Unrealistic to win majors at Tiger-like pace, says McIlroy

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Rory McIlroy says it is unrealistic to expect him to continue winning majors at the same rate as early in his career.
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Reuters

China’s Li Haotong in action during the practice round for the 147th British Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, yesterday.

Rory McIlroy says it is unrealistic to expect him to continue winning majors at the same rate as early in his career, but it is not for the want of trying that he has been treading water the past few years.

McIlroy won four majors in his early twenties in three years between 2011 and 2014, but will tee off at the British Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, today trying to end a 14-major drought.

“My performances in the majors at that point wasn’t my normal level,” the Northern Irishman told a news conference yesterday.

“That was above my normal level and then you go back down, and then you build yourself back up again.

“There are going to be times when you struggle with this and with that.

“What (Tiger Woods) did — it was 11 years and he won 14 major championships — I mean that’s pretty ridiculous in anyone’s book.

“I’m certainly not expecting to go on that sort of a tear but as long as I give myself chances ... hopefully, you’ll find a way to get it done.”

McIlroy, 29, comes into the Open with questions over whether he has lost his old magic after being overshadowed recently by a bunch of American players younger than himself.

A poor finish at the US Masters in April, when he started the final round in second place but was never a factor after failing to make a short putt at the second hole, was followed by a missed cut at the US Open.

McIlroy points out that winning is tough at any time, though he did not find it too demanding when he blew away the field for his first major win, by eight strokes, at the 2011 US Open.

“I’m trying my best every time I tee it up,” he said.

McIlroy recently read a book that offers advise on being disciplined and paring life down to the bare essentials, focusing on a few important things, rather than spreading oneself too thin. “I try to see the bigger picture and try to have some perspective in my life,” he said.

If McIlroy does have an advantage at this Open, it’s not just that he played well at Carnoustie in 2007.

He’s also finished no worse than fifth in his last three Opens, including his win at Liverpool.

If there’s any added pressure at this Open, though, it’s because next year the tournament moves to Royal Portrush in McIlroy’s native Northern Ireland, where he would like nothing better than to play as the defending champion.

“I’d obviously be very happy and be very proud to be the defending champion at a golf course that I know very well and playing in front of home fans,” McIlroy said. “Geez, if it all worked out like that this week I’d be one very happy man heading out of here.”

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