Rory McIlroy’s PGA Tour season came to an end last month in Atlanta where he finished solo fourth at the Tour Championship. The week got off to a disappointing start, as he arrived at East Lake with a back injury.
Despite struggling with his health, the Northern Irishman took home a $4 million bonus at the FedEx Cup Playoff finale.
McIlroy finished his campaign with 10 straight top-10 finishes, including a win at the Scottish Open.
He returns to the Horizon Irish Open this week in great form and is back at a golf course he conquered in 2016, The K Club.
Seven years ago, McIlroy beat Bradley Dredge and Russell Knox by three shots for his 13th DP World Tour win.
“It’s been good to get back and sort of try to refamiliarise myself with the golf course,” McIlroy told the media Wednesday in Kildare, Ireland. “A lot’s happened in the last seven years, so I actually struggled to remember quite a few holes when I played this morning, but it’s also started to come back.
“Nice to come back, good memories, and just happy to be here and sort of try to keep up the good play and run that I’ve been on the last couple months.”
— Rory McIlroy (@McIlroyRory) September 5, 2023
And it sounds like a few weeks off was exactly what the doctor ordered to get his back into a better spot.
“It’s OK,” he said. “I would say it’s at 90 percent, 95 percent. It’s not a hundred percent better. I just happened to take care of it a little bit but it’s not preventing me from doing anything I want to do. Just being a little mindful, I guess.”
Balancing not pushing his body too hard and still trying to win this week will be difficult, especially with the Ryder Cup on the horizon.
As European stalwarts Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter are no longer in the picture, McIlroy will serve as the undisputed leader in Rome come Sept. 29th.
You could say he sounds excited about the 12-man squad ready to do battle at the biennial event.
“You look at Viktor end of the season; with what Jon Rahm as has done this year; myself; Tommy Fleetwood back to playing some of the best golf he’s played in a while; Tyrrell; Shane; Rosey.
“I think you’ve got a nice blend of experience and youth in the team,” he said. “I think everyone that everyone who has followed golf over the…