Rory McIlroy reveals he almost quit the game

Rory McIlroy has revealed he almost quit the game but put it down to being a just a ‘grumpy teenager’ and three days later he resumed the game that has seen him become a triple Major Champion.

It was 2006 and McIlroy was in the back seat of the family car being driven back home after he had beaten Co. Louth’s Simon Ward in a play-off to capture the Mulligar Scratch Cup.

Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy (Credit: Anthony Powter)

McIlroy was just over a year away from turning professional but on his first day back to a tournament since winning at Royal Liverpool he was asked if he ever experienced ‘crisis of faith’ in his career that could have forced him to quit the game.

“Yeah, I was ready to give it up when I was 17 and I remember the drive home with my dad after I had just won the Mulligar Scratch Cup,” he said.

“It was about a three hour drive back home and I remember saying to dad that I’ve just won but I don’t feel happy or excited.”

“I got back home and didn’t play golf for about three days and just didn’t practice. I must have been an impulsive teenager going through some hormonal issues (smiling).”

“But that was like the only time. Apart from that, I love the game of golf. It’s been great to me over the years, obviously.”

“As I said, this is what I always wanted to do. I’m really enjoying it. But there was a teenage rebellion, yes, for three days.”

“I look back on it now, and my parents were actually so good as said: ‘Look, Rory, we just want you to be happy and do whatever you want to and enjoy it’.

“Probably on the inside they’re saying, what’s he thinking? What’s he doing? There was no panic and it was just me being a grumpy teenager”.

However the now 25-year-old and only the third player in the history of the game to win three Majors by age 26 is not about to experience any crisis of faith in what is next on his career agenda.

McIlroy jetted into Arkon this week and played the outward nine of the Firestone Country Club course in the company of fellow PGA Champion, Keegan Bradley along with Rickie Fowler, and the player McIlroy partnered over the final day at Royal Liverpool.

McIlroy this week also has the chance to get back to number one in the world for the first time since March 2013.

That will happen if he captures this week’s $US9m event and current World No. 1 Adam Scott, and former Firestone champion, finishes outside the top-five.

And McIlroy’s performance on the Firestone course is encouraging with three top-10s in his five appearances including a best of fifth the week prior to capturing the 2012 PGA Championship.

“Becoming world number one again is a good way for me to come back an refocus on my game,” he said.

“There is a lot of things I am now focussing on and becoming world number one again is a big goal of mine.”

“Also I have never won a World Golf Championship so that’s another thing I would like to knock off the list even though I have now won three Majors so there is a lot of things to play for.”

And unlike the euphoria following his 2011 US Open success and 2012 PGA Championship triumph McIlroy says he’s not about to go overboard travelling about the globe with the Claret Jug even though the most famous trophy in all of golf is in his possession this week.

“It’s kind of something I’m going to have to handle from now on even though I’ve won another major championship,” he said.

“It is The Open. It’s the one that I dreamed about winning when I was a kid at Holywood Golf Club, holing all those putts to beat Tiger and beat Phil and beat Ernie.

“Again, I feel like I’ve done it. It’s great to be introduced as The Open champion, but I need to move on from that and say I’ve got a lot more golf left this year, and I want to achieve a lot more.

“I’m enjoying being The Open champion, but that’s not all I want to be this year. I want to do more.”

“So the next number in my head is four. I’ve won three of them. I’d like to win my fourth, and that’s it, and just try and keep going like that, just one after the other.”

“And if it adds up to whatever number it adds up to in my career, then that’s great. I don’t want to put that pressure on myself. I don’t want to put that burden of a number to try and attain.”

The current world number two will be among 77 players from 22 countries, including the complete top-50 in the World Rankings, who will tee-up in suburban Akron.

It will be the first occasion, barring withdrawals, since the 2012 PGA Championship a tournament will feature the entire top-50 on the rankings.