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Rory McIlroy hoping to cheer on Carl Frampton to glory

By Phil Casey

Published 27/07/2016

Making the grade: Rory McIlroy wants a late tee time on Sunday
Making the grade: Rory McIlroy wants a late tee time on Sunday

Rory McIlroy is confident he can turn a B- season into an A+ by claiming a third US PGA Championship title in the space of five years - while also having the chance to watch fellow countryman Carl Frampton win his big world title fight with Leo Santa Cruz on Saturday.

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.

The 28-year-old opted for "neutral" when asked to describe his 2016 campaign in one word, but feels he can find top gear once more at Baltusrol, especially after Monday's thunderstorm recalled the soft conditions which prevailed for his breakthrough US Open victory at Congressional in 2011.

"It's a fair golf course, everything is straight out in front of you," said McIlroy, who won the US PGA in 2012 and 2014 and has recorded three other top-eight finishes. "There's no real hidden secrets to it and I feel that's what really lets me excel.

"I feel like I can play my game in PGA Championships. I can hit driver off the tee most times and from there, if I drive it well, I feel like I have a big advantage.

"There's been times (this year) where I got a little bit of momentum and then sort of got set back a little bit. It's sort of been a little stop-start in a way. I'm trying to stay as positive as I can. I feel like I am positive because my game is in good shape, but I guess I'm just maybe running out of patience a little bit in trying to make it happen.

"As for a grade, I'd say like a B- maybe. I could change that into an A+ on Sunday. There's a lot of golf left, last major of the year, and I want to give it my all to get in the mix and try to win another one of these things before I have to wait another eight months to try to get another opportunity."

If McIlroy does not lift the enormous Wanamaker Trophy again it will mean going two full years without a major title, the world number four having won the Open and US PGA in 2014, with a first World Golf Championship title sandwiched in between for good measure.

McIlroy has added motivation to get into contention and earn a late tee time for Sunday's final round, revealing he has tickets to watch Frampton's world title fight.

"If everything goes to plan I will be able to get to the Barclays Centre (in nearby New York) to cheer him on," McIlroy added.

"I've never been to one of his fights before so hopefully I'll have a late tee time on Sunday."

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