For a while, it felt destined that Rory McIlroy would never win another major championship. No matter how well he played in PGA Tour events, he just couldn’t seem to bring his A-game to the four biggest tournaments, and that left many questioning his credentials as an elite player.
However, the last few months have seen McIlroy begin to re-assert himself at the very upper echelons of professional golf. While that elusive fifth major has not come just yet, the Northern Irishman has been putting together some good results which suggest that his moment in the sun might not be too far away.
It all began in round four of the Masters at Augusta earlier this year. An average performance in his opening three rounds had left McIlroy struggling to keep pace with the leaders, but he exploded into life on Masters Sunday. A stunning round of 64 saw him shoot up the leaderboard, and whilst it wasn’t enough to rein in eventual winner Scottie Scheffler, it showed that McIlroy still had the ability to produce his best when up against it.
Then came another decent showing at the PGA Championship, where McIlroy finished 8th, with an unfortunate 74 in round three leaving him just off the pace of the leaders as the tournament came to a close. But there was enough bite in McIlroy’s performance to suggest that he wasn’t far off getting his hands on another major.
A win in the Canadian Open the week before the US Open had many thinking that the Northern Irishman was poised to get his hands on the trophy at Brookline, Massachusetts. Indeed, he was among the tournament favourites in the sports betting online at SkyBet.com. Again though, McIlroy’s performance was just a shade below what was required, as he finished four shots off eventual winner Matt Fitzpatrick.
It feels as though McIlroy’s fifth major triumph is going to come sooner or later, and he still has one more chance this year at the 150th edition of the Open Championship, which is being played at the historic St Andrews. What a story it would be if McIlroy could get back on the major championship winners trail on such a poignant occasion.
There is a sense that McIlroy is now more comfortable with the fact that it has been so many years since his last major triumph. For a while he looked to be struggling with the pressure in many majors, not least in the 2019 Open, where he missed the cut at his home course Royal Portrush.
Those doubts seem to have been lifted, and he has played with a greater freedom this year. His past triumphs now seem to weigh less heavily on his shoulders, and it appears he is enjoying his golf more than ever. You only needed to watch his final round at the Masters, or indeed his victory at the Canadian Open, to understand just how much pleasure McIlroy is getting from these recent strong performances.
For fans of the 33-year-old, there is hope that the Open could be the moment McIlroy finally brings an end to the long wait for a fifth major.