McIlroy reaches new heights in ‘fantastic’ 2022 | Major win coming next?


Rory McIlroy has won the Canadian Open, Tour Championship and CJ Cup in an impressive 2022; The world No 1 topped the FedExCup standings and DP World Tour rankings in the same year for the first time in his career

Last Updated: 20/11/22 4:38pm

Rory McIlroy said it means a lot to finish in Europe's number one spot for the fourth time in his career and feels he's on a journey to becoming a complete golfer

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Rory McIlroy said it means a lot to finish in Europe’s number one spot for the fourth time in his career and feels he’s on a journey to becoming a complete golfer

Rory McIlroy said it means a lot to finish in Europe’s number one spot for the fourth time in his career and feels he’s on a journey to becoming a complete golfer

When Rory McIlroy missed the cut at the PGA Tour’s Valero Texas Open in April, even the most optimistic of his fans would have struggled to have predicted the incredible 2022 that was to follow.

An underwhelming start to the year had seen McIlroy follow top-13 finishes in his first four worldwide starts with a frustrating week at a weather-affected Players Championship and an early exit in San Antonio, only for his fortunes to change dramatically in the months ahead.

McIlroy has posted top-eight finishes in 13 of his 16 starts since, including three PGA Tour victories, with consistent play on both sides seeing him follow FedExCup victory with further success on the DP World Tour.

Rory McIlroy ended the year as European No 1 for the fourth time in his career Rory McIlroy ended the year as European No 1 for the fourth time in his career

Rory McIlroy ended the year as European No 1 for the fourth time in his career

The Northern Irishman made the DP World Tour Championship his first start since a rapid return to world No 1, with McIlroy’s fourth-place finish seeing him become just the second player ever to top the FedExCup standings and win the DP World Tour’s Harry Vardon Trophy in the same year.

“Very proud of myself,” McIlroy said after the DP World Tour Championship. “Harry [Diamond, caddie] and I were talking going up the last fairway. It seems like it’s a long time since San Antonio, the Texas Open the week before Augusta this year when I was sort of struggling a little bit.

Highlights from day four of the DP World Tour Championship, where a host of star names were in the running to end the season as European No 1

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Highlights from day four of the DP World Tour Championship, where a host of star names were in the running to end the season as European No 1

Highlights from day four of the DP World Tour Championship, where a host of star names were in the running to end the season as European No 1

“Made a couple of tweaks with my game and with my equipment. Went to a different golf ball. It seemed like just after that, my whole year turned around and got a ton the momentum at The Masters and just went from there.”

McIlroy’s memorable 2022

A runner-up finish at The Masters in April kick-started his year, while McIlroy’s victory in Canada in June saw him overtake Greg Norman in the PGA Tour’s all-time victory standings the same week the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series fronted by the Australian launched.

Watch the best bits of Rory McIlroy's final round from June's RBC Canadian Open

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Watch the best bits of Rory McIlroy’s final round from June’s RBC Canadian Open

Watch the best bits of Rory McIlroy’s final round from June’s RBC Canadian Open

McIlroy felt he let an opportunity for a first major title since 2014 ‘slip away’ the following month when he failed to turn a share of the 54-hole lead at The Open into a fifth major victory, although used the disappointment as motivation for a dominant second half of the year.

The 33-year-old went into the PGA Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship seventh in the standings and six strokes behind Scheffler, a four-time winner in 2022, only to recover from playing his first two holes in four over to beat the American by a shot.

The best of the action from the final round of the Tour Championship at the East Lake Golf Club

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The best of the action from the final round of the Tour Championship at the East Lake Golf Club

The best of the action from the final round of the Tour Championship at the East Lake Golf Club

McIlroy travelled across to Europe to post three consecutive top-four finishes on the DP World Tour, before bringing his form back across to the CJ Cup last month to claim a third victory in a much-improved 2022.

“If someone had told me on the Friday night of the Valero Texas Open when I missed the cut that I would be world No 1 by October, I would have asked them what they were smoking because I would not have believed them!” McIlroy admitted after his CJ Cup title defence.

Highlights from day four of the CJ Cup in South Carolina, where Rory McIlroy retained the title and moved back to world No 1

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Highlights from day four of the CJ Cup in South Carolina, where Rory McIlroy retained the title and moved back to world No 1

Highlights from day four of the CJ Cup in South Carolina, where Rory McIlroy retained the title and moved back to world No 1

McIlroy then finished fourth at the DP World Tour Championship a month later – four strokes behind Jon Rahm – to end the season as European No 1 for the fourth time, having previously topped the season-long standings in 2012, 2014 and 2015.

“I don’t think I played as consistent in my entire career as I’m doing right now,” McIlroy said. “It has been a fantastic year both sides of the pond. It’s an amazing achievement, an achievement I haven’t been able to accomplish before.”

What’s next for McIlroy?

McIlroy won’t feature competitively again until the New Year, other than partnering Tiger Woods in a made-for-TV exhibition against Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth on December 10, with McIlroy already setting his focus towards ending his major drought in 2023.

After becoming world No 1 again with victory at the CJ Cup, Sky Sports Golf pundit Rob Lee is confident Rory McIlroy can now go on to win the Masters to complete a career Grand Slam

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After becoming world No 1 again with victory at the CJ Cup, Sky Sports Golf pundit Rob Lee is confident Rory McIlroy can now go on to win the Masters to complete a career Grand Slam

After becoming world No 1 again with victory at the CJ Cup, Sky Sports Golf pundit Rob Lee is confident Rory McIlroy can now go on to win the Masters to complete a career Grand Slam

“I probably sound like a broken record but it has been eight years since I won a major, but I feel like I’ve done everything else in the game since then,” McIlroy explained. “I’ve won three FedExCups since winning my last Race to Dubai.

“I’ve done a ton of stuff and all I can do is keep my head down, work hard and play the way I have been playing. But as I said, I’ve been really encouraged with how I’ve played this year in the majors, how I’ve started and that’s something to really build on for next year.

“I feel like I’m healthy. I’m 33 and I feel like my body is in as best shape as it’s ever been and hopefully it’s just moving ahead and keep on moving on.”

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