Darren Clarke backs Rory McIlroy to win third US PGA Championship

Darren Clarke has backed Rory McIlroy to win a third US PGA Championship at Baltusrol and avoid extending his winless streak in majors to two full years.

McIlroy won the Irish Open in May and has recorded eight other top-10 finishes in strokeplay events in 2016, but failed to add to his tally of four major titles in the Masters, US Open and Open Championship.

European Ryder Cup captain Daren Clarke.
European Ryder Cup captain Daren Clarke.

However, the 28-year-old has a brilliant record in the US PGA after victories in 2012 and 2014 and three other top-eight finishes in seven appearances and fellow Northern Irishman Clarke believes another win is just around the corner.

"Rory can win any week," European Ryder Cup captain Clarke said. "He's been very close to playing really well for quite some time now. He just seems to have thrown in the odd not so good round and the putter hasn't really been behaving.

"But Rory is such a talent that he can win anywhere. When you have his ability to hit the ball as far as he does and as straight as he does, he can overpower any golf course.

Rory McIlroy on the irish Open in May.
Rory McIlroy on the irish Open in May.

"Just because he hasn't won since the Irish Open, I have no concerns whatsoever. It's only a matter of time before he wins again and it may well could be this week. And if it's not this week, it could be the next time he plays. He's that good."

None of the so-called 'Big Three' of McIlroy, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth have won a major this season, with Danny Willett, Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson winning the Masters, US Open and Open Championship respectively.

The last time there were first-time winners of all four majors in a season was in 2011, when Clarke won the Open at Sandwich, but world number two Johnson is hungry for further success.

Darren Clarke won the Open Championship in 2011.
Darren Clarke won the Open Championship in 2011.

"I want to win. I want to win every major," said the big-hitting American, who triumphed at Oakmont in June after several agonising near-misses. "Maybe I have even more of a desire to get a second one."

Johnson can become world number one for the first time by finishing outright second or better if Day is worse than 28th, but added: "It won't be on my mind. I'm going to go out and try to focus on what I've got to do and playing golf.

"The rest of the stuff, I try not to worry about, or actually I don't worry about. I just go out and play golf and try to shoot the best score I can. You know, if at the end of the week, if I'm on top of the leaderboard and I get to number one, obviously that would be great and be a big accomplishment."


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