World number one within McIlroy’s reach at Farmers

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Rory McIlroy (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Fatiha Betscher

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Rory McIlroy will return to World No. 1 should he capture this week’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

It’s been well over four-years since McIlroy was last World No. 1 and that was in teeing-up in his defence of the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits but after claiming four titles and 19 top-10’s from 25 starts last term, the Holywood star’s confidence is sky high.

“I believe on my day I’m the best player in the world and I think I can do that for a long time,” McIlroy said recently.

But since he’s last officially held that honour, we’ve seen Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka rule the golf world.

“We all have egos out here,” McIlroy was quoted on Tuesday. “It is what it is. It’s a very selfish game. But I think once you get used to the position—Brooks has been No. 1 for a while, and DJ before that. I don’t think they rolled up to events thinking that way.

“But it’s a huge achievement. To be able to say you’ve held that spot for any amount of time in your career is huge. So yeah, would be great to get back there. But I’m coming out after a six-week break of not hitting any shots.”

“Look, it’s on the radar. If it doesn’t happen this week, I’ll have chances in the future.”

Koepka, who first went to World No. 1 for a fortnight in 2018, has been atop of the World Rankings for the past 39 weeks since capturing the 2019 PGA Championship.

McIlroy has been closing the gap on Koepka with a third in last year’s inaugural ZoZo Championship in Japan, a win the following week at the WGC- HSBC Champions in Shanghai and then closing out 2019 with a T4th finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

McIlroy has contested the Farmers Insurance Open just once in his career and that was a T5th result last year with Koepka taking a week off before returning to the Middle East to contest next week’s Saudi Invitational.

McIlroy will be Ireland’s sole representative in a field where Tiger Woods will aim to go one better than Sam Snead to capture the outright record of 83 career PGA Tour victories.

Thursday’s tee times (Irish time)

17.30 – Rory McIlroy

17.40 – Tiger Woods


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