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May 15, 2024 2:49 pm

Divorce talk hushed, Rory McIlroy back at Valhalla ‘ready to play’

McIlroy

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It’s been a wild week for Rory McIlroy.

The 35-year-old, No. 2 ranked player in the world easily overcame a two-stroke deficit to beat Xander Schauffele by five shots in the Wells Fargo Championship on Sunday in Charlotte, N.C.

McIlroy then filed divorce papers on Monday in Florida. He and his wife, Erica, had been married for seven years and have a three-year-old daughter, Poppy.

But it was back to business on Tuesday.

McIlroy was seen at Valhalla Golf Club, preparing for this week’s PGA Championship. He was on the driving range and putting green and then on Wednesday played a morning round.

The four-time major champion was scheduled to meet with media earlier in the week before making an appearance on Wednesday. But the news conference opened with the moderator asking the media to avoid questions about his divorce.

McIlroy was asked by one reporter how he was doing personally.

“I am ready to play this week,” McIlroy said.

While there certainly seems like a lot going on in and around his life, it’s been business as usually for McIlroy. He said he’s gotten in some good practice and is hoping to continue his hot streak.

McIlroy enters having won consecutive events, including the Zurich Classic in New Orleans with Shane Lowry. He compared his current spiked level of confidence to last summer, when he left the 2023 PGA Championship at Oak Hill and began a run of top 10s that included a win in Scotland.

“It doesn’t seem like that long ago that my game has felt this good,” he said. “But I would say from a technical standpoint, some of the shots that I hit last week, some of the three-quarter shots, some of the wedge shots, some of the iron shots, combined with how good I feel with the driver at the minute, when I can see those three-quarter shots and those wedge shots going and starting on the right line, that obviously gives me a lot of confidence.”

Chasing a major win for the first time since 2014, McIlroy would embrace a repeat of that Valhalla experience.

He hasn’t been back to the course since winning the 2014 PGA by one shot over Phil Mickelson. McIlroy said his first time around the course this week “brought back some memories.”

McIlroy was 3-under-par in the final round and was 16-under for the 2014 PGA Championship.

“The golf course is a little different than it was 10 years ago, a little longer,” he said. “A couple little minor changes but for the most part pretty much the same that I can remember from 10 years ago.

“Sometimes I struggle to remember what I did yesterday. So I don’t think if I look that far back, I mean, it’s hard to rekindle those feelings and those memories. … But you know, I think it’s all about confidence and momentum, and I have a lot of confidence and quite a bit of momentum coming into this week.”

–By Jody Demling, Field Level Media

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