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Rory McIlroy major The Open 2023 betting tips

Rory’s return: Can coming back to Hoylake kick-start McIlroy’s major career?

He left Royal Liverpool nine years ago with the Claret Jug and records ready to fall at his feet. Will he reignite at Hoylake?

 

When Rory McIlroy left Royal Liverpool clutching the Claret Jug, and just three weeks later won the PGA Championship in the darkness at Valhalla, he was the anointed one – the man to take the mantle of Tiger Woods and dominate golf.

You could have polled every pundit, scanned every social media feed. You would not have found anyone predicting he’d return to Hoylake nine years later still waiting to add to his major tally.

It’s the most perplexing of droughts. McIlroy has won 14 times on the PGA Tour and a further four on the DP World Tour since 2014. But despite 19 top-10 finishes, and a host of near misses, the big four tournaments have eluded him. Can coming back to Merseyside kickstart his charge?

Expectation, and the pressure he puts on himself to succeed, has appeared to hold him back in those events that matter the most.

Nowhere has that been more evident than at Augusta, the one the 34-year-old needs to complete the Grand Slam. But those struggles to win the Masters, and what he said when missing the cut on his latest attempt, reveal a wider angst about the way McIlroy has performed.

“All I think about is winning, winning, winning, to try to win that green jacket,” he said after another top-10 finish at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill.

“I then don’t really think about just playing a tournament and the cadence that goes along with getting into rounds.

“I go to the 2nd tee on Friday morning of Friday afternoon, and I see I’m already ten back of Brooks or whatever. So then I’m thinking, ‘oh, geez, I have no chance of winning’, and things sort of crumble.

“It’s just like being a bit mentally fragile because you’re so focused on the one thing you’re trying to do when, in essence, you just need to play a golf tournament and see where the chips fall at the end of the week.”

McIlroy’s talked about trying not to get fixated with feelings and vibes. Maybe you can blame his dabbling in politics, of being the de facto PGA Tour spokesperson in the battle with LIV Golf.

Or maybe you can blame luck. Rory did nothing wrong at St Andrews last July, only for Cameron Smith to put together a back 9 for the ages and wrest the 150th Open from his grasp.

But maybe his performance at Oak Hill, where he finished tied-7th while feeling well under par, can provide all the motivation he needs to cast off his major misery.

Tiger Woods recently told Jon Rahm he had his A-game for just three of his 82 wins – and two of those were the 2000 US Open and Open. For the Spaniard, who grabbed the green jacket, the message was clear: “You don’t need to be firing on all cylinders to win”.

It’s a lesson the Northern Irishman may have finally grasped. “I guess that I don’t need my best stuff to compete,” he said following his final round at Oak Hill. “I feel like I need my best stuff to win, but you know, I don’t need my best stuff to compete and hang in there.”

I need to be better, he signed off. A familiar refrain over the past decade.

But perhaps in those familiar dunes, the site of so much triumph and optimism, he can reignite the major spark and fulfil the expectations piled on him by an eager golf world that’s still trying in vain to escape the ghost of Tiger.   

rory mcilroy major the slam

ALSO: Where will Rory McIlroy play next?

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Rory McIlroy majors misses

Losing out to Patrick Reed at the Masters

Rory trailed Patrick Reed by three going into the final round in 2018, but when the leader failed to birdie the 2nd, the way was clear. Rory missed from 4-feet to tie Reed and the American pulled away.

Coming close at Carnoustie

As overnight leader Kevin Kisner fell back at Carnoustie in 2018, Rory got within one of Francesco Molinari after eagling the 14th but just could not close the gap on the toughest home stretch in major golf.

Battling at Brookline

A shot back at the halfway stage at the 2022 US Open, McIlroy’s third-round 73 left him three adrift of leaders Matt Fitzpatrick and Will Zalatoris. Tied 5th finish remains his best since winning at Congressional in 2011.

Heartbreak at The Open at St Andrews

Joint leader going into the final round of the 150th Open at St Andrews, Rory was overhauled by a magnificent stretch of back-9 golf from Cameron Smith, who birdied five holes in a row.

One that got away in LA

A shot behind going into the final round of the 2023 US Open, McIlroy birdied the opening par 5 – and then did not pick up another shot for the whole day. Sixteen pars and a bogey left him agonisingly one stroke behind Wyndham Clark.

What do you think? Is a Rory McIlroy majors charge coming, or is he destined to be the nearly man? Will the Rory McIlroy majors heartache end soon? Let us know on X.

NOW READ: The Open Championship Field: Who is playing at Hoylake in 2023?

NOW READ: What clubs does Rory McIlroy use?

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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