McIlroy happy with Masters prep & Furyk to name VC’s

Bernie McGuire
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McIlroy happy with Masters prep & Furyk to name VC’s

Halfway through an eight-tournament stretch leading to the Masters and Rory McIlroy has given up a thumbs-up to his Augusta preparations.

In an unprecedented move, McIlroy has entered eight tournaments, two on the European Tour and six in the States, with the  goal being to be better-prepared heading to the year’s first Major.

McIlroy has now played four of those eight events finishing third in Abu Dhabi, second in Dubai, missing the cut at Pebble Beach and sharing 20th place, nine shots behind Bubba Watson, in Sunday’s conclusion to the Genesis Open.

And McIlroy was asked to assess his game following the close of the Tour’s ‘West Coast Swing’.

“Everything feels okay,” he said. “I feel all aspects of my game are decent. A couple areas I need to tighten up.”

“I hit one really destructive tee shot at the Genesis which cost me a double and sort of stopped me in my tracks, but apart from that I’m feeling pretty good about everything.”

“Last week when I started well I would then bogey a hole straightaway afterwards. It sort of stops you in your tracks and you have to go all over again, just a little bit of that.”

“But overall, as I keep saying, my game feels in good shape. As long as I just keep playing and keep sharpening up these little areas or little things in the rounds that keep me from turning a 69 into a 66, there’s not that much difference.”

“So, it’s just keep playing, keep practicing and it should all sort of come together nicely.”

The World No. 10 tees-up in this week’s Honda Classic, an event where he went to World No. 1 with victory in 2012 before a week off and then he heads to the Florida west coast for a first appearance in the Valspar Championship.

McIlroy will then cross back to Orlando for the Arnold Palmer Invitational before heading to Texas for the March 21st starting WGC – Dell Technologies Match-Play in the capital, Austin.

Spare a thought though for fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell who was just two shots off the lead heading to the Genesis Open final round and then just one off the top spot when he birdied the first.

Everything just turned pear-shaped for ‘G Mac’ in horribly dropping seven shots from his third to 15th holes, including five bogeys from the 10th to the 15th.

McDowell, looking for a first PGA Tour win since the end of 2015, slumped to finish joint 26th on the back of his score of 77. His only joy is moving-up 11 spots on the World Rankings to No. 208.

MEANTIME

USA Ryder Cup captain, Jim Furyk is to host a news conference at 9pm Tuesday night Irish time.

Furyk will be on hand at PGA of American HQ, just a short distance from PGA National and host to the Honda Classic, to announce the first of his Versailles vice-captains.

He is expected to announce the appointment of Steve Stricker, hot favourite for the 2020 USA captaincy, along with Davis Love III and possibly Tiger Woods.

However, Woods threw a spanner of sorts into the works last week suggesting he would like to be heading to France as both a player and a vice-captain.

Furyk, who returned to competition last week at the Genesis remarked on Woods comments saying:  “I don’t think it’s possible.  It could happen, but we’re in February.”

“Tiger’s played two events and he looks pretty solid and now we’re talking Ryder Cup. It just shows you how good he’s been.”

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