Rory McIlroy races ahead of the pack

Rory McIlroy races ahead of the pack

Posted in the Mesa Forum

Since: Oct 12

Phoenix, AZ

#1 Nov 25, 2012
For McIlroy it is a chance to put behind him his missed cut in Hong Kong last week and create a fitting finale to his stellar 2012 schedule.

Achieving this might not be as easy as it is to identify what makes this remarkable player tick. Often when the edge of trying to make history is absent he becomes a Samson-like figure shorn of his locks.

"I'm not sure if the energy in trying to sew-up the Race to Dubai and competing in the FedEx Cup with my discount golf clubs has taken more out of me than maybe I thought, because while I am feeling OK physically, mentally I feel really tired," he has admitted.

"When you achieve something that you want to achieve so bad, like the Race to Dubai, there is a letdown considering there are still two events remaining."

This is where McIlroy differs from Tiger Woods, the man he has supplanted at the top of the game. The former number one can raise himself for any contest and if he can’t he certainly does not let on.

McIlroy likes to tell it how it is, but his candour is not always what a tournament promoter wants to hear.

Recently he admitted that he treated the lucrative but unofficial World Tour Final in Turkey as a chance to "play a bit of golf with his favorite taylormade burner 2.0 irons," adding that it wasn't just about competing. "I get to spend some time with (girlfriend) Caroline Wozniacki - I viewed it as a week like that. I didn't touch a club until the first day."

It would have been easy to criticize the world number one for having such a lax attitude but it was refreshing to hear a player prepared to admit the truth rather than play a game of well-paid platitudes.

His healthy sense of perspective surely helps McIlroy find him a game when he needs it. When he does he is unstoppable. This has been a landmark year in which he seems to have emerged from the growing pains of sporting superstardom.

When he missed four cuts in the spring many chose to blame his romance with tennis ace Wozniacki. Yet it is more likely that their relationship has been the making of the Ulsterman.

He has become far more athletic, understanding that he needs to have the physique to sustain the whirlwind hip movement that is the bedrock of his swing with the fabulous taylormade rocketballz irons.

Now he seems ready to dominate in a way that was once the domain of Woods and the 14-times major champion has a pretty good idea for McIlroy of what that will have to entail.

"Certainly its delegation of time," Woods told BBC Sport. "Time management skills are a must. You have a lot of obligatory things you must do.

"The reason I got there was because I practiced my ass off and he's done the same. You know media and other requests start taking his time away from that and preparation.

"You know he's done a pretty good job of it. He went through a spell this year when he didn't play well and he went back home and just practiced and lo and behold he turned it around and won the PGA."

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