McIlroy: Winning a major would be ‘final piece of the puzzle’

Ronan MacNamara
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Rory McIlroy after winning his fifth Race to Dubai title in November (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Rory McIlroy’s goal for his 18th season on tour is to end his decade long major championship drought.

McIlroy hasn’t won a major title since lifting his fourth crown at the 2014 PGA Championship in August 2014 and as he enters his tenth season without claiming one of golfs’ big four events he hopes that his newfound consistency in the majors can finally see him secure an elusive fifth championship.

The Holywood clubman won four majors in as many years between 2011 and 2014 and in the last nine seasons he has registered 20 top-10 finishes without lifting a fifth major.

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McIlroy has seven top-10s in his last ten starts at the Masters – although two missed cuts in his last three- while after missing three successive US Open cuts he has reeled off five top-9 finishes in a row, including runner-up to Wyndham Clark at LA Country Club last year.

In the Open Championship the 34-year-old has finished third and T6 in his last two starts with three top-8s in his last five starts at the PGA Championship.

“Yeah, it is, it’s nice to have a little bit more free time again, whether that’s more time on the golf course and practising, or a bit more time with my family or doing other things that I enjoy doing. It’s going to be nice,” McIlroy said ahead of the inaugural Dubai Invitational.

“Yeah, I’m excited for the year. This is my 18th full season on tour, which is mad to think about. But I’m as excited as I was for the first one.

“I think every new year, new year, new opportunities, new goals, and you know, my consistency’s really been there over the last couple years, and without winning one of the big ones, and I think that’s the final piece of the puzzle for me, especially coming out of COVID and sort of going through some dips in my game and then coming back up and playing so well the last couple years. The final piece of the puzzle is trying to knock off one of those four.”

The quest to complete the puzzle begins in April at the Masters where McIlroy’s latest jaunt at clinching a fifth major gong will coincide with his latest Career Grand Slam bid.

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