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Born: 4 May 1989
Birthplace: Holywood, Northern Ireland
Resides: Florida, USA
Major Wins: 4
Euro or PGA Tour Wins: 23
Other Wins: 0
Grass Preference: Bermuda
Significant Life Events: Yes
GBC Wind Performance Rating: ⭐⭐
GBC Pressure Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Rory is a four time Major champion (2011 US Open, 2012 & 2014 US PGA and 2014 Open Championship) who has been destined for golfing greatness since an early age. Despite his wins to date, Rory is often criticised for not winning more often given he has a near flawless swing. Rory has now failed to add to his Major tally for five successive seasons and he will be looking to rectify this in 2020.
Rory turned 30 in 2019 and it was no coincidence that this significant birthday played a part in him to have his best year for several years. Whilst he didn't win a Major, he did win golf's "5th Major," The Players Championship, in March 2019 and also won a WGC event in July 2019. Including those wins, he won four times in one calendar year, something he hadn't done since 2015, meaning he finished the year as the 2nd ranked golfer in the world.
When golf stopped in 2020 due to Coronavirus, Rory was in the middle of a hot streak having recorded 7 consecutive top 5 finishes and had risen to number 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings. We saw a different Rory return post-lockdown and it later became clear when it emerged his was to become a father.
Rory and his wife, Erica, had their first child in August 2020. Whilst we would normally expect golfers to experience a bounce from the joy of a new arrival, we saw several golfers negatively affected in 2021 due to the way Covid is affecting travel and family life.
Rory appeared to be focused more on family than golf at the end of 2020 and it's likely that he may well prioritise his life this way until things return to normal.
SG: OFF THE TEE
SG: AROUND THE GREEN
Pressure Performance Analysis
Began the final round of the US Open 2 shots behind the leaders. Shot 73 to finish 5 shots behind Rahm, a poor performance by his standards.
Trailing by a shot going into the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship, Rory shot a final round 68 to win by a shot.
Began the final round of the Abu Dhabi Championship 1 shot ahead of Tyrrell Hatton. Shot 72 to finish 5 shots behind Hatton who shot 66. A really poor effort.
Rory headed into the final round of the Charles Schwab 3 shots back from leader Xander Schauffele. Started with a bogey at the par 5 1st (easiest hole on course) and played the front nine in 6 over par to completely eliminate himself. Finished 32nd, 9 shots behind winner Daniel Berger. Note it was first tournament back from Coronavirus with no fans present on course.
Rory shot 76 (joint worst of anyone in the top 15 in the final round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational when trailing Tyrrell Hatton by 2 shots with a round to go.
Rory held the joint lead going into the final round at The Genesis Invitational. He shot a 73 (2nd worst score of anyone in the top 16) to lose out by 3 shots in 5th place. Despite the collapse, Rory's overall record on the PGA Tour stands at eight wins from fourteen 54 hole leads.
Rory was 3 back going into the final round at The Farmers Insurance Open, shot an acceptable 69 but remained three shots off the pace.
Rory was two shots back after 54 holes at the DP World Tour Championship. Shot a 73 (joint worst of anyone in the top 15) to lose out by 7 shots.
Rory led by a shot at the WGC HSBC Champions with a round to go and shot a 68 to make a playoff against Xander Schauffele. He would win the playoff with a birdie at the first playoff hole.
Rory was three shots back going into the final round at the European Masters. Birdied 5 of the last 7 holes to shoot 67 and get in a playoff. Failed to win in Switzerland in a playoff for the second time in his career.
Rory shot a 4 under par final round at the Tour Championship to overcome a one shot deficit as they entered the final day (note - most of the third round and final round were played on the Sunday due to weather delays on the Saturday). Rory was comfortable winner in the end.
Held a one shot lead with 18 holes to go at the WGC FedEx St Jude Invitational but shot a 71 (joint worst score of anyone in the top 25) to slip to 4th.
Held the joint 54 hole lead at the Canadian Open before shooting a blistering 61 to win by 7 shots.
Avoid When Playing Here
Rory tends to struggle with Poa Annua greens as he mentions in significant quotes below. He's a player who is best avoided at events in California for that reason. Rory also struggles to win where he gets off to a slow start. He has 26 career victories and 23 of those wins have opened with a first round in the 60s. This also correlates with his poor record when trailing with one round to go, Rory takes on shots that he doesn't need to take on in an effort to make up ground.
Major and WGC Analysis
In 2020, Rory's best major finish was 5th at the Masters and this must represent his best chance in 2021. He actually played the last three rounds in fewer shots than winner Dustin Johnson and should he get off to a faster start he will be in with a great chance.
