Rory McIlroy: "If in 2013 I don’t win a major I'll be disappointed"

Rory McIlroy birdies the 18th to win the 2012 US PGA by eight shots. Picture courtesy RTERory McIlroy insists he will be “disappointed” if he doesn’t win another major in 2013 and hopes he can continue “living the dream” by battling idol Tiger Woods down the stretch as he tries to complete the career grand slam by winning the Masters and the Open.

In a half-hour special set to be broadcast on RTE Two on Thursday (9pm), “Rory McIlroy: The Interview”, the world No 1 insists: “It is something I have thought about. I’ve got the Masters and the Open still to win to try and get that.

“I said at the start of this year that if I didn’t win a major I would be disappointed. And going into next year I will say the same.

“If in 2013 I don’t win a major I will be disappointed. But I just want to contend more in the majors next year.

“I only had one chance to win a major in 2012 and luckily I was able to win it. I would love to give myself a chance in all four next year.”

With the Ryder Cup in the bag, European captain José María Olazábal jokingly presents Rory McIlroy with an oversized clock at Medinah after the world No 1 almost missed his singles tee-time. Picture courtesy RTEMcIlroy also inadvertently reveals to interviewer Greg Allen that he still doesn’t know his Ryder Cup singles tee time - nearly three months after he almost cost his side the Miracle at Medinah.

He only arrived at the Chicago venue 11 minutes before he was due to play Keegan Bradley on the final day after a mix up over time zones.

Scheduled to play Bradley at 11:25, McIlroy explains how he almost missed what he says was an 11:35 date with America’s best player.

Rory said: “I was watching the Golf Channel and I saw they had posted the tee times on TV and it said 12:35. Obviously they are posted in east coast time and we are in central time in Chicago.

“So 12.35 eastern time in 11:35 in Chicago. But I just saw 12:35 on the screen and thought okay, I’m off at 12:35. I’m sure I was told before that I was off at 11:35 but anyway…”

Rory McIlroy gets up and down from a greenside bunker in the final round of the 2012 US PGA. His short game prowess was one of the keys to his season. Picture courtesy RTEReflecting on his stellar 2012, the 23-year old from Co Down credits his improved short game for his rise to world No 1 and the five tournament wins that helped him tops the money list on both sides of the Atlantic.

He also looks back on Katie Taylor’s Olympic gold medal win in London and tackles the controversy over whether he will swear allegiance to Ireland or Team GB when golf returns to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

On the thorny subject of his personal identity, he says: “It’s a difficult position to be in because you don’t want to let anyone down. You don’t want to upset anyone with a choice that you make because I feel I am more than just a flag.

“I play golf and I am an international sportsperson and it doesn’t tie me to one flag or one allegiance and it’s just been a tough position to be put in.”

As for his game, he points to the work he has done with short game coach Dave Stockton since May 2011 as the key to his success in 2012 with that eight-stroke win in the US PGA at Kiawah Island the highlight of an amazing year.

Rory McIlroy says he’s “living the dream” Picture courtesy RTE“It’s something I really have worked hard on,” McIlroy explains. “It’s something I really have improved. I think that’s been the big difference this year.

“In previous years it’s been my long game that has won my tournaments. But this year for sure my short game has won me at least two or three of the tournaments I’ve won and kept me in tournaments I might not have won but I’ve come close in.

“It’s been a huge improvement. I’ve worked with Dave Stockton now for about a year and a half and it has really paid dividends. I knew that I had to become a little bit better around the greens and I have been able to do that and still try to improve of that area of the game.”

He puts his mid season “mini slump” down to achieving his goal of getting to world No 1 in March, far earlier than planned, and having to reassess his goals.

As for the future, he explains that he’d love to go head to head with boyhood idol Tiger Woods down the stretching a major or a big event, having held of the American to win the Honda Classic in March to go to the top of the world rankings for the first time.

Rory McIlroy is relishing the prospect of head to head battles with Tiger Woods with majors on the line. Picture courtesy RTEMcIlroy says: “I hope that can keep up the level I am playing to at the minute and I hope he does too. I would love to have some battles with Tiger coming down the stretch in majors and big tournaments.

“Tiger was a huge hero of mine growing up and it be able to play against your hero now and go down the stretch and beat him sometime and hopefully beat him the majority of the time is a huge thrill for me.  

“I didn’t know if I would ever get to do it. People ask me, ‘What’s it like living this life? What’s it like to be Rory McIlroy?’

“Well, I am living out my dream. This is what I’ve always dreamed of and I don’t think it gets any better than that.”