Rory eyes major statement
Northern Irishman in positive mood ahead of USPGA Championship
Last Updated: August 8, 2012 6:35pm
Rory McIlroy: Looking to claim his second major title at Kiawah Island this week
Rory McIlroy is aiming to end the major season on a high this weekend by landing the USPGA title in South Carolina.
The final major of the season has been christened "Glory's Last Shot" and it will provide McIlroy with a chance to put a real gloss on what has been and up and down year.
The world number three, who could dethrone Luke Donald at the top of the world rankings again with a top-two finish at Kiawah Island, started 2012 in exceptional form.
But he trailed home 40th at The Masters, made an early exit from the US Open during a miserable run of four missed cuts in five starts and, after a promising first day, fell away to 60th in The Open at Royal Lytham.
McIlroy feels there have been plenty of positives to take from his season, but admits he would love to instantly convert it into a stellar campaign with another major victory this week.
"There were a few goals I set myself at the start of the year, which I achieved - getting to number one in the world and winning a tournament early," the 23-year-old Northern Irishman said at a stormy Kiawah Island on Wednesday.
"The second-half has still been pretty good, but a little bit more of a struggle.
"If I had to give my season a grade to this point I'd probably give it a B, but there's still a lot of golf left to play."
After this week he goes into the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup play-offs, then comes the Ryder Cup in Chicago - a match now very much in his focus after European captain Jose Maria Olazabal brought the 10 players currently in position to qualify together for a meeting yesterday.
Change of approach
McIlroy concedes his approach to tournaments is changing somewhat and revealed he no longer considers hour after hour on the driving range good for him.
"I think certain players feel like they need to be on the range for two or three hours a day and really work on drills. I feel I practise much better on the course when I can see different shots and work off different targets - and just play."
Rory McIlroy Quotes of the week
"I need to get out there and play, see shots on the course," he said. "I think certain players feel like they need to be on the range for two or three hours a day and really work on drills.
"I feel I practise much better on the course when I can see different shots and work off different targets - and just play.
"I'll still go and practise on the range and work on things that I have to, but once I feel comfortable that I've done that I want to go on the course and make sure it's good out there."
A fifth place finish at last week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational was clearly a massive improvement on The Open and he likes what he sees at Pete Dye's Ocean Course, scene not only of two World Cups, but also the 1991 "War on the Shore" Ryder Cup.
The last 16 majors have had 16 different winners, but McIlroy looks as likely as anyone to stop that sequence continuing.
Justin Rose, joint fifth with McIlroy on Sunday, would love to see it go to 17 with him winning his first major, of course, and it is more familiar surroundings for him than most of the field - he finished second with Paul Casey behind South Africans Trevor Immelman and Rory Sabbatini in the 2003 World Cup.
Casey is also in this week's field, but now down at 93rd in the world after making just one halfway cut since he dislocated his shoulder snowboarding last Christmas.