Rory McIlroy talks being the best, and facing the ‘panic button’

Photo Rory McIlroy won the Quicken Loans National on Sunday to cap a stellar season. He’s won two tournaments on the European Tour, and his victory in the 2016 U.S. Open was the best…

Rory McIlroy talks being the best, and facing the ‘panic button’

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Rory McIlroy won the Quicken Loans National on Sunday to cap a stellar season. He’s won two tournaments on the European Tour, and his victory in the 2016 U.S. Open was the best finish by a European in any major.

The post-victory interview with McIlroy, seen here, showcased that he cares about all aspects of his career, and that he has no doubts about his ability to take over the No. 1 ranking from Dustin Johnson.

Johnson, who won the Players Championship last week, finishes the year at No. 1. McIlroy said of the American golfer, “I feel I’m capable of being the best player in the world.”

McIlroy’s wealth of experience now puts him in a position to take over as the world’s top golfer. He has come from behind and won with a tenacious mental approach.

“You’ve gotta press the panic button,” McIlroy said. “The most important thing for me is trying to be there in the first place. Sometimes a golfer will lose his focus and they’ll sit and they’ll sit there and they’ll watch. … Don’t watch — go out there and do something. That’s what I’ve done.”

“But all week I’ve tried to stay in the moment, and sometimes it hasn’t been easy. I’ve been having a tough time with the putter, and I haven’t really been able to trust it. It was good to see some good pace out there on the greens with me. The bottom line is that you’ve gotta be in the moment.”

He said he hadn’t yet planned for the future and would “just try to enjoy it now.”

But winning at Bethesda Country Club was something he was never going to take for granted. At the 2012 Masters, McIlroy faced a strong wind that pushed him to bogey the first six holes.

“I started to build some momentum, and it was just a matter of digging down and staying positive,” he said. “When you haven’t quite been on form, it’s difficult to work out what you need to work on, and that was probably the most frustrating part of the year, trying to sort of put the pieces back together, and putting all the hard work in during those six weeks in Spain.”

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