High Hopes For McIlroy Ahead of US PGA Tee-Off

Jake Cooper | 12 Oct 2016

As the world’s top golfers prepare for the US PGA Championship which begins at Valhalla on Thursday, Rory McIlroy has played down talk of a “Rory era.”

Despite his recent form, McIlroy has been rebuffing comments suggesting that this is ‘the start of a new era’ as he prepares to tee off at the US PGA Championship. Currently ranked number one in the world, McIlroy has won his last two tournaments and is favourite at win at Valhalla this week, which would be his fourth Major victory.

The 25-year-old has enough pressure on his shoulders ahead of the tournament without talk of a ‘Rory era’, which he claims is premature.

“I’ve had a great run over the past few months, but sometimes people are too quick to jump on the bandwagon,” said the Northern Irish golfer.

“It’s nice to win a few tournaments and get back to where I feel I should be, but I’m not sure you can call that the start of an era.”

McIlroy did claim, however, that his confidence in his game was higher than ever following his recent success at the Royal Liverpool and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone.

He’s also been training hard to improve his strength, gaining crucial muscle weight that could help boost his game.

“I’ve started to work harder in the gym and I’ve got stronger in certain areas,” he said.

McIlroy will tee-off at 18:45 (BST-5) with Bubba Watson (USA) and Martin Kaymer (GER).

In other US PGA news, it is still undecided at this stage whether Tiger Woods will take part in the Championship.

The American pulled out of last weekend’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational after suffering from problems with his back. The usual deadline for registration at the US PGA is 17.00 on the eve of the tournament but Woods, a four-time winner of the Major, has been granted an extension until just 10 minutes before Thursday’s tee-off.

It is thought that Woods may struggle if he decides to play at Valhalla.

Former Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie told BBC Radio 5 live: “This is a big golf course and the rough is heavy again. He’s hitting the ball – I hate to say – not straight; he will be in the rough and he will suffer.

“Obviously we would love him to play – it’s a bigger and better event when he does.”

The US PGA Championship is the last Major of the season, and begins outside of Louisville in Kentucky on Thursday.