Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

McIlroy - I wasn't ready to win

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy does not believe he was ready to win his first major last month.

Back in America for the first time since his Masters meltdown - from four ahead he crashed to a closing 80 and finished 10 behind Charl Schwartzel - McIlroy will spend his 22nd birthday on Wednesday preparing for his defence of the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte.

"First thing I don't think I was ready - that was the most important thing," the Northern Irishman said at Quail Hollow, the course where he shot a magical 62 to win his first PGA Tour title a year ago.

"I displayed a few weaknesses in my game that I need to work on. But I think you've got to take the positives - for 63 holes I led and it was just a very bad back nine that sort of took the tournament away from me, I suppose.

"But what can you do? There are three more majors this year and hopefully dozens more that I'll play in my career. I was just trying to stay ahead of the field, which in hindsight probably wasn't a good thing.

"I just should have gone out, played my game and said 'Right, if I play well I'm capable of shooting 65 around this golf course and winning by 10'.

"But that's not the way it worked out and that's experience. That's just learning to be in that position more often.

"Hopefully I'll be able to get myself in those positions more often in my career and sooner or later it's going to happen where it finally clicks and I'm able to handle the whole thing a lot better and win.

"It took me a couple of days maybe to get over it. It was a great chance to win a first major, but it's only golf at the end of the day. No-one died. I'm very happy with my life, very happy with my game."

McIlroy went straight from The Masters to the Malaysian Open, where he needed a closing birdie to tie 17-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero, but instead ran up a bogey six and came third.

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