When it comes to majors, Rory McIlroy is all business.
In an interview with the Irish Independent, the World No. 2 recalled the strange circumstances in which he captured his fourth major title at the PGA Championship at Valhalla in 2014, telling Paul Kimmage that his competitors may have unwittingly spurred him to victory.
After a weather delay, the PGA of America condensed the tee times, leading to a logjam in the tee boxes, so Rory McIlroy, who was leading the tournament, found himself next to Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, who were chasing him.
Check out the exchange below.
Kimmage: There’s a brilliant passage about that final round in Valhalla in Slaying The Tiger by Shane Ryan. There’s a delay on one of the tees, and Mickelson and Fowler are there, and they want to engage you, but you’re not having it. You’re staying in your zone: ‘We’re not pals here. This is war.’
Kimmage: How conscious were you of that?
McIlroy: I was conscious of it. I was over-par on the front nine and struggling a bit and I see the two boys ahead chipping in and holing putts. And I saw them fist-pump coming off one of the greens and remember thinking: ‘What the f— are they doing?’
McIlroy: ‘This is a Major championship! You’re trying to beat each other! This isn’t the Ryder Cup here!’ And it did, it annoyed me. I thought: ‘I’m going to beat these two.’ And that’s sort of what turned it for me.