In the 10 years since Rory McIlroy last won a major championship, there have been approximately 25 instances of the “things have never been set up better for him” narrative in the days leading into all the subsequent majors. We will make it 26 at Valhalla, and we will really, really mean it. This truly feels like a week where there are two Rory outcomes: winning or failure.

Should he not win, there will be lessons learned and progress made and a bad bounce or draw that simply meant it wasn’t in the cards. This has all happened in the intervening 10 years, which has included so much exceptional play but no major trophies. All that great golf, his  official and unofficial leadership roles, and his personality have combined to help mitigate critical glare shining on that drought.

But the glare is still there, and it should be as intense as ever this week. The course is perfectly suited for him. It rewards his length. He just dominated on a similar setup with similar rewards at Quail Hollow. He’s won at Valhalla before. He’s coming off a victory where those strengths were on full display. He said Sunday his form feels great, any technical issues sorted. There have been many times over the last decade when the drought continuing via yet another close call could be excused. Golf is hard, and there are many great players. But if he misses another chance this particular week, with his game seemingly primed, it would be harder than ever to excuse.


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 – For Brooks Koepka, Every Major Is a Shot at History

 – Previewing the Other Storylines We’re Watching at the PGA Championship

This piece originally appeared in the Fried Egg Golf newsletter. Subscribe for free and receive golf news and insight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. For more coverage of the PGA Championship, visit our PGA hub here.