Rory McIlroy acknowledged that his comeback to the top of the world rankings occurred sooner than anticipated as he successfully defended his CJ Cup title. McIlroy scored his 23rd PGA Tour victory and third of the year with a one-shot triumph over Kurt Kitayama at Congaree Golf Club. The Northern Irishman shot a four-under 67 despite ending his final round with consecutive bogeys. The four-time major winner’s victory followed his RBC Canadian Open victory in June and his record-setting third FedExCup victory at the Tour Championship in August. McIlroy’s recent victory also saw him pass Scottie Scheffler to become the ninth-ranked golfer in the world.
McIlroy confessed after his triumph, “If someone had told me on the Friday night of the Valero Texas Open in April, when I missed the cut, that I would be world No. 1 by October, I would have asked them what they were smoking because I would not have believed it.””It’s been a wild six months, to say the least. I found out a couple things about my game, and I’ve been on a tremendous run.
“It feels as though everything has come together for me, and today was merely a continuation of how I’ve felt I’ve been playing over the past few months. Now it’s all about moving forward and maintaining momentum. It’s great. It’s a lot to take in right now with everything going on, but I’m extremely proud of how I handled this week knowing what was at risk and how I’ve performed over the past several months.”McIlroy’s return to world No. 1 for the first time since 2020 caps an outstanding year in which he finished in the top eight at all four majors. The 33-year-old is pleased with his development over the previous 12 months.
McIlroy, who was ranked No. 14 in the world when he won the CJ Cup in 2021, stated, “Last year’s tournament was the beginning of my efforts to rebuild my ranking.” “I had a terrible Ryder Cup, as I’ve stated numerous times. I believe I was outside of the top 10 in the world, which is a position I am not accustomed to holding. I believe that the continuous ascent back to the pinnacle of international golf and what it requires is a team effort, not just mine. It’s a collaborative effort.
“Reflecting on the past year, there are a lot of individuals who deserve a lot of the accolades, but I’m the one who sits up here and accepts them. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that people don’t see.All of that is equally as important as what I do on the field to earn these victories. It’s a team effort, and I think that’s what gets me caught up and emotional anytime I think about it, because it’s so amazing to be on this journey with people you want to be on the journey with.”