"Two events back now and he's 40 under-par"

Is Rory McIlroy setting himself up for a successful season?

BY Simon Maguire 22:05 Monday 29 January 2018, 22:05 29 Jan 2018

Rory McIlroy. Picture by: Kamran Jebreili/AP/Press Association Images

Lawrence Donegan joined Monday's Off the Ball to look back at a packed weekend of golf which he believes put the sport firmly back in the public eye.   

Rory McIlroy pushed Li Hooting all the way at the Dubai Desert Classic - only to lose out by a single stroke while Tiger Woods tied 23rd at his first PGA Tour event in a year at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines over the weekend.

"At the weekend, it really felt as if golf had planted its flag back again somewhere in the middle of the sporting conscienciousness - it was something else to behold," Donegan told Joe Molloy, "Rory and Tiger, I mean, that's Rory two events now and he's 40 under-par for his first two events back after injury. That is astonishing. 

"As for Tiger - the bet was 'would he make the cut?'. First things first - a brilliant effort to make the cut - he was three under-par on his back nine on Friday to make the cut which was kind of vintage Tiger and then he did pretty well over the weekend."

Woods struggled to hit the fairway off the tee over the 72 holes but Donegan believes his game is in a good place in his first tournament back after such a long lay-off.  

"While it was pretty bad - it wasn't awful, he's always been like that - it's manageable. I mean, in the Bahamas, it was a resort golf course and it was designed for the ball to roll back into the middle of the fairway so it's essentially hard to miss a fairway there but yeah it's troublesome and he'll need to get it sorted. 

"I mean, he hit nine fairways in the last 54 holes which is just absurd but it will get better - it can't get any worse. If you went and looked at every other aspect of his game: putting, the big concern was his short game - the last time he was seriously trying to come back - he had the chipping yips and he seems to have got rid of that."

The full interview is available here:

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