Rory McIlroy reckons patience is the key to his title bid

RORY McIlroy had no trouble yesterday naming the quality he thinks could be the key to becoming the third-youngest winner of the US PGA title this week.

As torrential rain interrupted practice at Whistling Straits on the eve of the final major of the year, the 21-year-old Northern Irishman stressed the importance of patience.

"Sometimes it's hard when you're trying to get somewhere so fast and you don't really want to slow down," said McIlroy.

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"But you've got to be really patient in this game and I realise that.

"Sometimes it is hard for me to accept that you're not going to have a good day all the time. I think that's something that I'm still learning how to do.

"But that all just comes through experience and I feel as if I'm getting better at it.

"At the Irish Open I just sort of let my head go down and just sort of tried to get to the clubhouse as fast as possible. You're going to have days like that and other days you're going to wake up and you're going to hit it great and you're going to see the lines of putts and they're going to go in.

"Everyone tells me 'Rory, just be patient'."

McIlroy led the Open Championship after a stunning opening 63 last month, but followed it with an 80 in Friday's strong winds.

Over the weekend, though, he stormed through the field to finish in a tie for third.

"I've probably never been more excited about a tournament than that one," he commented. "I gave myself the best possible chance and then I just found it very difficult - the conditions were tough and I just let the round get away from me a little bit.

"To come back the way that I did gave me a lot of confidence. It wasn't the result I was looking for obviously, but finishing third at St Andrews was a big boost for me. It made me realise that if I prepared properly and did the right things leading up to a tournament that I can give myself a really good chance."

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Helping his chances are the struggles of some of the players ahead of him in the world rankings.

The turmoil in Tiger Woods' personal life continues to take its toll on the golf course, and he arrived here after his worst tournament ever.

Phil Mickelson has faltered in his opportunities to claim the No 1 ranking over the last two months. Lee Westwood, No 3 in the world, is out with a calf injury.

"There's going to be a lot of guys here thinking that it's the right time for them to break through, and I'm definitely one of those guys," added McIlroy.