable you become and I’ve been in them a lot recently.”

The key to McIlroy’s final-day charge was a host of holed putts. McIlroy met up with putting coach Dave Stockton prior to his emphatic win at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow to get an assessment of his technique.

“He noticed my left hand and shoulder were pulling up through impact so he got me feeling like my left hand and shoulder stayed down a little more through the stroke. He also got me to hit with some putts with my left hand only so I’m going to incorporate that into my routine. It only took two minutes but it has really helped me.”

Joel Tadman
Technical Editor

Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf. He is also responsible for all content on irons and golf tech, including distance measuring devices and launch monitors.

One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 86 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 3.2.

Joel's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: Titleist TSR3, 9° 

Fairway wood: Titleist TSR3, 15° 

Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18° 

Irons: Ping i230 4-UW

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 54°. Titleist Vokey SM9 60° lob wedge, K Grind

Putter: Evnroll ER2V 

Ball: 2023 Titleist Pro V1x