“At the end of 2013, if I have not won another major I will be disappointed.” Two months after expressing those thoughts, McIlroy was replaced as world number one by Tiger Woods and now finds himself third in the rankings behind Phil Mickelson. And unless he retains his US PGA title next week at Oak Hill, that disappointment of not winning a major championship in 2013 will hit home too. The bookmakers have the 24-year-old from Northern Ireland as a 28/1 seventh favourite to lift the Wanamaker Trophy again and it is hard to argue with those odds. In fact it could easily be argued they are not generous enough. McIlroy won five times last year, including his second major by eight shots at Kiawah Island, to finish top of the money list on both sides of the Atlantic. But he has recorded only one top-five finish in a turbulent 2013 that saw him damage his reputation by walking off the course during his defence of the Honda Classic and bending one of his new clubs out of shape during the final round of the US Open. In the majors he has managed just one round under 70 – a closing 69 in the US Masters – and is a collective 28 over par after missing the cut in the Open Championship after rounds of 79 and 75. That opening round at Muirfield led McIlroy to offer a withering assessment of his own performance, labelling it “brain dead” and claiming he sometimes felt “like I’m walking around out there and I’m unconscious”. Such honesty made for great headlines, but is it great for McIlroy? “Sometimes (I wish I wasn’t so honest) but it’s just me,” he said. “I am not going to sit up here and pour my heart out but I will tell you how I am thinking and what’s on my mind. If I get asked a reasonable question I will give a reasonable answer.” The answer to McIlroy’s problems on the course may prove harder to find, but the Ryder Cup star is hoping a few enjoyable rounds with friends back home in Northern Ireland last week, coupled with the advice of putting coach Dave Stockton, will set him on the right track. He insists his game was in worse shape at this time last year before a fifth-place finish in Akron kickstarted a stunning second half of the season. And he believes competing at Firestone is the perfect preparation for what lies ahead at Oak Hill, venue for the 1995 Ryder Cup and the scene of Shaun Micheel’s US PGA triumph in 2003. “They are both old-fashioned, traditional golf courses,” McIlroy said. “The fairways at Oak Hill have a little more bend to them, you have to shape a lots of shots at Oak Hill; here a lot of them are straight out in front but the greens are similar, quite small and sloping and the par threes at both courses are strong holes. “I’ve heard the rough is up at Oak Hill from when I was there six weeks ago so I’m looking forward to seeing what that’s like.” “I don’t play golf for the money, I am well past that,” McIlroy said in Abu Dhabi after signing a deal reported to be worth around £150million over 10 years. “I’m a major champion and world number one, which I have always dreamed of being, and feel this is a company that can help me sustain that and win even more major titles. Press Association At the press conference to announce his multi-million pound deal with Nike in January, Rory McIlroy was keen to stress major titles mattered more to him than money.
Katie Chin | Daily TrojanFlying high · Redshirt sophomore Marquís Morris was one of many USC student-athletes and graduates competing at last week’s USATF Championships in Sacramento, Calif. Morris was a semifinalist in the 110m hurdles, while Trojan alumnus Aleec Harris triumphed in the finals to claim the national title.The USC track program shone at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships last week, with both alumni and collegiate stars impressing during the four-day competition in Sacramento, Calif. Former Trojans Dalilah Muhammad and Aleec Harris earned titles in the 400m hurdles and 110m hurdles, respectively, and current Trojans smashed multiple team records.At the meet, five USC runners — four graduates and junior Kendall Ellis — qualified to represent the United States at the IAAF World Championships in August. Ellis will team up with Trojan track greats Muhammad, Harris, Allyson Felix and Nia Ali as they gun for glory in London. Ellis and Felix will both run the 400m, Harris will enter the 110m hurdles and Muhammad will compete in the 400m hurdles.Muhammad earned her second career USA title in the women’s 400m hurdles on the last day of action at Hornet Stadium. The 2016 Olympic gold medalist recorded a personal-best time of 52.64 to win the finals, while Harris topped the men’s 110m hurdles with a time of 13.24.For the current Trojans, Anna Cockrell competed in the women’s 400m hurdles finals and finished eighth overall (55.14), breaking her USC freshman record in the process. Junior Deanna Hill recorded a time of 23.04 to come in sixth in the women’s 200m finals.Numerous USC athletes also starred in the competition’s earlier days. Ellis broke her own all-time school record in the 400m on Friday and repeated the feat Saturday. She trimmed her first time of 50.24 down to 50.00 flat to take third overall and earn a spot on the USA roster. Michael Norman bettered his USC freshman record in the 400m on Saturday, running to finals qualification in 44.60 seconds. The time also elevated Norman to third place on the program’s all-time 400m list.Senior Cameron Pettigrew qualified for the 400m semifinals with a time of 51.74, and junior Ricky Morgan Jr. also advanced on the men’s side after recording a time of 45.47 — just .03 seconds from his personal best.Redshirt sophomore Marquís Morris ran in Harris’ heat in the first round of the 110m hurdles, and he qualified for the semifinals with a 13.73 mark while Harris won the heat. Morris did not advance to the finals, however, settling for 14th overall.After the end of the USATF Championships, Trojan athletes will look forward to rooting on Cockrell at the biennial World Championships, which features more than 200 countries. The United States is the winningest nation in the competition’s history.The IAAF World Championships kick off on Aug. 4 at London Stadium.