In contrast to what most people would expect, Rory McIlroy celebrated ending an 18-month winless drought with two scoops of ice-cream and two glasses of red before falling asleep watching video highlights of his Arnold Palmer victory.
McIlroy drove the three-hours from Orlando south to his Bear’s Club abode in Jupiter with wife, Erica and caddy Harry Diamond after a first win since his marriage and his first win with Diamond, who was his best man, on the bag.
But after the excitement of birding five of his closing six holes in a sensational last day 64 McIlroy admitted he fell asleep in front of the ‘box’ with still three holes to play.
He did manage to down two scoops of Ben & Jerry ice-cream and two glasses of Opus1 red.
“I had one scoop of American Dream and a scoop of Salted Caramel Core and two glasses of Opus1 and crashed,” McIlroy said smiling.
“The Salted Caramel Core has the sticky caramel bit in the middle.”
“But it was just great to go back home and celebrate my first win since I was married, my first win with Harry on the bag and my first win with new clubs so I kind of got the monkey off my back.”
“Erica was also beginning to wonder … no, no and, of course, she wasn’t (laughing) and not putting any pressure on me. Not at all.”
“A lot of things happened in my life last year and it was just coincidence, and it’s all just validation that the things I have done over the past year I have done them for the right reasons, and it helped.”
And as McIlroy heads into this week’s WGC – Dell Technologies Match-Play championship a favourite to win for a second week running, the now World No. 7 refused to be drawn into negative comments from the likes of controversial Golf Channel analyst, Brandel Chamblee and NBC’s Johnnie Miller.
“I don’t care because people don’t know the full story,” he said. “They make comments and they speculate but they don’t have 100% of the facts so they never really know.”
“I am not in the game to prove people wrong. I’m here to win. I’ve learned a lot time ago I can’t please everyone. There’s going to be people that don’t like how you do things and I can’t change their opinion.”
“And hopefully when I do try my best and I do my best, I’m able to produce results like you saw on Sunday.”
McIlroy also revealed in chatting with Brad Faxon on the Monday before heading to Orlando regarding his putting, footballing footballing great, Wayne Rooney came into the conversation.
“Brad and I were talking about different sports and he was talking about a free throw shooter in basketball or he was trying to say even something you relate it to with football back home or whatever,” said McIlroy.
“We were talking about triggers, how do you start your putting stroke? Everyone has different ways to start their swings or strokes. And I sort of said Wayne Rooney, before he takes a free kick or before he takes a penalty, he taps his toe on the ground before he actually starts his run up. And I sort of noticed it when I shot a Nike commercial with him a few years ago. That was really what it was.”
It prompted McIlroy to be asked what sort of a golfer is Rooney. “He’s a pretty awful golfer but clearly a good footballer,” McIlroy said smiling
McIlroy is among 64 players teeing up in Austin, Texas and with the leading 16 after three days of round-robin competition to contest the weekend match-play stages of the $10m event.