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Colin Montgomerie: McIlroy is good enough to win

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland chips onto a green during a practice round prior to the start of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla. Picture: Getty

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland chips onto a green during a practice round prior to the start of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla. Picture: Getty

CAN Rory McIlroy make it three in row? Yes, of course, and I say that having tipped him heavily to win this week before he followed up his Open Championship success by also winning the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

If he stands on the 72nd green on Sunday night having felt as though he has played well, then he is your winner.

It is up to him. He is that good and, on top of that, it is a course that will suit him. That is not to say Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler won’t push him. But, if he plays well, then he is better than them – end of story.

There have been changes to the course since I was last here for the same event in 2000, but I don’t see all that much difference, to be honest. The routing is the same and, though the greens have been changed a bit, I don’t remember them anyway.

It is strange this week because I don’t think the rough is very penal. Put it this way, it is not what we have come to expect over the years in these events. The Champions Tour rough is less, no question, but I was in the rough at the first today and it wasn’t a disaster as I could easily hit the green.

At 7,458 yards – a par-71 – it is the length that makes the big difference for me. It is 35 yards per hole longer than the Champions Tour.

So, instead of me having 170 into a pin, I’ve got 205 – that’s what I have to try to come to terms with.

Take the second, for instance. It used to be a par 5 but it has been switched to a par-4 – playing 500 yards.

It is not the most memorable golf course, to be honest. It is a very strong golf course, but it is not one of those you play and think “wow”. It’s not Augusta or Pebble Beach.

Having earned a spot through winning the Senior PGA Championship earlier in the season, it feels fantastic for me to be back playing in a regular major and I still feel I can compete out here. I look at the likes of the Clarkes, Westwoods and Harringtons and it’s not that long ago that I was competing against them. There is nothing to stop me doing that again.

Other Champions Tour guys like Tom Watson, Kenny Perry and Bernhard Langer are still proving they can do that so there’s no reason at all why I can’t feel as though I can do the same.

Number one is to make the cut, just like everyone else, and hopefully take it from there. As long as I feel confident, then I can do well.

 

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