Golf Champs
Is this McIlroy’s Major?
Updated 29 days ago

It feels like the stars are aligning.

That’s not us saying this by the way. That’s Rory McIlroy.

After his most recent PGA Tour victory, McIlroy heads into this week’s PGA Championship feeling a little more confident than usual about ending his 10-year Major victory drought.

And maybe he has a point.

His last Major victory was the 2014 PGA Championship. At Valhalla Golf Club, the same venue as this week’s PGA Championship. Valhalla is known in Norse mythology as the “hall of slain warriors”. McIlroy has been a bit of slain warrior in golf at Major level this past decade. And finally, the northern sky has been lit up by the Aurora Borealis of late. Why this last point has anything to do with golf, we have no idea. But it does have something to do with the sky, which is close enough. So there we go, the stars are indeed aligning for McIlroy.

Sir Nick Faldo though believes McIlroy’s short game, rather than the stars, should be doing the aligning.

In explaining to Golf Digest why he believes McIlroy hasn’t won more Majors, Faldo declared, “On average he’s the best driver in the world, but from nine-iron on down, he’s often been terrible for a player of his talent. Far too often, I’ve seen him hit it 320 down the middle, then flare or pull wedge to 50 feet and three-putt it. That is a killer. It does more damage than just on the scorecard. It eats away at your self-belief and trust. Rory knows he’s wasted dozens if not hundreds of shots over the years with his short irons. Now he’s 10 years without a Major. There’s a definite connection.”

Of course, McIlroy isn’t playing alone this week.

Brooks Koepka is defending a Major he’s won three times already, and still looks to be one of the few golfers currently competing in LIV Golf who has been able to effectively translate his form there – another win in Singapore – to the Majors.

We had our eye on Xander Schauffele for the Masters and that didn’t really materialise, although it was still a top-10. And he’s been too good in the Majors for too long not to get a break soon. And then there’s Ludvig Aberg, who forgot that you don’t win the Masters on debut and came close with his runner-up finish.

And our very own Christiaan Bezuidenhout. Bezuidenhout has been looking so consistent on the PGA Tour and his self-belief is growing fast.

Oh, and that Scottie Scheffler guy. He’s just become a dad. There’s a story of stars aligning for you.

The rest of the South African challenge is a tantalising one.

Ryan van Velzen makes his Major debut on the back of a superb last Sunshine Tour season in which he finished top of the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit delivered by The Courier Guy.

Dean Burmester received an invitation into this one and adds to a South African challenge that includes Erik van Rooyen and Thriston Lawrence.

So, it’s off to Valhalla then.

Or, as they say in old Norse: sigra morgun - stýr degi! (Conquer the morning – master the day!).

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