Former world number one Rory McIlroy hopes that he can carry some momentum into the FedEx Cup playoffs as he prepares to contest the Dell Technologies Championship.
After sitting out The Northern Trust last week, 2016 champion McIlroy will make his 2018 FedEx Cup debut in Boston, starting Friday.
McIlroy – who enters the week ranked 28th in the FedEx Cup standings and seventh in the world – sat out the play-off opener to help recuperate after a busy period.
However, the four-time major champion is feeling good ahead of Friday's opening round. "I took last week off to sort of work on my game and try to feel ready for the next few weeks," McIlroy told reporters.
"And, I feel like that went pretty well. And I'm pleasantly surprised I didn't drop more in the FedEx Cup, I thought from 21, I was going to drop outside the top 30. But, I was able to hold my position pretty well. I feel like I'm in a decent position coming into this week."
"I think that's what the playoffs make you do or if someone gets hot, it's basically like one long tournament, instead of four — obviously it's four separate ones, but like I remember I think last — maybe last time when I won here, we went straight in," McIlroy added.
"But, definitely I won here and Crooked Stick back to back. And, it's like you finish on Monday, you sort of have a day off Tuesday, then Wednesday a Pro Am, throwing you straight back into it. It's almost like a continuous tournament. And, it will feel like this again this year, obviously with this ending Monday and Philadelphia coming straight after."
"I think guys sort of get confidence, they can get on runs, they can get going. Whether that be myself or Billy Horschel in 14 or whoever it is. I think that's why — some guys just, you know, get better as the season goes on, and they start to play well and they see some putts going in, they start to hit better shots, they get confidence from it. And, that's sort of what it's been like for me."
Tiger Woods has been on everyone's mind this year after returning from his fourth back surgery in four years. McIlroy has been impressed with the 14-time major champion.
"It's great. It's great for the game that Tiger is back. The run that he gave at Carnoustie and Bellerive, it was exciting. It was exciting to be a part of it at Carnoustie and it was exciting to sort of watch," McIlroy said.
"I finished quite a bit ahead of the leaders at St. Louis so it was — the last two majors of the year were very exciting. There was a lot of guys in there sort of vying for the tournament and Tiger was in there, which always adds an extra element.
"I think more than anyone else he is surprised at how well he's played so quickly coming back. I remember sitting down and having lunch with him last March. And, he wasn't swinging. He wasn't playing. He was just — he just started to walk again. To think of where he was then to now and it's just over a year, it's incredible."
"So, I've kept saying this, and I've been consistent with this, everyone just needs to give him time because you're not going to be the same person or player after four back surgeries and after everything he's dealt with. I think what he's done is phenomenal. I feel very lucky to be a part of golf because of him and because of all the other great players that are around. He just adds an extra element to the game that no one else can bring."