Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Rory McIlroy answers questions in the PGA Championship media center interview room, including one from Moultrie News reporter Tyler Heffernan.
Rory McIlroy's PGA Championship victory earned him $1.445 million. He should give it to me.
During this PGA season, McIlroy is 1-for-1 when I'm covering the tournament. Without me there, he's been cut from three tournaments and placed 60th and 40th in another two. Ouch.
After the Northern Irishman hoisted the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday, he said he felt comfortable as soon as he arrived Monday.
I arrived on Monday, as well. Plus, I have Irish ancestors. Coincidences? Pssh.
"My locker was right by the window overlooking the putting green and overlooking the beach and the ocean," he said.
"I was thinking to myself, 'I just have a good feeling about this week.'
"I felt it from the start of the week that it could be special."
That feeling he's alluding to has to be the aura of a Moultrie News reporter walking The Ocean Course. Has to be.
On Wednesday, the final day of practice rounds, I grabbed a microphone in the media center interview room and asked McIlroy a question that would foreshadow the PGA Championship: "What do you have to do this week for this to be considered a success?"
At the time, it seemed almost too simple of a question.
But the previous day's personal highlight was asking Tiger Woods a follow-up question about tee box placement.
I wanted to keep the question train running.
It was easy for me to get out of the way of the question and let McIlroy take it from there. Some reporters like to hear their voices as much as possible on interview transcripts.
That ain't me.
Phil Mickelson was asked a question during the tournament that a reporter took his sweet time getting to the actual question.
Enough with the chatter already.
Confused, Mickelson responded, "I don't get what the question is. Hit me with it."
I didn't want that scenario with McIlroy. Mickelson was nice about it, but I wanted to spare that kind of embarrassment.
Besides, if my face got any more red from the existing sunburn, I'd have to change my column to Eye of the Elmo.
McIlroy responded well to my question.
He had struggled prior to the PGA Championship, so I was curious about his goal for the final major tournament. Was it to avoid the cut? Was there a specific number he wanted to get to? And, it left the possibility of a cocky guarantee.
"For me, I would say get in contention, give myself a chance to win on Sunday. That's all I can ask for," he said. "I can't sit up here and say a success would be to win or a top three or a top five. If I feel like I have a decent chance going into Sunday, that's all I can ask for."
He had a chance to win Sunday. And then he won - by a lot.
McIlroy posted a bogey-free, six-under-par score of 66 at Golf Digest's No. 1-rated most difficult course in North America.
He cruised to victory by an eight-stroke margin, good enough to break the previous record for margin of victory at a PGA Championship by Jack Nicklaus.
All because of me, right?