Rory McIlroy's victory at Valhalla on Sunday was his second major in a row, and third overall victory in succession – a streak generally accomplished only by Tiger Woods in recent years. And McIlroy – now that he knows first-hand how tough it is to win so much – has a new appreciation for what it took for Woods to make his frequent trips to the winners' circle.
"To be up there with the lead week-in and week-out and trying to win these big golf tournaments, it's tough, mentally and physically," McIlroy told England's PA Sport wire service.
"It sort of makes you appreciate more what Tiger has done in the past … getting on these runs that he's gone on and keeping it going for months on end," he explained.
Woods, of course, authored several impressive PGA Tour winning streaks – including seven in a row in 2006-2007, six straight in 1999-2000 and five successive in 2007-2008. McIlroy, with wins at the PGA Championship, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and British Open, has three in a row right now.
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McIlroy admitted that the weight of his summer string of excellence got to him a bit on Sunday, and manifested itself in his slow start that saw him lose his lead before he rallied on the back nine to win.
"I was a little flat the first six holes of the final round," he said. But, he explained, he "just sort of told myself, 'we have 12 holes left, you can take a week off after this and enjoy it.'"
He is in fact taking this week off. He's planning to return for the FedExCup playoffs and, of course, the Ryder Cup, which he will enter as the European team's undisputed star.
"I want to try and go into the Ryder Cup with the best possible form that I can, and then finish the season off well," he said. "I've got a few tournaments in the Far East, the Race to Dubai and then I'm going to go down and defend the Australian Open – and then that's going to be me shutting it down for the year."