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Buoyant McIlroy 'now expects to win every time'

ESPN staff
September 10, 2012 « Gemili shows 200m potential | Chartbeat test »
Rory McIlroy was unbeatable once again on the PGA Tour © PA Photos
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Rory McIlroy believes he is getting to the point where he expects to win every event he enters - believing he could soon emulate the sort of domination Tiger Woods exhibited at the turn of the millennium.

McIlroy became the first player since the 14-time major champion to win back-to-back events on the PGA Tour with an impressive victory at the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick, a win that puts him nicely on course for success in the $10 million FedEx Cup.

The 23-year-old has now won four times in 2012 - including an eight-shot win at the US PGA Championship - and believes he is getting close to the level Woods reached earlier in his career, where he won five or six times a year for seasons on end.

"The more you put yourself in this position and the more you win and the more you pick up trophies, it becomes normal, and it feels like this is what you're supposed to do," McIlroy said. "I'm sure that's how he [Tiger] felt when he was on that run and how he still feels. He still won three times this year.

"I don't think I'm quite there yet, but I'm getting to that stage where I'm thinking, this is what I should be doing. I should be lifting a trophy at the end of the week.

"The last four weeks, five weeks have been incredible, some of the best golf that I've ever played. I'm going to try and keep the run going for as long as possible."

Woods was full of praise for McIlroy's performance in Indiana, noting that he had hit upon the perfect recipe for winning golf.

"He's doing the things he needs to do, and as he said [on Saturday], he's feeling very confident about his game," Woods noted. "Right now he's just really playing well, and he's making a ton of putts. That's a great combo."

McIlroy is not about to rest on his laurels, however, revealing that he is set to meet up with the New York Knicks basketball team next week, to join in as the NBA side begin their preseason training with some gruelling fitness work.

The Northern Irishman will view the experience as a break from playing golf.

"We're doing a bit of track work next week," McIlroy said, noting that his fitness trainer is on the Knicks' medical staff. "I think their stride is probably a little longer than mine, but it should be good fun! I'm really looking forward to next week because of that, just to completely get away from golf for a few days and hang out with those guys."

McIlroy's win cemented his status as world No. 1, while Woods rose to second despite failing to remain in contention late in the event. The American lamented a poor stretch of golf in his third round that cost him a real shot at the win.

"It's getting better," Woods said of his game. "I just need to have that one little stretch of holes that kind of [knocks you back] - I guess got to fight through that. That little stretch sometimes takes you out of a tournament, especially in a shootout like this.

"Going three over through eight [on Saturday], that's not very good out here, especially most of the guys were three under through eight out here."

Elsewhere, last week's winner on the European Tour, Peter Hanson, rises 11 places to 23rd in the world rankings after his stressful victory at the KLM Open.

World Rankings: 1. Rory McIlroy (NIR), 2. Tiger Woods (USA), 3. Luke Donald (ENG), 4. Lee Westwood (ENG), 5. Adam Scott (AUS), 6. Webb Simpson (USA), 7. Jason Dufner (USA), 8. Bubba Watson (USA), 9. Justin Rose (ENG), 10. Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), 11. Steve Stricker (USA), 12. Dustin Johnson (USA), 13. Keegan Bradley (USA), 14. Matt Kuchar (USA), 15. Phil Mickelson (USA), 16. Zach Johnson (USA), 17. Graeme McDowell (NIR), 18. Sergio Garcia (SPA), 19. Brandt Snedeker (USA), 20. Hunter Mahan (USA).

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