Massachusetts: In-form Rory McIlroy has set his sights on dislodging Hunter Mahan from the top of the FedExCup standings after this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship in Massachusetts on a course he says is ideally suited to his game.
Two years ago, McIlroy won the elite FedExCup play-off event held at the TPC Boston in Norton during a sensational PGA Tour campaign highlighted by four victories, including a second career major, and player of the year honours.
After a dominant run of golf in recent weeks that has earned him three consecutive tournament wins, including two more major crowns, McIlroy believes he is in greater control of his overall game than he was in late 2012.
“There are some similarities,” the Northern Irish world number one told reporters at the TPC Boston yesterday when asked to compare his red-hot form over the past month with that of two years ago.
“My frame of mind and where I am mentally is very similar. I am very relaxed, I’m going out on to the golf course and I’m not really putting a whole lot of pressure on myself.
“I’m just going out and playing and I know that if I play well, that I’ll have somewhat of a chance to maybe win the tournament.”
That “somewhat of a chance” translated into a series of sizzling displays as McIlroy won last month’s British Open, his first World Golf Championships title at the Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship in successive starts.
With McIlroy back this week at a venue where he feels very comfortable with his game, he is eager to take full advantage.
“Obviously I’ve had some success here before, 2012 was a good year for me here,” he said. “It’s a golf course that sets up well for me.”
For his part, Mahan was delighted to be back in the winner’s circle with three play-off events remaining to conclude the 2013-14 PGA Tour after ending a title drought of more than two years with his victory at the Barclays on Sunday.
“This time of year I want to be playing and I want to have an opportunity to win,” said Mahan, who has been grouped with fellow American Jimmy Walker and McIlroy for Friday’s opening round.
“These are big tournaments, these are the best players in the world. I want to have that opportunity to win.”
The top 70 players on the FedExCup points list after the Deutsche Bank Championship advance to next week’s BMW Championship in Colorado where the leading 30 will qualify for the Tour Championship finale in Atlanta.