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10/15/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/15/2021 18:41

Rory McIlroy’s prediction coming true at THE CJ CUP

In the 22 seasons since we hit the year 2000 the high mark is a nine-win season done by Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh in 2000 and 2004 respectively. Breaking those 22 seasons in half and the averages tell a story.

In the first 11 seasons the average top winner mark is 6.1 wins a season. In the 11 seasons since the average is slashed to 3.6.

"I've had a couple of seasons where I've won four and five times and nowadays that's an achievement. The seasons of up around 10 wins like Vijay and Tiger obviously multiple times, maybe I'll be wrong, but I don't know if we're going to see them again," McIlroy says.

"A really good season nowadays… well three wins is exceptional, two wins is very good, and then anything above three, you're the best player in the world at that point. Someone hasn't won more than five times since 2009, that's over a decade, so that's the trend.

"A Jon Rahm maybe has the potential… but anyone out here, if you told them they were going to win four times in a year, they would take your hand off (to shake for the deal)."

And so this weekend Mitchell lines up with the chance to add to his 2019 Honda Classic win. And he now has McIlroy's endorsement bouncing around in his brain.

"When he gives you a compliment like that, it's pretty deep. I mean, it means a lot to me because he's a superstar in our game and I'm not even close to that. So when he calls you out unannounced, it does mean a lot," Mitchell beamed after his second round.

And coincidently Mitchell's focus this new season has been on trying to find consistent performance.

"It's impossible out here to win or contend every week. It is. Even though we show up every week wanting to contend and wanting to win, it doesn't happen, and it's frustrating times because you want every single week to be your week," he explained.

"I was talking to (sports psychologist) Dr. Rotella not too long ago. He said Justin Thomas was Player of the Year and missed seven cuts. I can promise you every single cut he missed; he was pissed.

"I felt like feast or famine was kind of my game the last four years and I wanted to be a little bit more consistent, a little bit more patient, play like a TOUR pro and not just like a young kid out there firing at flags. It's a lot harder to do than I thought, but when your putter's hot like it was the last couple days, it kind of just makes up for the rest."

With major winners Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott also tied second and a course giving up more birdies than Santa Claus gives presents Mitchell knows he needs to keep his head down. Five shots can be gone in the blink of an eye on a TOUR this deep.

"The first win you never really expect to win and then when you do, you feel like you're supposed to win more," Mitchell adds. "Hopefully I can continue the play that I'm having because definitely the second one for me has seemed to be a lot harder."

Fact is, winning has never been harder.