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Dublin: 4°C Friday 5 March 2021

Rory McIlroy: Spieth deserves top ranking

The Holywood native was replaced by the American last night.

Off the top: Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy.
Off the top: Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy.
Image: David Cannon

JORDAN SPIETH IS a deserved new world number one, according to the man he replaced at the top of the rankings — Rory McIlroy.

Spieth carded a four-under 68 in the final round of the US PGA Championship to finish three shots behind eventual champion Jason Day at Whistling Straits.

McIlroy, who was returning from an ankle injury, ended up 17th after a consistent showing, but that saw him slip from top spot in the rankings.

Speaking before Spieth had finished his round, the Northern Irishman said his rival deserved to be number one.

“Honestly the way Jordan has been playing and the way I haven’t played much this year, I think that was only my 12th or 13th event. I feel like I’m playing well, but if he does go to number one today, it’s very deservedly so,” McIlroy said.

“Winning two majors, winning a couple other times this year, had a chance at The Open, has a chance obviously today.

“And if he was to get to number one today, I’d be the first one to congratulate him because I know the golf you have to play to get to that spot, and it has been impressive this year.”

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The US PGA was McIlroy’s 13th event of the year, which has included three wins.

McIlroy said he was pleased with the way his return from injury went after he produced rounds of 71-71-68-69.

“For myself, if I’m looking at it as a whole, I feel like I’ve done well to come back and shoot the scores that I have,” he said.

“I feel like I progressed each and every day. If I was to take back anything of this week, it would just be probably that second day when we teed off in benign conditions in the morning and I didn’t take advantage of that.

“I’m walking away pretty happy with how the week went. Obviously it isn’t a win and didn’t get myself into contention, but considering six weeks ago I wasn’t able to walk, it’s not a bad effort.”

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