Rory McIlroy May 01 2012

Rory McIlroy has only played four competitive rounds in 50 odd days, that was at the Masters, where his highly promising halfway position was squandered over a miserable weekend that left him tied for 40th place. Rory has stated that  he plays his best golf when at his freshest and certainly there can be no excuse for golf fatigue as he heads into the meat of the 2012 season. The reigning US Open Champion was four shots clear of the field at the Masters before imploding on the back nine on the Sunday final round. That left Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen to battle it out in a playoff, which Bubba won, thanks to that magical shot. Rory McIlroy

Photo: Getty

Rory's  relatively light early season schedule has been designed to make sure he has plenty in the tank for a more hectic remainder of the year. So this week it is perhaps unfair, or unreasonable to expect the kind of fireworks at Quail Hollow we witnessed from him two years ago when he closed with a round of 62, to win by four strokes and land his maiden PGA Tour title. If the scheduling is correct it will  build nicely up to his US Open defence in June. After the Players' he has a week's break before the  schedule building up to his US Open defence in June looks spot on. After the Players' he has a week's break before the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, where Luke Donald is the defending champion. It is also the tournament where Luke became the Worlds number one, so we can look forward to a wonderful battle between Rory and Luke at Wentworth.

All players have varying approaches to scheduling, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are very much in the selective McIlroy mould.    So is Luke Donald, who just like the man he has recently displaced as world number one, has all  the added pressure of fulfilling the minimum requirements of the PGA and European Tours.

Each to his own, it is all about finding what works best for each player and Rory is sure he is close to the correct formula. His results suggest as much, but I guess time will tell. I look forward to the coming weeks in anticipation.