During his rollercoaster 2014 season, Rory McIlroy says he was pushed to win the PGA Championship after witnessing some on-course camaraderie between Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler that irked his hyper-competitive nature.
McIlroy appeared on a new episode of David Feherty’s Feherty on the Golf Channel, and in the interview recounts his emotions during the 2014 PGA, including one incident in particular that propelled him to victory. Though he began the final round with a one-shot lead, McIlroy was forced to make a dramatic comeback in near-darkness when both Fowler and Mickelson made birdie after birdie on the back nine to overtake the Northern Irishman.
“I was on a mission. I was chasing down Phil and Rickie, who were playing in front of us,” McIlroy told the host. “They both got on a run. And I saw on the front nine they started to fist bump each other and high five each other. And that sort of annoyed me… You’re both trying to win a major championship…I know I would never do it in a major. If someone started to play well, I’m trying to beat you. I’m not going to start fist bumping and high fiving you. I want to beat you.”
“I had this thing in my head, I’m going to catch you and I’m going to beat you. And thankfully, I was able to do it, just about.” McIlroy went on to win at Valhalla with a 16-under score of 268, one shot ahead of Mickelson and two shots ahead of Fowler.
Watch the video of McIlroy’s comments below.