GOLF: Former world No.1 Rory McIlroy has bristled at suggestions he is in danger of becoming the Ringo Starr of golf’s fab four.
The reference to the drummer, the lesser light of the Beatles, did not sit well with the 27-year-old world No.4, who sits behind Australia’s Jason Day and Americans Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth in the rankings.
“I haven’t heard that. It is probably the first time I’ve been compared to the Beatles,” McIlroy said during a press conference at Royal Troon ahead of The Open.
“Those guys are having a great run at the minute. I feel like my game has been quite consistent apart from 2013, where I didn’t play that well and it’s probably the only time in the last six years I’ve dropped outside the top 10 in the world.
“But I mean, I’m happy where my game is ... I’m pretty confident that if I go out and play my best golf I’m going to win more times than not.
“I’ve got four major championships and I’d love to add to that tally, just as those guys would love to add to their one (Day and Johnson) and two (Spieth) majors, and just keep going ... But I feel like when I play my best golf, if I’m not the favourite, I’m one of the favourites.”
It seems the bookies agree, even though McIlroy has not won a major since his back-to-back victories in The Open and US PGA Championship in 2014, and the Irish Open in May has provided his only title this season.
Several betting agencies had the Northern Irishman and Speith on the second line of betting at $12, behind Day and Johnson on $10.
On the plus side for McIlroy, he feels he is getting his touch on the greens.
“I’ve had two of my best putting weeks recently,” he said.
“I had my best putting week on the PGA Tour a few weeks ago at the Memorial, and I had one of my best putting weeks on the European Tour at the French Open the last time I played.
“I’ve seen enough positive things in my putting over the last few weeks to be encouraged going into this week.”
McIlroy is paired with American Bubba Watson and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama in the opening round of The Open and is scheduled to tee off at 11.37pm tomorrow (AEST).
Australian Marc Leishman is the first to hit off at 3.35pm with World Golf Hall of Famer Colin Montgomerie and Luke Donald.
Day tees off at 6.25pm with Danny Willett and Rickie Fowler, while fellow Queenslander Adam Scott will be among the last to start, alongside two-time major winner Zach Johnson, of the US, and world No.6 Henrik Stenson, from Sweden.
AUSSIE TEE TIMES (AEST)
3.35pm Marc Leishman
3.46pm: Marcus Fraser
4.30pm: Steven Bowditch
5.47pm: Scott Hend
6.25pm: Jason Day
7.42pm: Matt Jones
7.53pm: Rod Pampling
8.04pm: Nathan Holman
8.36pm: Greg Chalmers
8.58pm: Nic Cullen
11.15pm: Adam Scott