US PGA: McIlroy ready for St Louis event despite four-year major drought

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In golf you have to be an eternal optimist - Rory McIlroy
US PGA Championship 2018
Dates: 9-12 August Venue: Bellerive Country Club Coverage: Commentary on 5 live sports extra from 22:00 BST Thursday-Saturday; 5 live 20:30 Sunday; live text updates on BBC Sport website

Rory McIlroy insists he heads into this week's US PGA Championship in a positive frame of mind despite his four-year major drought.

McIlroy's last major win was the 2014 US PGA with his joint runner-up finish at the recent Open his latest near miss in the game's four biggest events.

"It's not as if my game's in bad shape at all," said the 29-year-old.

"It's just I haven't won as much as I would have liked, but there's still plenty of time to change that."

A disappointing three-over-par 73 last Sunday saw McIlroy fall away from a challenging position at the Bridgestone Invitational as Justin Thomas triumphed but the former world number one is refusing to be downhearted.

McIlroy up to fifth in world rankings

McIlroy's performance at Carnoustie, as he finished two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari, was his eighth top-10 in his past 14 majors and he has moved up to fifth in the world rankings heading into this week's event at Bellerive Country Club in St Louis.

"With a good week this week, it just puts a different spin on my year from being what some people see as disappointing to back on track and another major and going forward again," added the four-time major winner.

"I've kept giving myself chances this year.

"I haven't closed out those tournaments as I would have liked, but at least I'm putting myself in position, and that's all I can do."

McIlroy insists has "done well" in moving back up the rankings from 11th at the start of the year but "the only thing" he has not done is "win enough".

Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson chat during Tuesday's practice round at Bellerive
Mc|lroy played a practice round with Phil Mickelson on Tuesday

His sole win so far in 2018 came as he produced a brilliant putting display at Bay Hill in March but after struggling for most of the year on the greens, McIlroy has shown improved form with the flat stick in recent weeks.

"I've played in a lot of final groups and I haven't played well enough when it's counted, so I'm just trying to figure out what I need to do to make that little step from contending and getting into final groups to lifting trophies."

McIlroy added that he is also working hard to fix the wedge play weakness which has seen him fail to take advantage of prodigious hitting off the tee in recent months.

"What makes me so good with the driver is sometimes what makes me inconsistent with the wedges.

"I've gotten into a couple of bad habits and that just makes it a little tougher for me to be consistent with a shorter club in my hand. So I'm working on it."

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