If history is of any indication, look for Rory McIlroy to break 10-year majors drought | D'Angelo

LOUISVILLE — Rory McIlroy is hoping for history to repeat itself as he continues to chase his first major in a decade.

McIlroy, the Jupiter resident, won the 2014 PGA Championship played on the same course it is being held this week, Valahalla Golf Club. That year, he entered as a favorite after conquering the British Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Three wins in three starts.

McIlroy arrives in Louisville this week coming off wins at Wells Fargo Sunday and the Zurich Classic last month, where he teamed with Shane Lowry.

"Just need to try to replicate whatever I did in 2014," McIlroy said. "Just try to do that all over again."

May 12, 2024; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Rory McIlroy acknowledges the gallery after his final putt and win during the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
May 12, 2024; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Rory McIlroy acknowledges the gallery after his final putt and win during the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Rory automatically is penciled in as a favorite for every major .. heck, every tournament, as the world No. 2 and a 26-time PGA Tour champion. But that perch has been been knocked down a few rungs since a drought that now has reached 33 majors. This after squeezing his four majors wins into a stretch of 14 starts from 2011 to 2014.

While No. 1 ranked Scottie Scheffler now owns that distinction as the one to beat each time a major rolls around — he seized that from Jupiter's Brooks Koepka who held it for about four years starting in 2018 — McIlroy now strongly has to be considered as the one to beat this week.

Even though Scheffler has won four of his last five starts, including the Masters, and was runner-up in the fifth.

Even though Koepka is the defending champion and three times has raised the Wanamaker Trophy.

"It feels like the stars are aligning a little bit," McIlroy said after Sunday's round in which he went from two shots behind Xander Schauffele after seven holes in the final round to six ahead after after playing the next eight holes in 8-under par.

If they do align over the skies of East Louisville this weekend, it would be the first time in a major for Rory since that 2014 PGA Championship on these same grounds.

10 key storylines: PGA Championship from Brooks Koepka to Scottie Scheffler to Tiger Woods

That week, he held off Phil Mickelson to become the fifth player to win four majors at 25 or younger, a number he is stuck on after turning 35 this month.

And it would mean those same stars did not align for Scheffler, which has not happened since well before this country experienced a total solar eclipse, which happened to be last month. Scheffler has dominated the game in the last year like none other since Tiger Woods did in the early 2000s and did so recently while dealing with the anticipation of become a father for the first time.

And they did not align for Koepka, who prides himself on bullying and intimidating the fields at majors tournaments.

Whatever McIlroy is feeling when it comes to his game shaping up, certainly Scheffler and Koepka are feeling the same way, too.

Koepka may have been disappointed finishing 45th place at the Masters, his 9-over marking his worst week at Augusta National other than missing the cut in 2022. But he regained some of that swagger after winning LIV's Singapore event this month.

"It was rounding the corner for me," Koepka said following Singapore. "I felt like it was improving but the results weren't there. It's nice to see some results and the hard work paying off.

"Nobody wants to be out competing on a Sunday when you're battling for 45th. It's just kind of go at everything and hope you shoot a low round."

As for Scheffler, who knows what going through the emotions of your first child being born will mean. Scheffler now can get back to golf being the primary thing after he was on call 24/7 for about the last month as his wife, Meredith, was approaching her due date.

But that certainly did not hold him back in his last two starts, winning the Masters and the RBC Heritage while wondering if at any moment he was going to whisked away and boarding a plane back to his home in Texas.

Still, Scheffler certainly had something other than golf on his mind since his last event more than three weeks ago, and likely has gotten little rest since he and Meredith became first-time parents Wednesday. He arrived at Valhalla Monday.

What does it all mean? The guess here is McIlroy has the edge when it comes to momentum with Scheffler's mind being preoccupied and Koepka not contending in his last three majors since last year's PGA at Oak Hill Country Club.

Which just might be enough to allow the Northern Irishmen to lift the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday.

Tom D'Angelo is a senior sports columnist and golf writer for The Palm Beach Post. He can be reached at

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: What separates McIlroy from Scheffler, Koepka at PGA Championship