Rory McIlroy is champing at the bit to commence his title defence at the BMW PGA Championship, the tournament which kick-started an incredible run of form in 2014.
The Northern Irishman cut a relaxed figure in the Celebrity Pro-Am, the traditional curtain-raiser of the event, alongside popstar Niall Horan from One Direction and former football stars Paul Scholes and Phil Neville.
A strong field has assembled at Wentworth Club, with no fewer than nine Major Champions, including Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell and Ernie Els, plus two-time former champion Luke Donald, former World Number One Lee Westwood and European Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke.
“This is what kick-started everything, really. This win, it gave me a lot of confidence to go on into the summer and do what I did. I feel okay. I hit quite a few good shots out there but there was a few loose ones. I’ll try to rest up again tonight and make sure I’m fresh and ready to go tomorrow, but I’m feeling okay. I’ll be good to go. I just want to try and finish off this stretch of golf as well as I can.”
“It’s really nice to be back. Obviously growing up so close to here, this tournament is even more special to me. When I was young I’d come here and watch the great players and be inspired to go back to my home course and practise. I’d try to emulate what I saw that day. So this week has always been a big inspiration for me. Outside the Major Championships, I can’t think of a tournament I’d like to win more than this one.”
“It was a great night last night at the Tour dinner watching Major Championship wins and a little bit of Ryder Cup reminiscing – just celebrating some amazing golf on The European Tour. Good visuals and the good vibrations. Definitely it’s been a slow start of the year for me, but this would be a phenomenal week to kick-start what’s going to be a very busy summer. It’s good to be back and playing in front of the British fans, it’s always such a well‑supported week.”
“It’s nice to come back here, where it feels really like home. Even though it’s not my home country, it does feel comfortable. It’s a strange one right now. I practised a lot in February and March, and I probably did a little too much. I probably didn’t rest my body as much as I should, and I entered the Masters very, very tired without even playing yet. It was an experience again and another way to learn maybe for the future. The last couple weeks I played well. I said to my caddie yesterday, I’m really excited about the next few weeks and months, because I know things will fall into place sooner or later, and when you practise hard, it’s almost not avoidable to have success.”
Courtesy of the European Tour