McIlroy searches for answers heading into US Open

Updated: 2013-06-11 08:42

By Agence France-Presse in Ardmore, Pennsylvania (China Daily)

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McIlroy searches for answers heading into US Open

Rory McIlroy has shown grit, worked on his putting and given himself chances to win. Now the world No 2 hopes to put everything together and win his second US Open in three years.

McIlroy, who took his first major title two years ago at the US Open at Congressional, goes into next week's 113th US Open at Merion trying to find consistency after a season that has tested his determination and perseverance.

"It has been a little bit of a frustrating year," McIlroy said. "It seems like every time that I've got a bit of momentum, I take two steps forward and then take one step back. But I'm getting there. It's very close."

McIlroy struggled at the start of the season, adjusting to new clubs from Nike, but seemed to find his form with a runner-up effort at the Texas Open only to settle for 25th the following week at the Masters.

The 24-year-old from Northern Ireland followed with top-10 efforts at Quail Hollow and the Players Championship, only to settle for a share of 57th last week at the Memorial.

"I feel good going into the second major of the year and there's still a lot of golf to be played this year," McIlroy said.

"It's one of these years where I'm waiting for one week where it all clicks together and then I can get on a run. I've had a couple of chances to win this year and I haven't taken them. I've had a few indifferent performances as well.

"When this all clicks into place one week, I should be off and running."

Still, his putting was worrisome enough that he consulted with coach Dave Stockton last week.

"Dave Stockton was at Memorial for a couple of days, trying to get me to hole some more putts," McIlroy said.

"The ball striking has not really been an issue this year. I've actually hit the ball pretty well from tee to green, and I've given myself a lot of opportunities, but didn't take as many as I should have.

"If I keep hitting the ball the way I know I can and hole putts, I'll hopefully be in the winner's circle."

McIlroy, who won last year's PGA Championship and two events in the US PGA playoffs that followed, recalled how he missed the cut last year at the Players and Memorial and US Open and wondered how much worse things could get before collecting his second major title at Kiawah Island.

"I'm definitely not too far away, where last year at this point, I feel like I didn't know if I would ever play good again," McIlroy said.

"It's just the way golf is. There are so many highs and lows and you've just got to try to keep the lows as high as possible and just try to keep it on an even keel. I'm feeling pretty good about my game."

McIlroy plays down his rivalry with world No 1 Tiger Woods, who also struggled at Memorial but who has won four times this year and will try to end a five-year major win drought at Merion.

"I don't think Tiger was ever gone," McIlroy said. "He had a few struggles or whatever but he won four times this year. I've played with him quite a bit over the past 12 months and his game is there. He's playing very well.

"He's got 14 majors and I've got two. I need to start winning a lot and regularly and win a few more majors if I want to even try and call whatever this is a rivalry."

McIlroy is the oddsmakers' favorite among the Europeans hoping to make a run at a major title at Merion. Reigning Masters champion Adam Scott of Australia and Memorial winner Matt Kuchar are also favored.

World No 5 Justin Rose of England, his seventh-ranked countryman Luke Donald and eighth-ranked Graeme McDowell, McIlroy's countryman who ended a 40-year European win drought at the US Open in 2010, are also in the hunt.

(China Daily 06/11/2013 page11)

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