“All my attention is turned to winning events”: the new world n. 1 Rory McIlroy aims for the glory of the Masters

  • Rory McIlroy regained world status no. 1 Monday for the first time since 2015
  • The 30-year-old takes part in the Genesis Invitational pro-am this week
  • He has headgear in homage to the late basketball legend LA Lakers Kobe Bryant

Imagine having a local rapper singing rhymes for a sizable crowd as you prepare to play for par 16 sixteenth at the Genesis Invitational pro-am.

This is as far from the suffocating image that many have of the Royal and Ancient game.

“Here is Ror-e and McIlroy, what will he do, can he play under pressure?” When McIlroy stops laughing and the rapper steps aside, McIlroy takes aim dead. “Oh my God, he left alone and put him in the hole, brother”, is the next line, with a stroke that never left the flag.

Rory McIlroy regained world status no. 1 Monday for the first time since September 2015

Rory McIlroy regained world status no. 1 Monday for the first time since September 2015

As his peers have discovered in the past six months, nothing, apparently, can distract McIlroy. On his phone, he has an app that removes all unwanted sites – and is equally focused on the path.

We are here in Riviera, one of his first three pit stops on the PGA Tour, at the start of a hectic series of seven tournaments in nine weeks.

“The season starts here,” he says, barely able to hold back the excitement from his voice as he contemplates a race he hopes will culminate in a long-awaited victory for the Masters.

It is proposed as the new world n. 1, but it is not the time to dwell on it.

The 30-year-old has headdresses in homage to the late LA Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant

The 30-year-old has headdresses in homage to the late LA Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant

The 30-year-old has headdresses in homage to the late LA Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant

“The first time I got there in 2012, I did it by winning the Honda Classic, so it was an euphoric moment,” he said. Sportsmail, between shots in par four 15. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to be back there, but now my whole goal is to win events.”

He has no desire to dominate him over the man he replaced, Brooks Koepka, if not a joke when asked about their rivalry. ‘Do we have a rivalry? It seems all right to me, ‘he said, referring to the comments the American made on the matter.

McIlroy’s busy schedule shows a notable addition from last year, as he will now be playing the week before the Masters in San Antonio.

“I just want to keep myself busy,” he revealed. ‘The previous week is WGC-Match Play, and you can easily go home on Friday from there. It would be a fortnight without competitive golf before the Masters and I don’t want it.

In his bag, McIlroy has headdresses in homage to LA Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash last month.

“Growing up in the other Holywood, I’m not a big fan of basketball, but that shook me all the way,” he said.

McIlroy will start early Thursday hoping to make a statement in a tournament that will include nine of the top 10 in the world. “The field, the field, the city, the fact that Tiger is hosting,” he said. “It’s all right, isn’t it?”

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