Questions swirled a week ago about what exactly was wrong with Rory McIlroy as he walked off the golf course in the middle of his second round at the Honda Classic.
The World No. 1 talked Wednesday about how his head was not in the right place when he decided to call it quits at PGA National and that he was working to get his game back to where it was at the end of last year.
With a third-round 1-under 71 Saturday at TPC Blue Monster at Doral, McIlroy has posted consecutive under-par rounds. Finally, the McIlroy of old appears to be back.
“I’ve done a lot of good work, and I’m feeling a lot more comfortable out there,” McIlroy said after recording six birdies. He is tied for 30th at 3-under 213. “There’s still a few bad shots here and there, but I saw some good things. Doesn’t really matter about the scores, but I was just pleased about the shots I was hitting, more than anything else.”
McIlroy stumbled with a double bogey and three bogeys Saturday, but he reeled off five birdies in a span of six holes – from Nos. 11 through 16 – to salvage the round.
After weeks of seeing shots going in the wrong places with the wrong swings, McIlroy was just glad to see the ball going in the right direction.
“I mean, this time last week, I was standing on the range at The Bear’s Club grinding my ass off trying to find a swing that worked,” McIlroy said. “But yeah, to practice it and put it into play this week, and actually see some good results. I’m definitely in a better place.“
McIlroy’s world didn’t look very positive in Thursday’s first round. Paired with Tiger Woods and Luke Donald, McIlroy struggled early with three bogeys and a lone birdie. He eagled the par-5 first hole, but then made three consecutive bogeys and limped in for a 1-over-par 73.
But after Friday and Saturday, McIlroy is showing signs of being back to normal.
“I’m excited about my game,” McIlroy said. “Coming into this week, I was a bit down about it. But after these few days and seeing some shots that I’ve hit on the course, I’m a lot happier going forward.”
McIlroy’s next and only stop before the Masters will be the Shell Houston Open. On Wednesday, a beleaguered McIlroy mentioned that he might add an event, but that was then.
He had this to say Saturday: “No, I’m not (adding an event). I’ve thought about it, and no.”