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McIlroy backs himself to equal career-best season

The 30-year-old has won the Players Championship, Canadian Open and Tour Championship in 2019.

Rory McIlroy is targeting more success before the end of the season (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Rory McIlroy is targeting more success before the end of the season (Bradley Collyer/PA)

By Phil Casey, PA Golf Correspondent

Rory McIlroy believes he is fully capable of achieving his target of two wins from his next five events to equal his career-best season.

McIlroy has won the Players Championship, Canadian Open and Tour Championship in 2019 but is determined not to rest on his laurels as he tries to close the gap on world number one Brooks Koepka.

“I’ve got an opportunity over the next few weeks where there’s a lot of world ranking points so my goal is to get closer, just to try to keep progressing, get a couple more wins,” McIlroy said ahead of the BMW PGA Championship.

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Rory McIlroy during a preview press conference for the BMW PGA Open at Wentworth (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“I feel like I’m playing well enough. The most I’ve ever won in a season is five (in 2012). I’d love to at least equal that and try to better that.

“I’ll try not to let my foot off the pedal and finish the year the way I started it on a very positive note. Then I can really enjoy the off-season, or whatever off-season we have, December, January, and reset and go again.”

McIlroy admitted he had to “drag myself off the sofa” after almost two weeks off following his play-off loss in the Omega European Masters as the effects of a condensed schedule took its toll.

“To be honest with you, it’s been quite tough,” McIlroy added. “I’m not used to playing this much golf in a short period of time. You used to play a couple weeks on, take a couple weeks off, play another couple weeks. I think I played 13 tournaments in a 16-week stretch.

“It’s a lot of golf and it’s something we’re going to have to get used to. It’s the new schedule, especially throw in the Olympics next year and the Ryder Cup and everything else.

“That’s why I needed those two weeks on the sofa, just to sort of reset and get myself in the right place mentally to get motivated to go again for this last little bit of the year.”

The BMW PGA Championship is being held in September instead of its traditional May date following the rejigging of the major calendar, but McIlroy feels that will prove to be a positive move.

“It’s good to be back playing in Europe, especially coming to Wentworth at this time of year,” the 30-year-old added.

“I came to the (World) Match Play a few times as a kid and watched. It was a bit later in the year. It was October, but the leaves were changing and it was always a great atmosphere and always felt like the weather was actually decent. Looks like the weather this week is going to be good.

“And I think it’s a great thing for the tournament. You had Tony Finau in here a couple of minutes ago and he’s a player that definitely wouldn’t play in this event if it was still in May. I think for the tournament, this new date is going to be fantastic.”

PA

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