Resurgent Rory McIlroy shrugs off claims of Tiger Woods strain to clinch fourth Wells Fargo title

McIlroy had trailed world No. 3 Schauffele by two strokes after seven holes but tore away from the overnight leader down the stretch, carding four birdies and two eagles in a dazzling eight-hole run.

Even with a closing double bogey, McIlroy’s six-under 65 was still the best score of the day, easily enough to secure his 26th PGA Tour crown and a second in a row after triumph at the Zurich Classic alongside fellow Irishman Shane Lowry last month.

“I don’t know what’s more unbelievable, winning a PGA Tour event for the fourth time or getting my 26th,” McIlroy – who previously won the event in 2010, 2015 and 2021 – told reporters.

“Whenever I hit some of these milestones or do these things, I always think back to 20-year-old me playing in this tournament for the first time. If I had known back then that this is the way everything was going to pan out, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.”

‘No strain’ with Woods

McIlroy brushed off any suggestion of a soured relationship with the 15-time major winner, adding that he had a seat on the “transaction subcommittee” attempting to strike a deal with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which funds LIV Golf.

“I think friends can have disagreements or not see eye to eye on things … I think that’s fine,” McIlroy said Thursday when asked if his relationship with Woods had been strained.

“We had a really good talk last Friday for 45 minutes just about a lot of different things. There’s no strain there. I think we might see the future of golf a little bit differently, but I don’t think that should place any strain on a relationship or on a friendship.”

‘It feels like the stars are aligning’

A second straight victory, which secured a $3.6 million winner’s cut of a $20 million prize purse, increases McIlroy’s momentum ahead of the PGA Championship next week.

The 35-year-old is a four-time major champion and has played some of his best golf in recent years, but is now into his 10th year without a major win despite 20 top-10 finishes in that time.

Buoyed by his recent form, McIlroy heads to Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky chasing his third PGA Championship title at the site of his last major triumph.

“I really got some confidence from New Orleans, winning with Shane,” McIlroy said.

“Coming into this week at a golf course that I’m comfortable at, my golf swing feels a lot more comfortable than it has. So going to a venue next week where I’ve won, it feels like the stars are aligning a little bit.

“But I’ve got a lot of golf to play and a lot of great players to try to beat next week. Going into the next major of the year feeling really good about myself.” – CNN

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