Another major championship has come and gone, and Rory McIlroy’s drought continues.
While that was disappointing for the No. 2-ranked player in the world, and it is now at least a decade between major championship victories at the best, McIlroy is trying to keep things in perspective.
“In the last two years, would I like to choose one of the ones I finished there? Absolutely,” said McIlroy after his T6 finish at the British Open last Sunday. “But every time I tee it up or usually tee it up, I’m there. I can’t sit here and be so disappointed. … I’m optimistic about the future and have to keep plugging away.”
McIlroy’s last major championship victory came in 2014, when he won both the British Open and the PGA Championship. That coincidence marked the last time the British Open was also played at Royal Liverpool.
Since then, McIlroy has done almost everything possible in the world of golf. He has won 15 times on the PGA Tour, repeatedly claimed the top spot in the world rankings, and he won the FedExCup three times — including last season, when he also won the DP World Tour title. McIlroy has also become the face of the PGA Tour in its battle against LIV Golf, although the two leagues have since agreed to a merger of classes.
McIlroy, however, looks unlikely to win another major title despite being in the midst of another impressive season. He won last week’s Genesis Scottish Open, and has now finished in the top 10 in three of the four major championships this year. He has yet to finish outside the top 10 in his last seven starts, and McIlroy was narrowly beaten by Wyndham Clark at last month’s US Open in Los Angeles.
“When I finally win the next major, it will be really, really sweet,” he said in June at the Los Angeles Country Club. “I’m going to go through 100 Sundays like this to get my hands on one more major championship.”
While he had a strong week – McIlroy’s worst round was a similar performance on Thursday – he didn’t have much of a chance in Hoylake, England. Brian Harman ran away with the tournament on Friday, extending a huge five-shot lead that he held through a rain-deprived finish on Sunday. Harman reached 13-under on the week, giving him a six-shot victory in his first major title. McIlroy is seven shots back in a tie for sixth with Emiliano Grillo.
“My score improved every day,” McIlroy said. “I missed a few putts yesterday, I felt like I putted better today. It was just tough. I had to go out and shoot something like 63, 64-ish, but it’s really hard to do that in the conditions. I had a really good start, but it’s just hard to keep that going, as you can see from the leaderboard that nobody is too low.
As his drought continues, McIlroy insists he’s not tracking or counting down the days until Augusta National.
His focus now, he said, is to defend his FedExCup title. That’s all he can do.
“I’m not like that. I’m thinking about trying to go and win a fourth FedExCup here in a week’s time, go and try and win a fifth Race in Dubai, go and win a fifth Ryder Cup,” McIlroy said. “I just keep looking forward.”