Rory McIlroy has played some incredible golf this year and he put in another exemplary performance at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China last week to win his fourth title of 2019.
Not bad for someone who world No1 Brooks Koepka has said he doesn’t consider a rival.
McIlroy’s consistency is phenomenal. The Northern Irishman has finished in the top 10 at 18 of his 24 tournaments this year, and that just shows the extraordinary level he is currently playing at.
Of course, Majors are what’s missing and that was at the heart of Koepka’s recent comments.
But the fact that Rory’s wins have come at big events – including The Players Championship, Tour Championship, and now a WGC event – bodes well in that respect.
World No2 McIlroy has one more event, the European Tour’s season finale, left this year in which he can cut Koepka’s lead at the top of the rankings.
You can be sure he will start the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, which he has won twice before, as the favourite.
One notable aspect of Rory’s win on Sunday is that he went bogey-free over the weekend at Sheshan International in Shanghai.
In fact, he has made just eight bogeys in his last seven rounds, including the previous week’s Zozo Championship, where he was tied third.
For all of his success this year, a high bogey-count has prevented him doing even better still, so improvement in this area is very significant.
It is another piece of the jigsaw. You never stop trying to get better and it’s wonderful that he keeps striving for perfection.
McIlroy has played down Koepka’s comments and it seems that all remains amicable between them, but neither man will forget what was said.
I think Koepka has given Rory huge incentive and next time they play together – perhaps at a Major in 2020 – he will be able to draw on that.
Notable mentions are in order for Xander Schauffele, who pushed McIlroy all the way to a play-off in what almost proved a perfect defence of his title, and Matthew Fitzpatrick, who had a bad finish but finished seventh in another good week for the Englishman.
Todd’s feel-good win
The early weeks of the PGA Tour continue to generate great feel-good stories and Brendon Todd’s success at the Bermuda Championship was another example.
American Todd was a world top-50 player in 2014, when he won his first PGA Tour title, but a serious case of the yips led his game to unravel. He lost his tour card, dropped to No2,043 in the world and even considered quitting the game.
A change of coach helped him rebuild his swing, however, and he ended his five-year drought on Sunday, shooting a career-low final round of 62 for good measure.
It’s fabulous stuff and a reminder to any players going through a difficult spell that you can turn it around.
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