For Rory McIlroy, winning didn’t take care of everything.
McIlroy missed the cut at The Players Championship, then admitted he messed up his swing trying to keep up with long-hitting Bryson DeChambeau.
Another missed cut followed at the Masters and McIlroy fell to 15th in the world, his worst ranking in more than a decade.
Three weeks later, he showed up at Quail Hollow and won.
His first victory in 18 months was enough to make him the betting favourite at this week’s PGA Championship, according to some agencis, but McIlroy’s recent struggles remain fresh in his mind.
“It was a great sort of validation that I’m working on the right things but it was just a step in the process,” McIlroy said on Tuesday.
“I want to get better. I want my game to get better. I want to become more consistent.
“It was nice to see some results pretty early on but I feel like there’s still a long way to go.”
Returning to Kiawah Island, where nine years ago McIlroy won the first of his two PGA Championships, doesn’t necessarily fill him with confidence, however, with the major’s move from August to May offering an Ocean Course that is firmer, windier and less forgiving this time around.
McIlroy’s recent search to recover his form led him to add swing coach Pete Cowen to his team and have some long chats with sports psychologist Bob Rotella.
Asked what he was seeking from Rotella, McIlroy quipped, “a lobotomy.”
“Look, it’s nothing that I haven’t heard before, but Bob just puts it in a way that is so simple and can make you laugh,” McIlroy said of the informal therapy sessions.
“We’re in contact every week, and I really value his input.”
The work paid off at Quail Hollow and put McIlroy back near the top of a sport that, for now, lacks a dominant player.
McIlroy will play Thursday and Friday with another two-time PGA champion, Brooks Koepka, who is still recovering from knee surgery two months ago, and 2017 winner Justin Thomas.