Life as world’s best not as easy as it looks, admits McIlroy

Rory McIlroy has a greater appreciation for the achievements of Tiger Woods after claiming his second successive Major at Valhalla.

McIlroy also won a first World Golf Championship event in between his victories in the Open and US PGA, a feat which the 25-year-old admits has taken its toll.

“To be up there with the lead week-in and week-out and trying to win these big golf tournaments, it’s tough, mentally and physically,” McIlroy, pictured, said. “I was a little flat the first six holes of the final round [at Valhalla] but just sort of told myself, ‘we have 12 holes left, you can take a week off after this and enjoy it’.

“It sort of makes you appreciate more what Tiger has done in the past and getting on these runs that he’s gone on and keeping it going for months on end basically and I think that’s why off-weeks are important.

“I think this week for me is going to be very important just to recharge the batteries and get ready for the big stretch of golf that we’ve still got coming up.”

Woods has won 14 Majors and 79 PGA Tour titles but missed the cut at Valhalla in just his fourth event since undergoing back surgery in March.

Despite having won three events in a row, McIlroy was quick to target further success this season, especially after moving top of the FedEx Cup standings on the PGA Tour.

If the world No 1 can remain in that position after the four play-off events, he would claim a $10million (€7.5m) bonus.

In 2012, McIlroy was ranked third entering the play-offs and won the Deutsche Bank Championship and the BMW Championship to claim top spot entering the Tour Championship. However, Brandt Snedeker, who was ranked fifth in points, won at East Lake to claim the FedEx Cup title.

“I came close a couple of years ago and didn’t quite get the job done,” McIlroy added. “But I feel like my game’s in good enough shape that I can keep this run of golf going and try and win that.

“I want to try and go into the Ryder Cup with the best possible form that I can and then finish the season off well. I’ve got a few tournaments in the Far East, the Race to Dubai and then I’m going to go down and defend the Australian Open and then that’s going to be me shutting it down for the year.”

McIlroy has a lead of almost €3m over second-placed Sergio Garcia at the top of the Race to Dubai standings and was already guaranteed his place on Paul McGinley’s Ryder Cup team for Gleneagles at the end of September.

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