"But it's going to be different".
It will be a three-year major win drought if McIlroy doesn't take the title next week. "Last week I felt like I got some things worked out in the swing that were just holding me back a little bit".
Life at Quail Hollow has been good to him.
Hideki Matsuyama, already with one World Golf Championship he won last fall in Shanghai, had a 67 and was two shots behind. But I'm excited to be here. I've tried really hard this season but not all the chips have fallen my way.
Spieth is not putting as well this season as he did a year ago, but his strokes gained: putting average heading into this week is higher than all but two of the past 10 winners at Quail Hollow (Lucas Glover in 2011 and Sean O'Hair in 2009 were better).
Johnson missed the cut at the US Open, then fell behind early at the British Open and finished in a tie for 54th place - 16 strokes behind victor Jordan Spieth. "It would be nice to make that a hat trick". McIlroy has performed fairly well down the stretch in majors this season.
"It's a big change".
"Obviously Jordan has a great chance at completing a career grand slam, which would be huge for the game", McIlroy said.
Interestingly, three players will have a chance to finish it off in the next three majors: Spieth this week, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in the Masters next April and Phil Mickelson in the U.S. Open next June. Don't forget how he could/should have won this tournament past year but had a awful day on the greens in the final round to finish in a tie for fourth. I don't feel any added pressure because of that. He shared fourth place at The Open after a disastrous start and was fifth at the WGC last week, when once again he wasn't clinical with his wedge play.
"Give me his game right now, I'd be going down to the bookies to put plenty of money on myself!"
Four-time major victor Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland will be joined by Spain's Jon Rahm and American Rickie Fowler in the first two rounds. I'm going to play my game.
The PGA Championship long has been the "other" golf major, one that not only doesn't have the cachet of the Masters, U.S. Open or British Open, but also comes significantly later in the year, after many casual fans have begun shifting their focus to football. And in no way, shape or form do I think I'm anywhere near that, whatsoever. There have been changes made to the course this year so it is expected to play tougher, and could make the layout more McIlroy proof, but the player himself is undeterred by the tinkering.