For the first time since 2019, Rory McIlroy is back on the hallowed grounds of Pebble Beach Golf Links. He hasn’t been to the Monterey Peninsula since the U.S. Open, a tournament at which he tied for ninth. This time around, he’s hoping to carry some early-year momentum into the PGA Tour’s second signature event of the season, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
The Northern Irishman has played in the old Crosby Clambake just once, missing the 54-hole cut in 2018.
But he enters this year’s tournament in great form, winning in his last start at the DP World Tour’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic (McIlroy came second to Tommy Fleetwood the week before at the Dubai Invitational).
“Obviously a great way to start the year, two weeks play, two times in contention,” the world No. 2 told the media during his pre-tournament press conference Tuesday. “And to get a win early on is always a nice confidence booster, a nice way to come into a busy — a pretty busy stretch here going sort of into the spring and beyond.”
As for his return to Pebble, McIlroy is glad to be back.
“Good to be back at Pebble Beach, it’s been a while… The course obviously plays a little different this time of the year than in June… Just trying to refamiliarize myself with the golf course a little bit.”
The Pro-Am got a facelift this season, with amateurs playing alongside the pros for the first two rounds. Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill will be utilized on Thursday and Friday before just the pros take on Pebble over the weekend. McIlroy said he played Pebble on Tuesday and plans to play Spyglass on Wednesday, depending on the weather (the forecast through the weekend doesn’t look great).
On top of being asked about the status of his game and his recent win, McIlroy was posed several questions regarding Tyrrell Hatton’s recent move to LIV Golf, potential punishment for players hoping to return to the Tour and more.
Here’s what he had to say:
“At the end of the day everyone needs to do with what’s right for them. I had a long talk with Tyrrell on Sunday, completely understood where he was coming from. I’ve sort of been — you know, I’ve talked to him…