PGA: Rory McIlroy: ‘I love playing in Canada’

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Rory McIlroy has made himself at home at the RBC Canadian Open, winning the event on two occasions.

The Northern Ireland native will try for a hat trick on Thursday when play begins at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ontario.

The Hamilton course is playing host to the event for the seventh time, and the first since McIlroy finished with a final-round 61 to win by seven strokes in 2019.

McIlroy also emerged victorious at St. George’s Golf & Country Club in 2022. He tied for ninth place in 2023 when Nick Taylor became the first Canadian to win the event since 1954 after defeating Tommy Fleetwood in a playoff.

“I think first and foremost I love playing here,” McIlroy said Wednesday. “I love playing in Canada. I love playing in front of the fans.”

With that, McIlroy sheepishly admitted a dirty little secret while praising the Canadian fan experience.

“Yeah, full disclosure here, and this isn’t probably a good thing to say in Canada, but I’ve never been to a hockey game, but I would imagine that that’s sort of what it feels like,” he said. “It feels like you’re playing in that sort of hockey environment, especially with the Rink hole. So, yeah, it’s just more of a, I don’t know, I’m very, very fortunate that I feel like I get good support most places that we go to play, but it’s just, for whatever reason, it’s just a little bit extra here in Canada.”

McIlroy, 35, also addressed the death of Grayson Murray, who — per the 30-year-old golfer’s parents — died by suicide on Saturday morning. His death came one day after Murray cited illness following his withdrawal from the Charles Schwab Challenge at Fort Worth, Texas.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s incredibly sad, first and foremost, and I think we’re all thinking of Grayson’s family and hoping that they’re doing OK and getting through this incredibly tough period.

“Yeah, I think, you know, it’s cliche, but it puts everything in perspective. It puts everything — you know, at the end of the day, you know, golf is golf and, yeah, we play it for a living, but it pales in comparison to the things that actually matter in life. That’s a, I’ve had to realize that at times and I’m still sort of working my way through that in terms of not making golf the be-all, end-all for me. I think it slaps you in the face when something like that happens last week.

“As I said, it’s incredibly sad and everyone has to remember out here that we go out and we do things that a lot of people can’t, but at the end of the day we’re still human beings, and we’re vulnerable and we’re fragile, and I think if there’s a lesson for anyone out there it’s just to be kinder to each other.”

–Field Level Media

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