Golf: Rory McIlroy Hoping To Catch Wave At British Open
Just three years ago, Rory McIlroy was the best player in the world.
He won the final two majors of the year, with a World Golf Championship title in between.
He had reason to believe his reign would last as long as he wanted it to.
Now he's simply trying to get back into the conversation.
The starkest reminder of the state of his game was not so much missing three cuts in his last four tournaments. It was being told on the eve of the British Open that the bookies listed him at 20-1 to win at Royal Birkdale.
"Good time to back me," McIlroy said. "I mean, look, if I was a betting company and I saw my form over the past few weeks, yeah, that's probably a fair enough price. But again, all it takes is one week for those odds to go back."
He has been through these mini-slumps more than once in the 10 years since he first played the British Open at Carnoustie. McIlroy missed four of five cuts in 2012, including his title defense in the U.S. Open, and ended the summer by winning the PGA Championship to return to No. 1 in the world.
This one has been the most aggravating because it involves injury.
The hairline rib fracture he suffered in January during the South African Open is no longer an issue, but it forced him to sit out nearly two months, and then he played only once in two months between the Masters and the U.S. Open in part because it was acting up.
It all led to what McIlroy describes as a start-and-stop year, one that to this point doesn't include a trophy.
"But I'm in good spirits," McIlroy said. "I feel like it's all coming together. I'm just waiting for that round or that moment or that week where it sort of clicks and I'll be off and running. I've had little periods like this before in my career, and I've been able to bounce back from them. I'd say I was in worse positions than this. I feel like my game ... the pieces are all there, it's just about trying to fit them together."