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McIlroy ready for US PGA title defence

International Sports

Mcllroy retyurns from injury Mcllroy retyurns from injury Rory McIlroy says his ankle is fine, so he’s back, just in time to try to defend his title at this week’s PGA Championship.


If you didn’t miss him in the two months that he has been gone, that’s perfectly acceptable to him, because, truth be told, he didn’t miss golf all that much himself.


“I honestly thought it was going to be harder than it was,” McIlroy said Wednesday, talking about being gone during a stretch of the summer that would have included his defense of his British Open title.


“I thought I was going to miss it more than I did. But if anything, having to sit those tournaments out  especially the Open Championship going back to St. Andrews, which is probably my favorite venue in the world gave me a huge sense of perspective.


When you’re playing week in, week out and you’re thinking about winning these tournaments, you get so wrapped up in what you’re doing and your own little life and your own little bubble, sometimes you forget there’s a bigger, wider world out there.”

These are not made-up quotes. A 21st century professional athlete really said this.

“No matter whether you win a golf tournament or not, people are going to get up on Monday morning and go to work and do their daily things and honestly not a lot of people care.


It’s like, you know, obviously it means a lot to you and it means a lot to people involved in this game and in golf, and in sport in general, I guess, but it just gave me a big sense of perspective that even though it does mean so much to me and so much to a few other people, in the big scheme of things, it’s not life or death.


And that’s something that I can bring in with me this week, knowing that, OK, it’s a big deal, but no matter what happens this week, only a very small percentage of the population really care.”

I realize we have fallen in love with Jordan Spieth and why not? but here’s a vote to not forget about why most of us found McIlroy so refreshing before we ever heard Spieth’s name.

McIlroy and Spieth will be paired in the PGA’s first two rounds with British Open champion Zach Johnson. It’s a group that has won the last five major titles: two for the 26-year-old McIlroy, two for the 22-year-old Spieth and one for the 39-year-old Johnson.

McIlroy and Spieth are a dream pairing for 2015, and, should all go as planned, for 2025 as well.

“I’m not surprised at all that the narrative has went from me to Jordan and to both of us being here,” McIlroy said.


“Jordan has played phenomenal golf for the last 12 months. And even to win the first two majors of the year and have a great chance at St. Andrews, he’s taking up a lot of the limelight this year which is deservedly so. I mean it’s one of the best years of golf that we have seen in a long, long time.”

Not that this bothers McIlroy in the least.

“We live in such a world that everything happens so quickly that a year ago after I won this tournament, it was the Rory era and then Jordan wins the Masters and it’s the Jordan era.


And eras last about six months these days instead of 20 years. With social media and everything having to be instant, it’s the world that we live in.”

In the world golf rankings, McIlroy is No. 1 and Spieth is No. 2. McIlroy was asked who he thinks really is the best player in the world. He spent most of his answer squirming, trying to avoid naming himself.

“I mean, if you were to go by this year, you would have to say Jordan. I would say if you go over the last two years, I would say it’s probably a toss-up between Jordan and myself. That’s a hard one. It’s all a matter of opinion.”

A reporter pressed him for his opinion.

“I’ll tell you at the end of the week.”

The humility is obvious. So too is the mountain of confidence that is required when one ruptures an ankle ligament in the heart of the golf season, yet comes back acting as if he has missed nothing at all.

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