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I will play ‘carefree’ golf in 2020, says Rory McIlroy

By Christian Okpara
24 January 2020   |   4:08 am
Rory McIlroy intends to play “carefree” golf in 2020 as he seeks more tournament wins and a return to the world number one spot.

Rory McIlroy intends to play “carefree” golf in 2020 as he seeks more tournament wins and a return to the world number one spot.

His first event of the season is the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

The Northern Irishman said: “It doesn’t serve me as a golfer to play conservatively, carefully. I have my own style to play and most of the time it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

“It’s a mindset I’m going to try to replicate every time I tee up.”

McIlroy added that he has been drawing on last summer’s experience in The Open at Royal Portrush, when he followed up a calamitous opening-day 79 with a second-round 65 to miss the cut by one shot.

The world number two credited the backing he received from his home fans as being pivotal to his charge up the leaderboard in round two.

“I said to myself after Portrush: ‘Why would I be careful? Why would I not go out there with the most carefree attitude?’ That’s something I’ve learned,” said McIlroy.

“The other big thing I learned is how important home is to me, having that support. Anytime I think about that experience at Portrush, I think about the people from back home and what I mean to them.

“It was a big reminder of that week and if I’m ever struggling or feeling down about things, I can always look back to the support I got there.

“I learned a lot of things at Portrush that I’ve put into my game, into my preparation, into my thought processes for other tournaments, and I’ve had a pretty good run since then.”

McIlroy can regain golf’s world number one ranking from Brooks Koepka with a win at Torrey Pines this week, but the four-time major champion says he will focus on his game and let the ranking take care of itself.

“It’s all about the process, it’s all about the game, it’s all about trying to make improvements. If I do that and I achieve those goals, then hopefully inevitably I get to that position,” said McIlroy of the top spot, which he last held in September 2015.

“It’s a by-product of playing consistently good golf and I’ve been doing that for a while now.”

McIlroy says the support he received at Royal Portrush has helped spur him on to greater efforts.

McIlroy earned US PGA Tour Player of the Year honours in 2019 after a season that included wins at the Players Championship, the RBC Canadian Open, the Tour Championship and the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.