Rory McIlroy's Sunday scaries may have resurfaced, his four-over 76 at Bay Hill his highest final-round performance in seven years and dropping him to 79th in final-round scoring (despite leading the PGA Tour in overall scoring). A trend that harkens back to 2019, when McIlroy was having the damndest time closing the door on tournaments.
"There's a lot of similarities between the start of this year and the start of last year," McIlroy said Sunday. "A lot of chances not converting, but knowing that the game's pretty much there."
Of course, McIlroy would go on to win three times in that campaign while garnering PGA Tour Player of the Year honors. And even in struggle, McIlroy continues to shine.
The Ulsterman posted a T-5 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his seventh-straight T-5 or better dating to last year's Tour Championship victory. That finish bolstered McIlroy's grasp on the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking, bestowing 100 cumulative weeks atop the standing. If that sounds impressive, it is.
McIlroy joins Tiger Woods and Greg Norman as the only players to hold the OWGR crown for 100 or more weeks in the ranking's 34-year history.
Woods has the all-time mark with 683 weeks, followed by Norman at 331. Meaning McIlroy would only need to hold the No. 1 spot for the next (checks calculator) 11 years, two months and three weeks to catch Woods. Would be one heck of a heater.
McIlroy enters this week's Players Championship as the defending champ and favorite at 7-1. With a win, he would become the first in Players history to go back-to-back at TPC Sawgrass. McIlroy will be playing the first two rounds with those trying to chase him down at No. 1 in Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka.