Process and spot were two words that helped me, says Rory McIlroy
Four-time major champion and current World Number One, Rory McIlroy says focusing on two key words 'process' and 'spot' helped him deal with the pressure and script an "incredible" season.
New Delhi: Four-time major champion and current World Number One, Rory McIlroy says focusing on two key words 'process' and 'spot' helped him deal with the pressure and script an "incredible" season.
McIlroy clinched two Major Championships -- the Open Championship and the USPGA -- last year, besides the flagship BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour.
"2014 was an incredible year for me. I got off to a decent start to the year. It was solid. I didn't have any wins for the first five months. My first win of the year was at Wentworth, a course that I've historically not played very well at. This was a huge confidence boost for me and set me up for the summer that I had," McIlroy told Laureus.Com.
"In golf, once you get on a roll and you have some momentum, you just try and ride it as long as you possibly can. I was able to hold on to it the whole way through the summer and pick up a couple of Major Championships along the way. I didn't expect to have that summer.
"You're always hoping that you're going to have a successful year but you don't expect to win two Majors in a row or to play the golf that I did. You hope you can, but it was just nice to be able to produce it when I needed it."
Talking about his mantra last year that helped him, McIlroy said: "'Process' and 'spot' were the two words and they definitely helped. They helped when I was under pressure and when I was coming down the stretch because it gave me something else to focus on, rather than the result or where my competitors were, or that I needed to make a birdie.
"To be able to focus on something else and take your mind off what you're doing and put it somewhere else, it really helped for those situations. In the future those two words might be something completely different but at least giving yourself those trigger words helps take your mind away from the result, which I think is a big thing."
McIlroy, who won the Laureus World Breakthrough Award of the Year in 2012, has been nominated for this year's Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award.
"It's a very prestigious honour, the Laureus Awards in sport, to be nominated and be up against some of the greats of world sport. We'll see what happens; it's an honour to be nominated for the Laureus Sportsman of the Year and I hope to win it one day,"
Asked about three specific moments which stood out for
him last year, McIlroy said: "If I was to pick three, the first one would be the win at Wentworth. It had been 17 months since I had won on the European Tour, so it had been a long time coming. To win there was huge and to birdie the final two holes and to post a number that was good enough to win, was very satisfying.
"(Second) What epitomised the summer for me was how I finished on Saturday evening at the Open (Championship): from being one shot in the lead, playing the 14th, to finishing that day with a six shot lead with two eagles in the final three holes. The two iron shots I hit into the 16th and 18th were two of the best shots I hit all year.
"(Third) Standing on the 10th fairway of the final day of the USPGA at Valhalla, being three behind and hitting that three wood that was, admittedly, a little lucky, and making eagle from that to produce a charge on the back nine to overtake the likes of Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson.
"I proved to myself that I can do it when I'm coming from behind and when the pressure's on. I'm not just able to win these Majors from the front, I can make a charge as well. Of all the great moments of 2014, those are the three that stand out to me," he added.
The 25-year-old McIlroy said he never imagined that he would win four majors so early in his career.
"I've always said that I wanted to get to this point in my career, but I never thought that I would get here this quickly. To be 25 years of age and to have all these accolades and to have four Major Championships to my name already is very special," he said.
"But, at the same time, I'm just embarking on my career as a professional golfer and I want to maximise it as much as I possibly can and try and win even more. 2014 was an absolutely incredible year, but hopefully I'll have more years like that in me as well."
McIlroy started playing golf very early in his life and he narrated an incident when his father had made him sleep with a club to change his grip.
"This was when I was seven or eight years of age and we were trying to change my grip. I wanted to have a bit more of an orthodox grip. My dad thought it would be a good idea for me to go to sleep with a golf club and grip the golf club the way it should be gripped and fall asleep. We did it for a good few nights and it definitely helped."