Rory McIlroy may not be winning but I'm sure he's on the cusp of another prolific run

Sam Torrance
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Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented By MasterCard - Final Round
McIlroy finished in a share of fourth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday (Source: Getty)

He may have been beaten to the Arnold Palmer Invitational by a great finish from Marc Leishman, but Rory McIlroy looked magnificent once again over the past few days at Bay Hill.

It could have been a different result if Rory had been able to apply more pressure on the back nine on Sunday, but a tie for fourth still goes down as another good week as he gets back up to speed following injury.

McIlroy isn’t quite in his stride yet, and the fluctuation in his scoring over the four days – he shot a 74 on Thursday and a 65 on Saturday – is just down to that lack of sharpness.

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That aside, I really think he’s on the cusp of another great run. He certainly doesn’t need to tweak his game – I don’t think I have ever seen a better swing, it’s that good.

He has been a prolific winner before and it feels like a matter of time before that happens again.

I can see him stepping up another gear and opening the floodgates by winning the Masters by six or seven.

Hatton can be world's best

Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented By MasterCard - Final Round
Hatton, who shared fourth at Bay Hill, has the ability to be world No1 (Source: Getty)

Another man who I believe has the ability become the best player in the world is Tyrrell Hatton, and he had another very good week, birdieing the last to share fourth place with McIlroy at Bay Hill.

It was notable that American commentators remarked on Hatton’s on-course demeanour, which – as I have written before – I think is holding him back a little.

The Englishman is already a great player at the age of 25. If he can free his mind and play the game his swing is built for then I am convinced he can go even further.

Compatriot Tommy Fleetwood also did phenomenally well to make the top 10 after carding 78 in his first round. He played the last three days in 12 under par – another very encouraging performance.

Leishman can shed underachiever tag

Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented By MasterCard - Final Round
Leishman is not among the biggest hitters but has a strong all-round game (Source: Getty)

It was a deserved and significant win for Leishman, though – the biggest of his career for a player who is clearly a top performer but has seemed to be an underachiever.

He is a super guy and has been knocking at the door of the big time for a while – he lost a play-off at the Open in 2015 and has two other top-five finishes at Majors.

He may not be as long a hitter as Dustin Johnson but he has a very good all-round game and doesn’t look to be missing anything from his armoury.

At 33, he is in his prime and can go on from here. You never know what a win like this could do.

Treat in store at WGC Match Play

World No1 Johnson, McIlroy and a host of golf’s other biggest names are set to play in this week’s WGC Match Play in Austin and it looks like a golf fan’s dream.

You don’t get enough match play and I can’t wait to watch, say, a DJ and Rory final.

With a field also including Jordan Spieth, Hideki Mastuyama and Sergio Garcia, the contests will be fantastic whoever plays.

While it will offer some clues for the Masters, the nature of match play is so different that it is less easy to ready who is likely to triumph at Augusta in two weeks’ time.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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