McIlroy’s one-shot win over Shane Lowry at the BMW PGA Championship came at the end of a rollercoaster week and on a course at Wentworth where has struggled in the past.
Yet the Irishman prevailed in the European Tour’s flagship tournament to claim his first victory of the season and yesterday jumped from 10th to sixth in the world rankings.
Now the two-time Major champion will arrive at Muirfield Village in Ohio today for this week’s Memorial Tournament on the PGA Tour confident in the knowledge he has finally translated consistent good form into a victory following a terrible 2013 and that he can do it over and over again.
“I think it’s the start of something,” McIlroy, 25, said. “I could feel my game sort of bubbling and it was getting there. A win validates that.
“I think the game is waiting for one guy or one or two guys or whatever just to kick on. I stand by that comment; that I’d like to be that guy, and I’d like to think that this is a springboard to doing something like that.
“You know, there’s still three Majors to play this year, a lot of golf left, a lot of big tournaments to try and win.
“So even though we’re nearly halfway through the season, I feel like mine’s just beginning.”
McIlroy had on Sunday night toasted his Wentworth victory and no doubt reflected further on his break-up early last week with fiancee Caroline Wozniacki in the company of his mother Rosie, other family and friends back in Belfast. But he was back on the road yesterday as he flew to America to begin his preparations for the US Open at Pinehurst in three weeks.
He will play the classic American golf course in the North Carolina sandhills for the first time nextMonday and Tuesday but from all the information he has received about the place he thinks it could suit his game as he bids to regain the major title he won at Congressional in 2011.
“No rough for a US Open is going to be very different. I hear it’s going to be a long, long golf course, which I’m looking forward to. You know, I don’t mind that at all, getting driver in the hand, and a long golf course, it would suit me.
“And obviously the greens are very tricky at Pinehurst, a lot of run-offs and slopes. I think you’re going to need to have everything there.
“Even without seeing the golf course, I don’t think it’s going to be a course that’s going to suit one type of player or another.
“You’re obviously going to have to be pretty long off the tee, but most of the guys are these days. Most of the guys can get it out there.
“So it will just be about second shots, and when you miss greens, I think you’ll have to be very imaginative around the greens and you’ll have to bump it into the hills and run it up, and some guys might try and fly it up on top of the greens. It will be interesting to see; I’m going to go and take a look at it after the Memorial Tournament in a couple week’s time.”
One thing is for sure, McIlroy will arrive at Pinehurst for the US Open first round on June 12 with hisconfidence boosted by victory inEurope.
“It does a lot,” he said of his BMW PGA victory. “I knew I was playing well coming in here, but I think I alluded to the fact that at Sawgrass, top 10s are great, but they are not what I’m looking for. And I knew I was coming in here playing well, (whereas) I came into this tournament the last couple of years struggling with my game, missed the cut and got frustrated.
“I was excited to come here again, and I felt like my game is in good shape; and coming back to Europe, I feel like I can contend. I was looking forward to this week in that regard.
“It does my confidence a world of good. I know I’m playing well, but being able to get the job done under pressure and when I need to, that’s the most pleasing thing about this week.”