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Rory McIlroy says that he feels “as complete a player” now as he has ever done and that he is playing with “no real weaknesses in his game. 

The world No.1 makes his first start PGA Tour start of 2023 at this week’s WM Phoenix Open.

It is only McIlroy’s second appearance at TPC Scottsdale and he goes into it in buoyant mood following his dramatic victory in Dubai Desert Classic just over a week ago.

A total of 22 of the world’s top 25 golfers are in Arizona this week, so, despite his red-hot form, winning will be a tall order for McIlroy. Not that he’s too concerned.

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Asked if he feels like the best player in the world right now, he replied: “Yes. I’m playing well. I feel like, consistency-wise, I’ve been as good as I have been ever in my career.

“I said at the end of last year, I feel like as complete of a player as I ever have. If you just look at my statistical categories, there’s no real glaring weaknesses there. I’ve worked really hard on that, to try to become a more well-rounded player.

“I think the results speak for themselves, as well, over not just the past six months but really the past 18 months post-Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. I feel like I’ve been on a really good run of form since then.” 

Ominously for the competition, McIlroy believes that his best years are still to come.  

For example, the Irishman hasn’t won a major since 2014 but reckons he’s playing at a higher level now than he was back then. 

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“You have to be an eternal optimist in this game,” he added. “I’ve won 30 times around the world as a professional. There’s no reason that I can’t double that number going forward. I truly believe that. 

“Who knows whenever you’ve peaked or not peaked. I’m guilty of looking back to 2014 and thinking about how I played then, and are there certain things from that time in my career I’d want to put into my own career at the minute, but when I look at everything and I look at the statistical categories, I don’t feel like I’ve ever been as complete of a player as I am right now. 

“The highs were very high back then, but I had some lows, too. But I feel like my base level now is just a little bit higher and a little more consistent.” 

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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