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Scottie Scheffler No Longer Has the Upper Hand Over Rory McIlroy in PGA Championship Battle; Here’s Why

Published 05/13/2024, 1:49 PM EDT

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Rory McIlroy is trending in the golf world! Not only for not being able to join the PGA Tour Policy Board but for his stellar show at Quail Hollow. Scottie Scheffler, on the other hand, is getting much media coverage and fans’ attention for his remarkable performance throughout the 2024 season. So much so that the golf world and the experts have assumed the two-time Masters winner will be the one to lift the Wanamaker at Valhalla this year. But certain aspects of McIlroy might make you rethink the 2024 PGA Championship crown.

McIlroy’s booming chances in Valhalla for another major win

In 2012, McIlroy played a bogey-free 23 holes. When he reached the 18th, it’s like he knew he was about to make history. With a seven-stroke lead, the pro overlooked the 18th green. He then turned to his then-caddie, J.P. Fitzgerald, and said, “I’m going to win this one by eight as well.” He broke Nicklaus’s record, which was made at Oak Hills CC at the 1980 PGA Championship, and defeated David Lynn by eight strokes. This win is the highest margin victory in the history of the PGA Championship.

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The championship at Valhalla has proved to be extremely crucial in the Northern Irishman’s career. In 2014, he won the second PGA Championship, marking his fourth major title. A 25-year-old McIlroy had then become the third golfer to achieve four major wins by that age, alongside Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods

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Not only that, McIlroy recently confessed how he has also improved from a decade ago. He stated, “I’ve been sort of banging this drum for the last few years, but I’m a way better player now than I was back then.” On top of that, he also confessed that he usually plays very well when he has a lot of things going on. His present situation with two wins and the PGA Tour Policy Board controversy definitely point towards it.

USA Today via Reuters

McIlroy’s back-to-back wins give him an edge

Rory McIlroy has been in the golf community for over a decade now. He has won on the Tour 26 times. The two-time PGA Championship winner has not been able to beat Scheffler’s game this year, but he did suggest a mallet-style putter. Scheffler has four PGA Tour wins this season, while McIlroy has two.

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While judging the possibilities of who is going to sweep up the next win, the community should also consider McIlroy’s incredible improvement, especially with his two back-to-back wins, first at the Zurich Classic and then at the Wells Fargo Championship. The Texas native played his last game almost a month ago at the RBC Heritage, which he won. Scheffler has not been active on the course for a while because of her wife’s pregnancy. The contrasting situation between these two golfers might actually give McIlroy the upper hand at Valhalla.

What makes Rory McIlroy strive for this major more than ever?

In one of his recent interviews, McIlroy exclaimed his consciousness about how he has not won any majors in a decade. The very last victory on the grand stage was his 2014 Valhalla win. He confessed about it in his interview with Sky Sports. He stated, “I haven’t had the major record to back that up, but I’ve had the wins; I’ve done everything else there is to do in the game since 2014.” This realization truly haunts McIlroy, and he has this urgency and desperation for the title that Scottie Scheffler doesn’t possess at the moment. The closest he ever came to winning a major again was in 2023 when he finished at T2 in the US Open.

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McIlroy had further put forward his plans to win another major, and it certainly became one of the most crucial things for fans to believe in him. He announced, “The only thing I need to do is get another major.” Then he speculated that his latest win at the Wells Fargo Championship was a great direction for another win. McIlroy declared,You know, a win like this going into the PGA Championship next week is a good way to prep for that.”

Do you think that Rory McIlroy can win this year’s PGA Championship over Scottie Scheffler? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by:

Pritha Halder

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Pritha Halder is a Golf writer at EssentiallySports. Specializing in covering the off-court life of PGA Tour players, she brings to life the drama, triumphs and challenges of this Gentlemen's game. Having completed her Bachelor's in English Language and Literature from a multidisciplinary university, Pritha started her career as a writer for a literary magazine, before delving into the world of Golf Her early interest in the sport blossomed after reading a New York Times article "Tiger Woods and the Game of Life".
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Edited by:

Riya Singhal

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