Relaxed Rory McIlroy can make PGA Tour stars regret rejection as Valhalla return looms

Relaxed Rory McIlroy can make PGA Tour stars regret rejection as Valhalla return looms

Rory McIlroy claimed after his victory at the Wells Fargo Championship on Sunday that the ‘stars are starting to align’ ahead of this week’s U.S. PGA, and the Northern Irishman could well be right.

McIlroy has found himself at the centre of the ongoing off-course saga in professional golf, and happy hunting ground Quail Hollow proved no different. The 35-year-old’s quest to make a return to the PGA Tour’s policy board was rejected by his fellow players, having previously resigned as a player director last November.

The rejection however could well have poked the bear, which may prove a real on-course problem for his rivals. Days after being turned down, McIlroy did the talking with his golf game, storming to a resounding fourth Wells Fargo win.

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Having entered Sunday’s final round a shot behind Xander Schauffele, the Northern Irishman showed exactly why he is one of top players of his generation, carding a six-under-par 65 in round four, leaving him five shots better off than the wilting Schauffele. There is no doubt McIlroy has not been at his best so far in 2024, despite having two wins in his locker going into last week.

The same could be said for the last two years, with the world No.2’s in-play efforts appearing to be distracted by the ongoing noise between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. McIlroy’s services to the PGA Tour can only be commended, having repeatedly put his neck on the line to back the Tour during the dispute with their Saudi rivals.

This no doubt made the American-based circuit’s decision to align with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF) all the tougher to take for the four-time major champion having repeatedly towed the line of Jay Monahan and co. McIlroy himself admitted he felt like the Tour’s ‘sacrificial lamb’ in the immediate aftermath of the framework agreement, however the Tour had the chance to redeem themselves after the Northern Irishman offered his services once more in recent weeks.

Despite his previous efforts however the Wells Fargo champ was left stranded once more, which will have only added fire to the belly. On the course, McIlroy’s recent rally has come at the perfect time, with the second major championship of the campaign now just days away.

As well as heading to this week’s PGA Championship a man in form, the European Ryder Cup star returns to the course in which he won his last major title in 2014. The event heads to Valhalla for the first time in 10 years, and the man who got his hands on The Wanamaker Trophy at the Kentucky track last time around was McIlroy.

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