Rory McIlroy is confident his best years are still to come as he prepares to play his first major since turning 30.
McIlroy won four of golf’s premier stroke play events before turning 26, but he has endured a barren period in majors since claiming the last of those titles at the 2014 US PGA Championship.
Ahead of this week’s PGA Championship at Bethpage, McIlroy said: “I definitely don’t feel 30. I mean, even just at the start of this press conference, [it was mentioned that] this is my 11th PGA Championship. It’s like, where did those go?
“My body is as good as it has been in a couple of years, which I’m really grateful for. Every week that I tee it up, I feel like I’m gaining more experience that I can put into the next tournament and the next tournament.
“You know, I still believe my best days are ahead of me, for sure.”
Five of McIlroy’s 24 professional wins have come in May, so it is no surprise he is happy with the PGA being moved forward from its traditional August slot.
“I’ve had a pretty good record in May. I’ve won a few tournaments, and I was a pretty big fan of this date change,” he stated.
— PGA of America (@PGA) May 14, 2019
The Northern Irishman is also very comfortable with this week’s venue, even though Bethpage’s Black Course is renowned as one of the most fearsome challenges in golf.
“I think it’s fair,” said McIlroy. “You get rewarded for good shots, and you get punished for bad ones.
“I feel sometimes at major championships courses are brought to the edge, and sometimes good shots are punished. Whether that’s fair or not is up for debate, but I think it’s a very fair golf course. I think the setup is very fair. I think Kerry Haigh [the PGA of America’s Chief Championship Officer] is the best in the business at setting golf courses up. I’ve said that for a long time.
“And yeah, look, we all know what New York and Long Island is like. A Ryder Cup here is five years away, but I think they’re planning on letting 60,000 in a day here this week, so it’ll be pretty loud.”