Rory...was it mental or dental?

Rory McIlroy is in the news again this week for all the wrong reasons but for once I'm not going to jump on the band wagon and bash him because I actually feel sorry for the guy. I still stand over all that I have written about him in the past, concerning his nationality and loyalty to the GUI, but it seems that the poor lad cannot do anything right at present, on or off the golf course.

His latest spat with officialdom over walking off the course midway through his second round at the Honda Classic last Friday, citing a problem with his wisdom tooth, has sparked all kinds of negative comment and even his mentor, the great Jack Nicklaus, has joined in to berate the young star.

I remember back in 2009 when Sam Torrance walked off the course at Ballybunion after two holes in the second round of the Irish Seniors Open citing an injured wrist and at the time I wrote in this newspaper that he had obviously hurt his wrist signing for a three over par seven at the hole, because he went out five days later and shot a five under par 67 in the Jersey Seniors. Sam obviously didn't like or maybe couldn't play Ballybunion (he had a first round 76), so I believed that this was his way of getting out of the event without the embarrassment of a missed cut.

Rory's antics on Friday reminded me of that, but as he won the event at the same venue last year, you cannot make a comparison like some of my learned friends in the golfing press have done, with one of them actually recalling my comment on Torrance.

Back to Rory and his woes, and just about everyone has an opinion on what happened on Friday as he was photographed shortly after his "walk off" eating a sandwich.

Thankfully I've never had a problem with a wisdom tooth (maybe because I'm not very wise), but I would imagine it would be very painful, so I would have to question Rory's excuse if indeed he was able to eat a sandwich shortly after but I just think the lad needs to sort out his head.

He is only a young man who has the pressure of being the world's leading golfer on his shoulders and having signed a mega bucks deal to play with Nike equipment, the world and his wife are watching him right now. I am convinced that if he had carried on using his old clubs and had never gotten involved with Nike he wouldn't be under any of this strain.

There are those who mention this "curse of Nike" because of all the controversary involving Nike stars Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong and more recently Oscar Pistorious, but I don't believe in that rubbish.

Nicklaus has come out over the weekend and said that Rory can play with any equipment and I think he's right, but what Rory needed more than anything over the last few days was for Nicklaus to put his arm around him and reassure him, rather than criticise him as he did in the American press.

Much is being made of his poor start to the season and all eyes are on him right now. Speculation is rife that his high-profile romance to tennis player Caroline Wozniacki is on the rocks as she crashed out in the opening round of her tournament over the weekend also to a player ranked some 180 places below her.

I think he needs to disappear for a little while, maybe back home to county Down and get his head in order away from the eyes of the world before the Masters. That's easier said than done due to his contractual commitments and he is due to play in Miami this weekend so we will all be watching and waiting to see if the real Rory McIlroy can re-appear.


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