Rory McIlroy learned something important about himself during emotional Ryder Cup

“I think when I play my best, I'm the best player in the world."

Rory McIlroy learned something important about himself during emotional Ryder Cup

LAS VEGAS – Rory McIlroy couldn’t hold back the tears.

After defeating Xander Schauffele in the leadoff singles match in the Ryder Cup last month, McIlroy looked at the scoreboard and saw mostly red flags and knew instantly Team USA was routing his European mates.

It was McIlroy’s second loss in the biennial tussle in six editions and he had an emotional explosion during an interview just after beating Schauffele, 3 and 2. It was the lone point McIlroy earned against three losses during the week. And through genuine, raw, tearful moments of agony, he talked about his love for his team and the event and how much the loss hurt him.

It was a telling interview.

“I don’t necessarily get that emotional about golf, so I guess in that way it surprised me. But as you know, it’s a very emotionally charged week,” McIlroy said Wednesday after his pro-am round for the CJ Cup at The Summit. “There were so many different thoughts and emotions. There was relief that I won a point, there was frustration that I didn’t get more out of myself and disappointment I didn’t do more for the team, so there was so many sort of different emotions sort of going through me there and it was all just a little overwhelming in a way.

“But I think it was a good thing for me. I think I realized a couple of things about myself that I hadn’t, or maybe I had known but I was maybe trying to keep down and not let them out. I was surprised at how emotional I got, but then after a little bit of reflection over the last couple of weeks, I realized why I did get that way.”

Part of what he learned about himself during the outburst was to be true to himself. He’s often talked about the game not defining him, not being his top priority, that you win some and you lose some and you move on. The approach tempers the blow of defeat but can be a crutch.

“I think sometimes I give myself too easy of a time and I try to play it off with, you know, golf doesn’t define me and I’ve got balance in my life and I’m happy away from the course,” McIlroy said. “And that’s obviously very true, but if I’m honest, sometimes I sort of maybe use that as a way to lessen the blow if I don’t play good golf.”

McIlroy hasn’t played his best golf of late. In March, he fell out of the top-10 in the world rankings for the first time since 2018 and he’s currently No. 14. He hasn’t added to his four major championships since winning the 2014 PGA. He won the Wells Fargo Championship earlier this year for his 19th PGA Tour title, but he’s earned just three top-10s in 11 starts since.

But the competitive fire still burns inside McIlroy. He wants win No. 20 on the PGA Tour and the lifetime membership that comes with it. He wants major No. 5 and more. He wants to be No. 1 again.

“I think when I play my best, I’m the best player in the world,” he said. “Haven’t played like that for a while, though, but I don’t feel like I need to go that far back to whenever the pandemic hit, whatever it was, 18 months ago, I was the No. 1 player in the world.

“Obviously the last 18 months haven’t been what I’ve wanted them to be, but if you keep it in perspective, I’m not that far away. (Ranked 14th) is not the position I want to be in, but at the same time there’s so many other guys that are trying to do the same thing as I’m doing and I realize the competition gets tougher each and every year and you just have to try to not just keep up with that, but try to become better.”

McIlroy said he sort of turned the corner a little bit at the end of the season and is looking forward to playing competitive golf again after a two-week break.

“It’s a nice, gentle introduction to the season, 70‑whatever players, no cut,” McIlroy said of the CJ Cup. “I feel like you’re going out there to compete and play and try to win, but at the same time you can maybe try a couple things out in your golf game that you’re maybe working on.

“So it’s a nice way to start the season.”

Source : Golf Week More   

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Fantasy golf power rankings and odds for the PGA Tour's 2021 CJ Cup in Las Vegas

Feeling lucky this week? Check out the top-20 players to keep an eye on.

Fantasy golf power rankings and odds for the PGA Tour's 2021 CJ Cup in Las Vegas

The CJ Cup brings a strong PGA Tour field to The Summit Club in Las Vegas. There are 78 golfers in attendance for the no-cut event. Below, we look at the fantasy golf power rankings for the 2021 CJ Cup, with PGA Tour picks and predictions.

The Summit Club is hosting the Tour for the first time after Jason Kokrak won this event at Shadow Creek last year. The course measures 7,431 yards and plays to a par of 72. Justin Thomas won two of the first three runnings of the CJ Cup when it was played at Nine Bridges in South Korea.

The CJ Cup features the strongest field of the early portion of the 2021-22 PGA Tour schedule. Four of the top-five golfers in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings are also in attendance.

