McIlroy guns for major scalps
Aresurgent Rory McIlroy (caricature) is looking to end 2016 in style, starting by winning the prestigious World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai this week.
But the PGA Tour’s newlycrowned FedEx Cup champion will have to overcome all four of 2016’s first-time major winners and 40 of the world’s top 50 players in a star-studded field if he is to lift the title for the first time.
The list of champions of the tournament dubbed “Asia’s Major” reads like a who’s who of golf.
But the Northern Irishman’s illustrious name is missing from a WGC-HSBC Champions roll of honour featuring Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson, something McIlroy would love to put right.
“Here, yes, I’d love to tick that one off,” McIlroy told AFP.
“I’ve won in Hong Kong before. I’ve won in Shanghai but it wasn’t an officially sanctioned event at the time (the Shanghai Masters in 2011).
“I’d love to win in China again and I’ve played well enough on this golf course to win but just haven’t really done enough when it mattered. Hopefully this year will be the year to change that.”
The good news for McIlroy is that he appears finally to have put his injurywracked 2015 behind him.
McIlroy ripped ankle ligaments playing football and had to miss his British Open defence and a large chunk of last season.
And so wretched were his 2015 fortunes that when he got to Shanghai a year ago he was floored by a dodgy sandwich and severe food poisoning which meant he could not practise.
McIlroy did manage to tee off 12 months ago and finished tied 11th, the only time he has failed to make the top six at Sheshan.
“I’ve avoided the club sandwich this week,” joked McIlroy. “The aim is to get out of China in one piece. I’m taking every precaution to be in good shape,” he laughed. McIlroy still went on to win the Race to Dubai and it seemed his game had turned the corner, more so when he won the Irish Open in May. – AFP