'I'm ready to play' - McIlroy focused on US PGA tilt

Rory McIlroy speaking to the media at the 2024 US PGA Championship
McIlroy spoke to the media for the first time since filing divorce papers on Monday [Getty Images]

Rory McIlroy says he is "ready to play" this week's US PGA Championship at Valhalla despite filing divorce papers on Monday.

The Northern Irishman, 35, has submitted a "petition for the dissolution of marriage" from Erica, his wife of seven years, to a court near their home in Florida.

The timing of the news shocked the golfing world, coming as it did at the start of a week in which McIlroy is hoping to end a near 10-year drought in the majors by repeating his US PGA victory at Valhalla, in August 2014.

The world number two arrived at the Kentucky course brimming with "confidence and momentum" after winning his past two PGA Tour events - the Zurich Classic and Wells Fargo - with expectations mounting of a showdown between him and Scottie Scheffler.

World number one Scheffler also comes into this tournament on the back of two victories in his previous two tournaments - the Masters and RBC Heritage in April.

The American, 27, and McIlroy have rightly been touted as favourites to make it a hat-trick of wins.

But while Scheffler has had the welcome distraction of becoming a father for the first time to contend with, the news from McIlroy's camp has been his impending divorce.

Scheffler was happy to field numerous questions from the media on his new role, but McIlroy requested not to be asked about his personal life in his news conference on Wednesday.

His wishes were respected aside from one general question asking how he was doing, with McIlroy simply replying: "I'm ready to play this week."

In 2014, McIlroy won the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour just four days after calling off his engagement to Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki.

In the following three months, he went on to win The Open, the WGC-Bridgestone Championship at Firestone and then the US PGA at Valhalla - his fourth and final major to date.

"Today was the first time I was on the golf course since 10 years ago, so it was good to refamiliarise myself with the place," said McIlroy of his return to the Louisville course.

"It's a little longer, a couple of minor changes but, for the most part, pretty much the same that I can remember."

McIlroy is hoping the "confidence and momentum" he is bringing into this week will stand him in good stead.

"The game feels good coming off a fun [win] in New Orleans with Shane [Lowry], and then a really good performance last week [at Quail Hollow]," added McIlroy, who will start his opening round at 13:15 BST on Thursday.

"It's all about confidence and momentum, and I have a lot of confidence and quite a bit of momentum coming into this week. It's just about trying to keep that momentum going."

His confidence is well placed after a scintillating final round to clinch last week's Wells Fargo tournament for his fourth success at Quail Hollow.

McIlroy picked up eight shots in eight holes in a six-under-par 65 that saw him race clear of the field on the back nine and win by five strokes from Xander Schauffele.

"Some of the three-quarter shots, some of the wedge shots starting on the right line, some of the iron shots, combined with how good I feel with the driver, that gives me a lot of confidence," he said.