Rory McIlroy’s major championship drought continues despite contending once again

Another major championship has come and gone, and Rory McIlroy’s drought continues.

While that’s frustrating for the No. 2 ranked player in the world, and it will now be at least a decade between major championship wins at best, McIlroy is trying to keep things in perspective.

“Over the last two years, would I have loved to have picked one of those off that I finished up there? Absolutely,” McIlroy said after his T6 finish at the British Open on Sunday. “But every time I tee it up or most times I tee it up, I’m right there. I can’t sit here and be too frustrated … I’m optimistic about the future, and just got to keep plugging away.”

McIlroy’s last win at a major championship came in 2014, when he won both the British Open and the PGA Championship. That coincidentally marked the last time the British Open was played at Royal Liverpool, too.

Since then, McIlroy has accomplished just about everything possible in the golf world. He’s won 15 times on the PGA Tour, repeatedly claimed the top spot in the world and he’s won the FedExCup three times — including last season, when he also won the DP World Tour’s season-long title. McIlroy also became the face of the PGA Tour in its battle against LIV Golf, though the two leagues have since agreed to a merger of sorts.

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy, who finished T6 this week at Royal Liverpool, hasn’t won a major championship since 2014. (Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)

McIlroy, however, can’t seem to get another major title even as he’s in the middle of another very impressive season. He won last week at the Genesis Scottish Open, and he’s finished inside the top 10 now at three of the four major championships this year. He hasn’t finished outside of the top 10 in his last seven starts, and McIlroy narrowly fell to Wyndham Clark at the U.S. Open last month in Los Angeles.

“When I do finally win this next major, it’s going to be really, really sweet,” he said in June at the Los Angeles Country Club. “I would go through 100 Sundays like this to get my hands on another major championship.”

While he had a solid week — McIlroy’s worst round was an even-par performance on Thursday — he didn’t stand much of a chance in Hoylake, England. Brian Harman ran away with the tournament on Friday, mounting a massive five-shot lead that he held through a rainy finish on Sunday. Harman got to 13-under on the week, which gave him a six-shot victory in what was his first major title. McIlroy was seven shots back in a tie for sixth with Emiliano Grillo.

“Improved on my score every day,” McIlroy said. “I missed a few putts yesterday, felt like I putted a bit better today. It was just hard. I needed to go out and shoot something 63, 64-ish, but really hard to do that in those conditions. I got off to a really good start but it’s just hard to keep that going, as you can see from the leaderboard no one is really going that low.”

While his drought keeps extending, McIlroy insists he’s not keeping track or counting the days until Augusta National.

His focus now, he said, is simply on defending his FedExCup title. That’s the only thing he can do.

“I don’t think that way. I think about trying to go and win a fourth FedExCup here in a couple weeks’ time, go try and win a fifth Race to Dubai, go and win a fifth Ryder Cup,” McIlroy said. “I just keep looking forward.”