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McIlroy must get off social media to keep mind on game -- Mickelson

Karl MacGinty

Published 15/01/2014 | 02:30

Phil Mickelson, left, looks over Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, shoulder on the 14th fairway during the first round of the U.S. Open in 2011. Picture: Matt Slocum
Phil Mickelson, left, looks over Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, shoulder on the 14th fairway during the first round of the U.S. Open in 2011. Picture: Matt Slocum
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 14: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland speaks with the media at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club prior to the start of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on January 14, 2014 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy

RORY McILROY would find life in the global spotlight less stressful if he stayed off social media, according to US icon Phil Mickelson.

Mickelson plays with McIlroy and title-holder Jamie Donaldson in tomorrow's first round of the HSBC Championship in Abu Dhabi and expects the Ulsterman to be "great" in 2014. "He's too talented to have another year like last year," he said.

At the end of a fraught season in 2013, McIlroy said he found it most difficult to cope with intrusion in his private life.

Asked how he handled this trying phenomenon, Mickelson (43) said: "Well, we all have different ways of dealing with things. Me personally, I've really tried to stay away from social media as I need to get away and have some time just with my family.

"There are some things I don't like letting out, I just like keeping private. It's been great for me to be able to come out on Tour, play competitive golf and accept we're in the public eye there but also to have an opportunity to get away and have down time.

"I'd a great off-season the last two months with Amy and the kids. We went skiing, hung out and had some great vacations. I need to do that to get rejuvenated and excited.

"I think for me, staying out of social media has been a real benefit but I also understand how powerful it is and what a great thing it can be for players."

McIlroy said in December: "I don't care what they say about my golf. It's when they start digging into your personal life, that's where it starts to annoy you."

Still, Twitter gave the golfer and his Danish fiancée Caroline Wozniacki the perfect opportunity to announce their engagement on New Year's Eve.

As for McIlroy's golf, Mickelson said: "We all have highs and lows, good years and those not up to our expectations. Usually that makes us more determined, which I see out of him."

Irish Independent

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