Sport Golf

Saturday 10 December 2016

McIlroy opens up on Masters implosion and how he nearly quit golf

Robin Schiller

Published 18/05/2016 | 07:00

Rory McIlroy is interviewed by James Nesbitt at the Convention Centre in Dublin
Rory McIlroy is interviewed by James Nesbitt at the Convention Centre in Dublin

Irish golf star Rory McIlroy has revealed how he spent the last five holes of the 2011 Masters "thinking about what to say" to the awaiting media over his implosion.

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McIlroy, who is preparing for the upcoming Irish Open at the prestigious K Club later this week, raced into the lead at the tournament but slowly let it slip away.

Co Down native McIlroy was speaking at 'An Evening with Rory McIlroy' at the Convention Centre in Dublin, organised by Newstalk.

The low points of McIlroy's illustrious year were brought up, including his implosion at the 2011 Augusta Masters.

A video of his last holes were shown, with Rory exclaiming: "I haven't actually watched that back until now.

"I wasn't thinking clearly enough to do anything about it, it was such a shock and the first time I was going for the Masters.

Nesbitt, McIlroy and Alex Ferguson. Photo: Maxwell Photography
Nesbitt, McIlroy and Alex Ferguson. Photo: Maxwell Photography

"I realised that, what had happened... I would be asked about it, so I basically spent the last five holes thinking about what I was going to say," McIlroy said with a laugh. "That's why my interview was so good after, because I had an hour and a half to think about," he added.

However, he powered through the setback and has since won several high-profile tournaments, including the 2014 Open Championship.

He also shed light on how at 16, he almost turned his back on the game that would make him a global icon.

"I remember when I was 16, I said 'I didn't want to do this (play golf) anymore'. I was a typical teenager, stroppy... I wasn't getting to spend enough time with my friends, I was driving to golf tournaments around the country and wasn't really enjoying it," McIlroy said.

However his parents, who Rory attributes an enormous amount of his success to, eventually persuaded him to continue playing.

"My dad was, and still is, one of the biggest influences. Both my parents are in a golfing sense.

"My dad introduced me to the game and brought me to the driving range on his only day off, while my mother was the disciplinarian - she didn't let me away with too much," he said.

The event was hosted by actor James Nesbitt, with legendary football manager Alex Ferguson also taking to the stage.

Alex Ferguson, Rory McIlroy and James Nesbitt at the event. Photo: Maxwell Photography
Alex Ferguson, Rory McIlroy and James Nesbitt at the event. Photo: Maxwell Photography

Ferguson discussed his extensive career, from his initial years as head coach of Manchester United to his unprecedented treble-winning season in 1999, which he believes was his biggest success with the club.

He praised former captain Roy Keane, who he described as an important "character" in the dressing room and a "warrior".

Ferguson also discussed the Champions League semi-final second-leg against Juventus in 1999, which he says was Roy Keane's "finest moment".

Ferguson also weighed in on the age-old question of which football player is the best of their current generation, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Messi... Ronaldo used to stand in front of the mirror in the changing room looking at himself, and the other players would be throwing jock straps at him," Ferguson joked, before adding "He was a great player."

Fans Jack McArdle (14) and his brother Mark (11). Photo: Arthur Carron
Fans Jack McArdle (14) and his brother Mark (11). Photo: Arthur Carron

Irish Independent

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