McIlroy, Mickelson in fine form for PGA

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 Rory McIlroy says his game is in better shape than ever going into this week's US PGA Championship at Valhalla.

With the PGA Championship set to tee off today in Louisville, Kentucky, the biggest names in golf are garnering all the attention.

Rory McIlroy is the clear favorite after a wire-to-wire win last month at the British Open and last week's win at Firestone for his first World Golf Championship.

Phil Mickelson hasn't won in more than a year — unusual by his lofty standards — but turned heads on Sunday with 10 birdies and a 62 at Firestone.

And then there's Tiger Woods. Nobody is sure whether he will play after walking off the course with back spasms at Firestone.

McIlory has been so good of late that he is looked on in some corners as a sure winner, a label once reserved only for Woods.

Boy Wonder is not so sure about that.

"Sometimes I feel that people are too quick to jump to conclusions," McIlroy said on Tuesday before heading out for his first look at Valhalla. "I've had a great run of golf and I've played well over the past few months. Look, I said at the start of the year that golf was looking for someone to put their hand up and sort of become one of the dominant players in the game. I felt like I had the ability to do that. And it's just nice to be able to win a few tournaments and get back to where I feel I should be."

He is No. 1 in the world again. He has three wins in his last seven starts. And with three legs of the career Grand Slam — only Woods and Jack Nicklaus were younger than the 25-year-old McIlroy when they achieved that — there was even talk about the start of a new era.

McIlroy wasn't buying.

"I'm just really happy with where my golf game is at the minute, and I just want to try and continue that for as long as possible," he said.

Woods injured his back Sunday — just four months after back surgery — and canceled his news conference on Tuesday. There was no word on his prospects, presumably because he wanted to give himself time to see if he could play.

Even if Woods were to play, that wouldn't take the focus from McIlroy.

He appears to be in full flight and Mickelson isn't surprised.

"He's such a great driver of the golf ball...," Mickelson said as he looked back on McIlroy's win at Firestone. "We've been waiting a year, year and a half now for it to turn. And it's really turned for him. And he's tough to beat."

As for his own game, Mickelson said he's not sure what to expect. Whether he can keep his form is another question.

"If I could answer that question, it would be a lot easier," Mickelson said. "It's been 20-plus years and things are just that way. Rather than question it or try to find an answer, I just accept it as being the way it is and look forward to it when it does happen. It's fun when it does."

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