What's In The Bag - Rory McIlroy
When Rory McIlroy stated that he believed he had the ‘capability of being the best in the world’, there were many raised eyebrows.
Of course, to make a statement of that pedigree, it was integral that the following performance followed suit.
It’s safe to say that McIlroy was certainly the best player at the CJ Cup, winning by one stroke after a sensational 62 from Collin Morikawa threatened to steal his thunder.
Four rounds in the sixties - including a peerless 62 during his third outing - kept the Northern Irishman narrowly ahead of golf’s hottest prospect in the Nevada sun.
As a golfer, McIlroy needs no introduction, as he’s potentially the most popular player in the world during contemporary times.
His triumph in the desert resulted in his 20th PGA Tour victory, giving him lifetime membership on the PGA Tour.
In addition to these victories, he has won 14 times on the European Tour and he has four major championships - although the most recent came in 2014, when he won both the PGA Championship and the Open Championship.
We take a look at what's in McIlroy's bag, assess his recent form, and review his brightest moment.
Considering his illustrious career to date, it’s difficult to determine the pinnacle of his career in golf.
Alongside his four major championships, he has been a playing member of the European Ryder Cup team on six occasions and boasts a record of 12-12-4.
However, considering the importance of his Open Championship victory, it would have been special for the Northern Irishman.
When McIlroy triumphed at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, he became only the sixth player to win the championship having led in every round.
As a consequence of this victory, he became the first European player to win three different majors and he joined an exclusive list of Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus to have won three majors by the age of 25.
McIlroy opened with a blemish-free round of 66, taking a one-stroke lead over Italian Matteo Manassero.
Then world number one Adam Scott was two back and the Australian was joined by Brooks Koepka, Jim Furyk, Shane Lowry, Sergio Garcia and the Molinari brothers.
McIlroy emulated his opening round with a following 66, creating a four-shot advantage over nearest rival Dustin Johnson after a splendid 65 - it was the lowest round of the tournament so far.
Due to poor weather approaching, the R&A had announced that the third round would be played from both the 1st and 10th tee and in threesomes - it became the first time that both tees were utilised at an Open Championship.
Rickie Fowler had started in tremendous fashion, carding birdies on seven of his first 12 holes to tie McIlroy for the lead.
However, the American would make bogey on 14 while McIlroy made birdie to not only reaffirm his lead, but gain a two-shot swing.
McIlroy demonstrated his class as he eagled not only the par-5 16th but also the par-5 18th to lead the field by a whopping six shots heading into Sunday’s finale.
Despite such a healthy lead, major championship golf is perhaps the nerviest arena to have such a large advantage - which is something that McIlroy would learn.
Garcia started efficiently, having birdied three of the opening five holes but McIlroy responded in confident fashion, starting his day with a birdie of his own.
However, as the round progressed and pressure began to crank, so did McIlroy’s composure and consecutive bogeys on the 5th and 6th saw his lead shrunk to three before another birdie at the 9th momentarily eased the pressure.
Garcia’s eagle at 10 applied further pressure before his blunder in the 13th bunker cost him a shot to take him back to -13 and in a tie for second with Fowler.
All three contenders would make birdie at 16 before McIlroy would miss the green on 17.
If there was ever a time to produce the chip of his life, it would be here and to little surprise, that’s exactly what the eventual winner did, with his effort rolling to within a foot from the cup.
While both Fowler and Garcia birdied the 18th, a par was good enough to secure McIlroy his maiden and only Open Championship after a two-stroke victory over Garcia and Fowler.
What's In Rory McIlroy's Bag
Driver – TaylorMade SIM2 (9°) Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X
3-wood – TaylorMade Sim (15°) Fujikura Ventus Black 8 X
Hybrid – TaylorMade SIM Max (19°) Project X HZRDUS Black Prototype 105 6.5
Irons 3-9 – TaylorMade Rors Proto Project X Rifle 7.0
Wedges – TaylorMade MG3 (48°), MG2 TW (56°) and MG2 (58°) Project X Rifle 6.5
Putter – TaylorMade Spider X SuperStroke Pistol GT Tour
Ball – TP5X 2021 #22
2021 Seasonal Statistics
Will we look back on the 2021 season as the year that revived the generational talent that is Rory McIlroy?
His victory at the Wells Fargo Championship undoubtedly came against the odds but he has been producing steady performances from the summer onwards which has ultimately culminated in his CJ Cup triumph.
Below are his 2021 seasonal PGA Tour statistics:
Driving Distance – 319.3 yards (2nd)
Driving Accuracy – 57.36% (145th)
Greens in Regulation – 65.77% (99th)
Scrambling – 57.89% (131st)
SG: Putting - .187 (66th)
Scoring Average – 70.043 (16th)
Birdie Average – 4.51 (1st)
While it’s safe to say that the first half of the 2021 season was difficult and at times uncharacteristic, McIlroy finished first on tour for birdie average.
What has largely let him down of late has been his putting, which was something he led the field throughout the CJ Cup.
The secret to Rory McIlroy - and perhaps all touring pros - winning is putting and if he can keep it hot, then maybe, just maybe the elusive fifth major could be imminent.
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