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After drama a year ago, Rory McIlroy says another Canadian win ‘solely for me’

Rory McIlroy is trying to win his third consecutive RBC Canadian Open, and each one has felt a bit different.

The first came in 2019. Needless to say, golf – and to an extent the whole world – existed in an entirely different galaxy four years ago. McIlroy fired a final-round 61 that year to find himself seven shots clear of his nearest competitor.

Full-field scores from the RBC Canadian Open

He had every intention of defending his title in 2020, then 2020 happened.

The event was not played in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving McIlroy as the defending champion a year ago at St. George’s. That week just happened to coincide with the first event of LIV Golf.

McIlroy stayed calm through all the noise to win another trophy on Canadian soil, prompting the quote that was an obvious dig at LIV CEO, Greg Norman.

“It’s a moment I will remember for a long, long time,” McIlroy said a year ago. “It’s my 21st PGA Tour win and one more than someone else.”

The now-23-time Tour winner again finds himself in contention north of the border, and again it’s in the midst of chaos after the surprise announcement earlier this week that the Tour would be partnering with the DP World Tour and the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund to form a new for-profit entity.

After an “uncomfortable” press conference Wednesday, McIlroy is once more thriving while there are so many unknowns about the future of professional golf.

“For whatever reason I seem to play better when there’s a little bit of noise going in the world of golf,” McIlroy said after his third-round 6-under 66. “It’s really nice to get inside the ropes and just concentrate on my job at the end of the day, which is trying to get the ball around the golf course. So, yeah, it’s been a nice reprieve with everything else going on and happy to be playing well.”

Last year, with so much going on, the win felt bigger than McIlroy. It was the unofficial spokesman of the PGA Tour silencing LIV’s debut and having something to say about it.

The Northern Irishman made it clear that this year is different.

“I would love to win the Canadian Open for the third time,” McIlroy said. “I’ve never won a tournament three times in a row. I felt like last year the win wasn’t just for me it was for a few other things. But this one, this year, if I were able to get over the line, will be solely for me.”