Looking at past results, Rory has a love/hate relationship with The Open Championship. He lifted the claret jug in 2014 and has four other top 5 finishes to his name. However, he also has several missed cuts and several bottom end finishes to his name. Rory has stated in the past that he doesn't enjoy poor weather conditions and when The Open was last held at Royal St George's he was quoted as saying, "I am not a fan of golf tournaments where the outcome is predicted so much by the weather, it is not my sort of golf. My game is suited for basically any golf course and most conditions, but these conditions I just don't enjoy playing in. That's the bottom line." It should be noted that Rory still finished 25th at St George's, despite some pretty awful weather. Any bet on Rory for The Open is weather dependant, there's no doubt he has the ability to win another Claret Jug but any antepost bet would be inadvisable.
Rory is a major threat in any of the WGC'S, as shown by his recent form. 2nd and 5th in his last two starts in Mexico, 4th at the FedEx St Jude Invitational in 2019 and a winner of the HSBC Champions in 2019.
Rory has a very poor record in playoffs but he did win his most recent playoff, defeating Xander Schauffele at the 2019 WGC HSBC Champions. He's overall very poor in a playoff situation though.
2020 Players Championship
Q. You said at the weekend that you wish you could have converted one of the recent top 5 finishes you've had coming into this week. Is there one thing that you can pinpoint that has held you back from crossing the finish line so far this year?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, just big numbers when I find myself in those positions. I made the triple bogey at Riviera early on Sunday, and I made the two double bogeys on the front nine last week. Just real untimely, poor shots. Not even poor shots but just -- like Riviera was very firm, as well, and if you missed it in the wrong spots, it got tricky, and I feel like that's what happened there and that's what happened at Bay Hill, as well. Especially on the par-5 sixth hole on Sunday, I hit a decent drive but didn't hold the fairway and tried to get the ball up as close as possible to the green so I had an easier third shot with the chip, and it went into the bunker and then I had a tricky shot. It was just -- maybe playing the percentages a little more if I had have made sure to stay short of that minute on 5 at Riviera, I wouldn't have brought 7 into play and then maybe staying short of that bunker on the 6th hole at Bay Hill last week, I wouldn't have brought the water into play with my next. So just those little things.
When the courses are playing that firm and that fast, those are the tiny little margins that make the difference. Yeah, so maybe just sort of dialing it back that five percent instead of trying to play the perfect shot to hit my next from, being okay with the 80-yard shot into the par-5 or the 40-foot putt below the hole. They're the things that make the difference, I guess.
2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational
"So good to be back. Course is in phenomenal shape. It's as good as I've seen it. It's nice to get back on Bermuda greens after the few weeks that I've started off on the poa annua. So, yeah, everything's good and game feels in good shape and looking forward to getting going."
2019 Tour Championship
Q. You've spoken a lot this season about not letting the highs get too high or the lows get too low, all the way since Maui. Is there something to the fact that you've had the most consistent year of your career, and you've also kind of reached this point in your career that you want to have these thoughts and make sure you don't get too high or too low?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I think so. Yeah, I think some of the work that I've put in on the mental side of the game and some of the things I've been doing, I definitely think you're starting to see the fruition of that, I guess. Even winning THE PLAYERS at the start of the year, THE PLAYERS is a tournament I've never won before, but I just did my job. I went out there and played solid golf and got the job done. Today again, I would have been disappointed if I didn't win because I've given myself so many chances. To get that third win of the year was big for me.
But yeah, there's something to just -- just a different approach, a little bit of a different attitude. I think I played 19 times on the PGA TOUR this year, 14 top 10s, three wins, I don't know how many final groups. So just that attitude and that consistency day in, day out, I think that's what you've seen over the course of this year, and hopefully will continue to see going forward.
Q. You've talked about the importance of the strokes gained stat. You've had multiple major seasons, but because of the importance of that stat, is this your best season, just playing-wise?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I think it is. We talk about consistency. I don't know what my strokes gained number finished at, whether it was 2-point --
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, the Holy Grail is three. I'm not going to stop until I get to three because Tiger has done that multiple seasons, and when you get to three strokes gained, you're just in another league. I mean, that's what I strive towards. One of my goals every year, plus three. I'm getting closer. It's been my best season to date. But all these little goals, like even today, I wanted to win -- so Patrick Cantlay, he went to No. 1 in the stroke average last week because of Medinah, and I a hundred percent knew that coming in this week, and I wanted to end the season with No. 1 stroke average. There's just little motivating factors that don't have to be about the tournament, but keep you where you need to be.