Last year at this time, Rory McIlroy’s game was in a state of disarray. An equipment change and a couple of missed cuts raised plenty of questions when he arrived for the Accenture Match Play Championship in Marana.
This February, he returns to The Golf Club at Dove Mountain on a more positive note, finishing tied for second at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Jan. 19 and tied for ninth at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on Feb. 2.
“Everything is sort of in a good place,’ McIlroy said. “The game is in great shape. I haven’t hit the ball as well in a long time.”
McIlroy, one of four top seeds in the match play competition, starts his quest for the Walter Hagen Cup against Boo Weekley on Wednesday at 11:25 a.m.
“Hopefully I can get past that (match),” McIlroy said. “You just have to take it one match at a time and play whoever you play.”
McIlroy and Weekley might not have much to discuss during the match. McIlroy is the young superstar from Northern Ireland and Weekley’s the frumpy guy who played golf at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Georgia and sometimes wears camouflage-inspired shirts on the course.
“I’m not sure we share many common interests,” McIlroy said. “I’ve never been hunting.”
One thing’s for sure: He’s in the hunt for the $1.5 million winner’s check. Both he and Tiger Woods were eliminated on the first day of competition at last year’s Accenture Match Play.
“I’ve worked hard and I feel like I’m seeing the results,” McIlroy said. “I’m comfortable with my swing and how I’m hitting it.”