McIlroy ready for PGA Tour debut

Rory McIlroy will make his 2015 PGA Tour debut at this week’s Honda Classic, an event which has been a bit of a mixed-bag for him.

Paddy Power haven’t wavered in making the Northern Irishman the 7/2 favourite for the title in Palm Beach Gardens this week, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a bit of a chequered past at the Honda.

While his fondest memory of the course will be that it was the place where he was confirmed as world number one for the first time in 2012, he also walked off the course the following year after he was seven over par, having played just eight holes of his first round.

Last year, McIlroy looked on course to make amends in style when he opened with rounds of 63 and 66, only to card a closing 74 and eventually lose out in a play-off to Russell Henley.

This time the Northern Irishman has momentum on his side, however, after winning the Dubai Desert Classic and picking up a second place in Abu Dhabi two weeks earlier.

McIlroy spoke with great respect about The Champion course which is home to the feared “Bear Trap” on holes 15, 16 and 17.

“Sixteen gives you a little bit of a breather because it’s only a fairway wood off the tee and if you get your tee-shot away it’s a relatively straightforward second shot,” he told Inside the PGA Tour.

“But 15 and 17 are brutal.

“To contend with not just the pressure of trying to win a golf tournament but the wind and everything else, it’s a stretch of holes you just want to get through in even par and get on to the 18th tee.

“I can see myself shooting scores here. You know, I can see 63, 64, 65 out there, maybe some guys can’t. But once you get on a roll, it’s not like it’s the longest course in the world.

“You’ve just got to position your way around, and you’ve still got quite a lot of wedges in your hand but if you’re comfortable with that and you get yourself on the fairway, there’s plenty of opportunities to make birdies.”

McIlroy has been paired with big-hitting American duo Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka for the first two rounds, while defending champion Henley is alongside Ryder Cup stars Rickie Fowler and Graeme McDowell.

To back McIlroy or any of your favourites at the Honda Classic this week, head on over to Paddy Power for all your betting needs.