NASSAU, Bahamas (Reuters) — Rory McIlroy didn’t take long to recover from his DP World Tour Championship final-round collapse two weeks ago in Dubai, where he led by one stroke with four holes to play but finished in a tie for sixth.
In Thursday’s first round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Club, he wasted no time recovering from a terrible double-bogey seven on the par-5 ninth, where he found water with his second ball and hit a bad fourth.
McIlroy, on the other hand, shot a 6-under 66 with a 5-under-par 31 that included a pitch-in eagle on the par-4 14th. That put him in a tie for first place with Daniel Berger and Abraham Ancer in the star-studded 20-man field. Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, and Webb Simpson all fired back.
“It was wonderful to bring myself back in the tournament by playing the back nine the way I did,” McIlroy said.
Rory McIlroy has stated that he has re-emerged as a dominant force in golf since Europe’s humiliation at the Ryder Cup in September, when he finished the tournament 1-3-0 and Europe lost to the United States.
McIlroy won the CJ Cup in Las Vegas, his second victory in 2021 and his 20th PGA Tour title, in his first start after leaving the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. He then tied for sixth in Dubai and is currently leading after 18 holes in the Bahamas.
“I feel like I found something between the Ryder Cup and CJ in those couple weeks.” CJ was a pleasant surprise, since he appeared out of nowhere and boosted McIlroy’s confidence. “I was in the lead going into the last day in Dubai, I was in the lead with four holes to go, and I’m off to a fantastic start here as well.” I’ve had three really excellent starts since the Ryder Cup, shooting some good, low numbers.
“It’s just another chance to get into contention and experience that, you know, whatever it is you feel on Sunday when you’re trying to win a golf event,” he said. The more I can just get into that position and have those kinds of experiences, the more at ease I’ll be going forward.”
Despite his recent excellent performance on the golf course, he has one major flaw: time.
McIlroy remarked, “It sucks.” “I wish it was as nice as it was at the end of March.”
After this week, McIlroy will not play again until the third week of January in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, where he will begin his 2022 campaign. McIlroy, on the other hand, is not depressed, especially as he anticipates spending Christmas with his family, including his daughter, Poppy, who will be celebrating her second Christmas.
“It’s been a long year, and I’ve always enjoyed the holidays and Christmastime,” McIlroy said. “This will be Poppy’s second Christmas, and at least she’s at an age now where she understands and that will be enjoyable.” “I want to be completely immersed in it and fully there for it.”
“Yeah, look, I wish the way I’m playing was at a different time of year, but there’s no reason why I can’t pick up again in January and continuing playing the way I’m playing.” I’m not going to completely shut down the clubs for a few weeks; I’m going to keep myself ticking over these next few weeks.
“I’ll get out there two or three times a week and play and practice, but not as often as I have in the past because my game is in good shape and I want to keep it that way.”