McIlroy already looking to 2014

Rory McIlroy. Photo: Kenneth E Dennis / kendennisphoto.comRory McIlroy is wishing his life away. He can’t wait for December and the end of his most disappointing season for quite some time.

Even after the worst two round aggregate of his tour career, 78-77 for 155, he just wanted to get his third round in the BMW Championship over with as fast as possibe.

Playing with Charley Hoffman he managed it in 2 hours and 35 minutes - five more than their target - eagling the last for a three under 68 shortly after 10 am.

“We were looking for his ball on the fourth so he messed it up,” McIlroy said with a grin.

With nothing to play for at Conway Farms, McIlroy’s post round comments for the past two days have been on the light-hearted side.

He made three birdies in four holes from the eighth yesterday, double bogyed the 13th and then hit a 206-yard six iron to six feet at the last and wasted little time over the eagle putt, which went in for a 68.

“But I have to throw in a double bogey,” he said with a chuckle, having recorded a double in each of his three rounds this week. “A round isn’t complete without a double bogey these days.”

At 10 over par, he moved up two places to 68th in the 70-man field on 10 over.

Graeme McDowell shot a 72 that leaves him tied 41st on two over and needing a Jim Furyk-like 59 to have even the remotest chance of qualifying for next week’s Tour Championship. Furyk, incidentally, followed his 59 with a 69 to lead by one from Steve Stricker on 13 under par.

“It took me longer to sign autographs than it did to play the last hole,” McIlroy said of Saturday’s round. “When you’re going out there trying to play fast and end up shooting a decent score maybe it’s an indication I’m trying a little too hard sometimes.”

McIlroy believes that if his short game had been sharper this season, it might have been a different story.

So why isn’t his short game sharp? He has, he says, been working harder than ever.

“I’m working harder,” he said after Friday’s 77.  “Everything sort of came easy last year, and I’m sort of working harder, hitting more balls, spending more time on the range because I’m searching for it, and that’s sort of‑‑ so I’m working harder, and that’s what’s frustrating.  

“But the fact that I’m working hard and I’m not really getting much out of it, if I can keep patient and keep working hard, I’m sure it’ll turn around.”

Worker harder on the long game means less time for the short game, we can only imagine. Why the long game went away is something only McIlroy and his coaches can answer.

Could it be the change of ball and clubs? Or is it simply a question of increased pressure - internal and external - to live up to higher expectations?

Whatever the answer, McIlroy has a raft of events to play in Asia in October and November before winding down his season in Australia and Los Angeles in early December.

If the European Tour were hoping to hear him say that his goal is now to chase down Henrik Stenson and win the Race to Dubai, they might have to think again. McIlroy is ready for the Christmas pudding already.

“I’m 24.  I mean, I’ve got a lot of time in this game still.  I’ve got obviously a few tournaments left this year.  I’m sort of looking forward to getting to December and drawing a line under the season and start fresh in ‘14.”