Former world number one Rory McIlroy could hardly have picked a better place than Quail Hollow as he bids to rediscover his “mojo”.
McIlroy is seeking an eighth top-10 finish in 10 appearances in the Wells Fargo Championship, an event which provided his first PGA Tour title in 2010 and another in 2015 following a course-record 61 in round three.
Yet the four-time major winner comes into the week at 15th in the world rankings, his lowest position since November 2009, and on the back of a missed cut in the Masters last month.
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McIlroy, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Tuesday, told a pre-tournament press conference: “It’s always great to come back to Quail Hollow. So many great memories here.
“A first win on Tour and then winning again in ’15, being a part of a pretty exciting play-off in ’12, and basically celebrating every birthday here for the last 10 years, apart from last year because of the pandemic.
“Obviously coming back to a place that I’ve played pretty well on before. Hopefully that gives me a little bit of good mojo going into the week.”
McIlroy has added Pete Cowen to his coaching team as he seeks a first major title since 2014 and a first win of any kind since November 2019, but there were no quick fixes at Augusta National as he carded rounds of 76 and 74.
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That meant the Northern Irishman suffered a first missed cut in the Masters, which he needs to win to complete the career grand slam, since 2010.
“I feel better about my game than I did flying home from Augusta on Friday night, put it that way,” he added. “I’ve worked a little bit on it, sort of just tried to understand what I do well. I guess trying to sort of focus on my strengths.
“I think I’ve neglected my strengths a little bit the past couple of months, and (am) focusing more on those and focusing on what makes me a good golfer and how I swing the club and how I move the club.
“It’s all familiar feelings. It’s all stuff that I’ve worked on before, but maybe just gotten away from a little bit by trying to focus on other things. I feel like I’m on a pretty good trajectory at the minute.”