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Baltusrol is last chance for McIlroy

BY DOUG FERGUSON

AP Golf Writer

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. (AP) — Rory McIlroy took stock of his game and the shots required at Baltusrol and reached a most logical conclusion Tuesday. He believes the PGA Championship will be his best chance this year to win a major.

He overlooked the obvious. It now is his only chance this year to win a major.

Except for the three players who have achieved the ultimate in golf this year by winning majors — Danny Willett at the Masters, Dustin Johnson at the U.S. Open and Henrik Stenson at the British Open — the PGA Championship is all they have left.

McIlroy was especially optimistic given the length of Baltusrol, exceptionally long (7,462 yards) for a par 70 that doesn’t have a par 5 until the final two holes. He is among the top power players in the game, and his driving is aesthetically beautiful because of his balance.

That wasn’t lost on McIlroy as he blasted a 345-yard drive off the first tee in the Long Drive Competition and made his way around the course.

McIlroy was asked to describe his season in one word, and after some thought, settled on “neutral.”

That’s another way of saying he has been spinning his wheels.

“I feel there’s been times where I got a little bit of momentum, and then sort of got set back a little bit,” he said.

McIlroy won the Irish Open before a home crowd this year. That was a big deal. He still has the FedEx Cup playoffs, which he has never won, and the Race to Dubai to complete the European Tour season. He struggled again when asked for a grade to his season, settling on better than a “B.”

“I could change that into an A-plus on Sunday,” he said. “There’s a lot of golf left, last major of the year. I want to give it my all to get in the mix and try to win another one of these things before I have to wait another eight months.”

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