MIAMI: Rory McIlroy will try to rebound from a disappointing finish in Los Angeles when he tackles the Honda Classic this week at PGA National — a course where he admits he’s had his ups and downs.
McIlroy bested Tiger Woods to win the title in 2012 — rising to number one in the world for the first time. Defending his title the following year he withdrew while trailing with a painful wisdom tooth.
In 2014 he was again in the thick of things, losing in a playoff, but he missed the cut last year.
“I think it’s the nature of me,” McIlroy said with a smile on Wednesday, when asked to account for his varied results on PGA National’s Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
“It’s one of these golf courses that if you’re slightly off, it can really magnify your misses a little bit, and it can make you feel as if you’re playing worse than what you actually are,” McIlroy said.
“If you’re in control of your golf game, it’s one of these courses that you can play well at and you can give yourself plenty of opportunities, and it’s not like you need to go crazy low here to be in contention.”
McIlroy will tee off on Thursday alongside British Open champion Zach Johnson and reigning Honda Classic champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland.
McIlroy, now ranked third in the world behind American Jordan Spieth and Australian Jason Day, is chasing his first victory of 2016.
His best finishes were a third place in Abu Dhabi and a sixth in Dubai. He was in contention at the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust Open last week at Riviera Country Club, where his opening eagle in the final round gave him a share of the lead but he closed with a 75.
He said he didn’t spend much time fretting over his eventual tie for 20th.
“I didn’t think about it too much,” McIlroy said. “I know my game is in good shape and it’s there, and I hope to get into contention again this week.”
This week’s tournament, at a course minutes from his US residence, is a chance to bounce back and begin to build momentum going into the Masters, where a victory in April would see McIlroy complete a career Grand Slam.
“The great thing about golf is there’s always next week. If you do stumble, there’s the next week to pick yourself back up,” he said.