Rory McIlroy finished tied-seventh and seven strokes behind Brooks Koepka after a final-round 69 at the PGA Championship; McIlroy, who remains without a major victory since 2014, was playing alongside club pro Michael Block during the final round at Oak Hill
By Ali Stafford at Oak Hill
Last Updated: 22/05/23 12:28am
Rory McIlroy was proud of his PGA Championship performance but insists he has to be better after having to settle for another major top-10 at Oak Hill.
McIlroy came into the week off the back of a missed cut at The Masters and disappointing performance at the Wells Fargo Championship, then endured another erratic day off the tee as he battled to an opening-round 71.
The former world No 1 admitted he “couldn’t believe” he was only five strokes off the halfway lead as he continued to struggled to find his best form, with McIlroy continuing to dig deep over the weekend to post back-to-back 69s and finish in a share of seventh.
“I’ll look back on this week as proud of how I hung in there, and I guess my attitude and sticking to it, not having my best stuff,” McIlroy said after ending the week on two under. “I just came in here trying to play a golf tournament, not thinking about getting myself in contention and not thinking about winning.
“I honestly didn’t feel like I had a chance of winning this week, so it was just about going out there and playing the best I could and trying to make the most of it.
“I feel sort of close but also so far away at the same time. It’s hard to explain. I feel like sometimes it was the worst I could have played, but then at the same time, it’s like the best I could have done.
“It just doesn’t feel quite where it needs to be, and again, just need to go back home and work on some stuff. I guess just try to figure it out. A week like this, there’s some good parts and there’s some bad parts.
“I’m just sort of trying to pick all those pieces out and obviously see what you can do better and sort of just move on from there. I feel like I need my best stuff to win, but you know, I don’t need my best stuff to compete and hang in there. But, yeah, I need to be better.”
How McIlroy battled to major top-10
McIlroy fired his approach at the first to tap-in range but immediately bogeyed the next, then cancelled out a three-putt bogey at the par-five fourth by rolling in from 12 feet at the sixth.
The Northern Irishman’s hopes appeared over when he failed to get up and down from the rough to save par at the seventh, although back-to-back birdies around the turn increased the prospect of a back-nine charge.
McIlroy followed successive pars by making a six-foot birdie at the 13th but missed an eight-foot chance at the next that would have taken him within four of the lead, then saw his hopes end with a bogey at the 15th after seeing playing partner Michael Block fire an incredible hole-in-one.
The 34-year-old made pars over his final three holes before giving embracing Block on the 18th green, with McIlroy paying tribute to the club professional for his impressive tied-15th finish.
“The atmosphere out there, playing with Michael [Block] was unbelievable,” McIlroy added. “We both got amazing support, but you know, he got unbelievable support and understandably so.
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May 22, 2023, 7:00pm
“Being in this position as a club pro and playing so well and competing into the latter stages of a major championship – it was really impressive. It was nice to go out there and share the course with him for 18 holes.
“That hole has sort of given me fits all week. I haven’t really liked the look of it, and Michael stands up and hits this lovely little draw back into the left wind, and the ball goes straight in the hole.
“When it’s your week, it’s your week and in a way, I think with the way the week’s went for him, it was a fitting way to cap off his PGA Championship.”
What’s next for McIlroy?
McIlroy will take a week off before heading to The Memorial from the June 1-4 for the first of four consecutive events, as he returns to defend his RBC Canadian Open title a week later before heading to Los Angeles Country Club for the US Open.