Bryson DeChambeau has paid tribute to Rory McIlroy’s “incredible resolve” and hopes to emulate his 2012 PGA Championship victory at Kiawah Island next week.
McIlroy lifted his first silverware for 18 months on Sunday as he clinched a one-shot victory at the Wells Fargo Championship, his third win at Quail Hollow – 11 years after his first.
DeChambeau insisted he never doubted McIlroy would return to the winners’ circle sooner, rather than later, despite the former world No 1 enduring problems with his swing in recent weeks.
McIlroy missed the cut by 10 shots at The Players Championship and then revealed his swing had suffered as a result of speed-training drills, a move inspired by the manner of DeChambeau’s US Open win at Winged Foot last September.
“We all knew he was going to go back and win at some point,” said DeChambeau ahead of this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch, just a half-hour drive from his home in Dallas.
“He was struggling, but his resolve is incredible and his ability to play the game of golf is undeniably unbelievable. I would say Hall of Fame worthy as time goes on.
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“I would say that there is numerous facets about his game that if he continues to improve he is going to be a force to be reckoned with for a long time, and will continue to do so probably for the rest of his life.
“That’s exciting. I like playing against people that are continuing to dedicate themselves to playing the best golf they can possibly play, and I want to play with the best players in the world and continue to challenge myself as well.
“That’s why I play out here, that’s why I play against the best, that’s why I love it when I see Rory up there at the top of the leaderboard or anybody else that’s a force to be reckoned with. It’s something I thrive off of.”
McIlroy’s win was well-timed as it gives him a huge confidence boost ahead of the second major of the year at Kiawah Island, where he won his first PGA title in 2012 by eight shots.
The Ocean Course will measure up to 7,876 yards next week, a record for a major championship, and DeChambeau is fully aware that a lack of course knowledge should be offset by his immense length.
“I feel like I’m ramping up,” he added. “Every time I’ve had a few weeks in the row, that third or fourth week I seem to play pretty well. Hopefully this week kind of solidifies it, and maybe I play well and win this week and I am feeling really good going into next week.
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“But Kiawah, I’ve never played it. I’ve seen it on TV obviously watching Rory do what he did. He played really well out there, and I think his game, his length, is a tremendous advantage, as well as mine hopefully will be next week.
“I think it’s one of the longest championships we’ve ever played. And I’m excited for that, because any time it’s a super long golf course I think it fits into my hand quite nicely.”
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