McIlroy played well at Wentworth despite struggling over the first two rounds. He made the cut on the number Friday night, at 1-under, and then combined to shoot 12-under over the weekend.
He finished in a tie for 7th, five shots behind Fox, but admitted that his form is rounding into shape.
“I’m not far away. There are a couple of things, more so my misses,” McIlroy admitted after his round Sunday.
“My good swings are good swings, and I can hit good shots. Just [have to] manage the misses and make sure that there’s not a lot of them in there. We are all going to hit bad shots from time to time. That’s natural and inevitable. But if I can eradicate them a little bit and be more consistent, at least it’s the same pattern, which is nice.”
McIlroy had plenty of misses over his first two rounds, with no mishit more notable than his second shot on the par-4 8th hole Friday.
The Northern Irishman pulled a wedge from the middle of the fairway. He had only 137 yards left to the flag and dunked it into the pond that guards the green. He then made a double-bogey six and looked well on his way to missing the cut.
But he rallied, birdieing two of his final four holes to make the weekend, where he had much more success.
And that success is due to his mishits not having detrimental consequences.
Take how McIlroy played the tough par-4 13th on Sunday, for instance.
After missing the fairway right, McIlroy hit his second shot 22 yards short of the green. It landed in the fairway, which allowed him to get up and down easily for par.
Those types of misses keep rounds going and will help him win matches at the Ryder Cup.
“I think what I did well over the weekend was playing away from those misses and knowing if I was going to miss it, I was going to miss it in the right spot,” McIlroy said. “I managed my game better, but it would be nice to go to Rome without those misses.”
All players will have bad shots, even the best of the best. But golf is all about mitigating mistakes and eliminating the big number.
The same goes for McIlroy.
Despite playing better over the weekend at Wentworth, he still needs to work on that part of his game. He faded down the stretch on Sunday at the Horizon Irish Open, thanks to several bad swings that led to double and triple bogies.
“I’ve been saying it’s not too far away,” McIlroy said Sunday. “I was 16th in Ireland last week, not a fair reflection of how I actually played. I played well. Just a couple of water balls on the back nine on Sunday.”
“But yeah, it’s been two solid weeks, and definitely things to improve and to work on. But everything’s headed in the right direction.”
Everything is indeed trending in the right direction, but McIlroy must diminish the mistakes.
If he manages his mishits like he did on the 13th hole on Sunday, then he will prove to be a dominant force at the Ryder Cup.
But if those big numbers begin to rear their ugly head—like at the 8th hole Friday and during the final round of the Irish Open—then McIlroy may yield a couple of points to the Americans, who need all the help they can get.