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Leaderboard fear factor is a definite plus for McIlroy

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Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy during a press conference Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic play Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy during a press conference Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic

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By Tony Jimenez

VIRGINIA WATER, England (Reuters) - World number one Rory McIlroy believes there is something of a fear factor when rival golfers see his name on a leaderboard these days.

The Northern Irishman has already scooped four major victories by the age of 26 and, with three tour wins to his credit this season, he is again on course on dominate the golfing landscape just like he did in 2012 and 2014.

"I feel like my name now carries a certain weight on the leaderboard," McIlroy told a news conference on the eve of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

"I don't know if you call that intimidation but I feel when players see my name on the leaderboard now it might mean a little bit more than it used to."

However, even the world's greatest golfers lose far more times than they win and McIlroy is no different.

"I don't feel I'm unbeatable that's for sure," he said. "Golf is a very fickle game and it can humble you quite quickly."

McIlroy gave yet another example of his supreme talent by romping to a seven-stroke triumph at the Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina on Sunday.

He has developed a penchant for runaway victories in his short career but he is not fussy how he achieves them.

"I'll take any wins any way I can get them, whether it's by one shot or in a playoff or by seven shots like last week," said McIlroy who also won the Dubai Desert Classic in February and the WGC-Cadillac Match Play in California at the start of this month.

"I feel like now I'm a player that can win all different sorts of ways which I'm happy about. I can be in contention and guts it out with a few other players or separate myself.

"I separated myself from the field (with a 61) on Saturday so I went out on Sunday and didn't need to do much. It was sort of a stress-free 18 holes."

McIlroy launches his campaign at the BMW PGA Championship, an event that carries a prize fund of five million euros ($5.55 million), at 0835 local time on Thursday in the company of European Ryder Cup team mates Martin Kaymer and Jamie Donaldson.

($1 = 0.9013 euros)

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