Odds provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list. Odds last updated Tuesday at 12:50 p.m. ET.

More: CJ Cup odds, picks and predictions

Fantasy Golf Top 20

20. Harris English (+4000)

Started the 2021-22 season with a missed cut at the Shriners Children’s Open after recording a win and two other top-five finishes across his final seven events of last season. Finished fourth in the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational against a highly comparable field.

19. Hideki Matsuyama (+4000)

The reigning Masters champ followed up a T-6 finish at the Fortinet Championship to start the season with a T-67 at the Shriners last week. He has struggled with the putter through two events but the rest of his game is in good shape.

18. Sergio Garcia (+6000)

Finished last season fourth among all golfers with 0.91 Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee per round. Will be well-suited for the long, par-72 venue.

17. Shane Lowry (+4000)

Tied for fourth against a strong field at the European Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship to open October. Has missed just two cuts through 22 international events this year.

16. Tyrrell Hatton (+4000)

Tied for second at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with opening and closing rounds of 64 and 67, respectively. He had previously missed the cut in four of six events but his strong iron play will help him navigate the unfamiliar course.

15. Scottie Scheffler (+3000)

Missed the cut last week due to awful iron and short-game play but still averaged 0.65 SG: Off-the-Tee per round over 36 holes. He averaged 1.17 SG: Tee-to-Green per round for the 2020-21 season.

14. Marc Leishman (+5000)

Started the season with a T-4 finish at the Fortinet Championship and tied for third last week with 1.88 SG: Putting per round. The hot flat stick will be a big advantage with few golfers in the field familiar with The Summit Club.

13. Jordan Spieth (+2000)

The occasionally erratic driver is still a concern at the new PGA Tour stop, but the former world No. 1 was one of the top players of the 2020-21 season with a win and eight other top-10 finishes against just one missed cut through 19 events in 2021.

12. Sungjae Im (+3000)

Last week’s winner excelled with 2.62 SG: Tee-to-Green and 1.38 SG: Putting per round. He got hot with a 9-under par final round and he hasn’t missed a cut since early June.

11. Brooks Koepka (+3000)

Tied for 67th last week while losing 0.74 strokes per round on the greens. His 0.35 SG: Off-the-Tee was a strong suit that can carry over to the longer course. He cooled off at the end of last season but had a win and five other top-six finishes across a 10-event stretch in the heart of the campaign.

10. Tony Finau (+3000)

Will play his first event of the 2021-22 season after ending the last campaign strongly. He was 13th for the 2020-21 season with 1.43 SG: Tee-to-Green per round.

9. Rory McIlroy (+2000)

Playing his first event since Team Europe’s disappointing loss at the Ryder Cup. He begins the new season at No. 21 in the Golfweek rankings.

8. Louis Oosthuizen (+2000)

Though not known as a long hitter, he excelled at lengthier venues for the PGA Championship, US Open and Open Championship. Hasn’t missed a cut through 17 international events this year.

7. Sam Burns (+3000)

Followed his win at the Sanderson Farms Championship with a disappointing T-14 at the Shriners after a final-round 72. Ranked fifth in the field with 2.04 SG: Tee-to-Green per round last week.

6. Cameron Smith (+3000)

Didn’t win last season but was the runner-up at The Northern Trust and has five other top-10 finishes on the calendar year. Finished the season 10th among all golfers with 1.71 total strokes gained on the field per round.

5. Justin Thomas (+1300)

Likely to be over picked this week based on his two wins of this event in South Korea, but if he carries over his 0.99 SG: Approach from last season it should be a big help at a new course.

4. Viktor Hovland (+3000)

Tied for 44th last week with a woeful 2.23 strokes lost around the green per round. His 1.35 SG: Off-the-Tee and 1.32 SG: Approach ranked second and eighth in the field, respectively.

3. Xander Schauffele (+1300)

Won the Olympic Golf Competition the last time the world’s best all played at a brand new venue. Was the runner-up at last year’s CJ Cup at Shadow Creek.

2. Dustin Johnson (+1200)

Started to heat up at the end of last season with four top-10 finishes in his final six events. Played arguably the best golf of his career last fall.

1. Collin Morikawa (+1500)

The 24-year-old, two-time major winner is a member of The Summit Club. He has proven himself worthy of being the betting favorite in these fields and is a value with the fourth-best odds.

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