Friday 24 November 2017

Angry McIlroy takes a swing back at Faldo

Karl MacGinty

ANGRY Rory McIlroy put Nick Faldo firmly in his place last night, telling the six-times Major champion what he can do with his 'advice'.

McIlroy's hackles rose when Faldo suggested in the run-up to today's first round at the British Open that the 24-year-old should "concentrate 100pc on golf," implying he needed to work harder.

"I saw what he said," the Holywood native confirmed. "He said I should be at the course nine-to-five.

"I actually was on the range at 6.15am and got out of the gym at 6.15pm, which is a 12-hour day compared to his eight-hour day.

"Nick should know how hard this game is at times. He's been in our position before and he should know how much work we all put into it," chided McIlroy.

Despite insisting he'd not been bothered by intense scrutiny after six months of frustration and controversy on the course, McIlroy had a pop at famous ex-players who criticised him.

Rory McIlroy splashes out a bunker onto the 18th green during a practice round ahead of The Open at Muirfield
Rory McIlroy splashes out a bunker onto the 18th green during a practice round ahead of The Open at Muirfield
Rory McIlroy

Former Major champions Johnny Miller, Curtis Strange, Tony Jacklin and even his mentor Jack Nicklaus figured prominently among those who have spoken out in recent weeks.

"It seems like a few guys have forgotten in a short space of time how hard you have to work and how tough this game can be," said McIlroy, who tees it up in today's first round with Phil Mickelson and Japanese prospect Hideki Matsuyama (21).

Ironically, Faldo, making his first Major championship appearance in three years at Muirfield, scene of two of his British Open victories, sat at the same table as McIlroy and Padraig Harrington at the Association of Golf Writers Annual Banquet on Tuesday.

Golf's World No 2, who in early childhood used refer to himself as Rory 'Nick Faldo' McIlroy, later softened his approach.

"I know Nick wasn't trying to get on my case at all," he said. "He was just offering words of advice in some way. As I said, I think he has to remember how hard this game can be."

McIlroy side-stepped the controversial topic of Muirfield's male-only membership policy but denied players at this week's British Open had been advised not to speak about it.

"I haven't been advised either way," he explained. "I just think it's something a lot of guys don't want to get themselves into because it's quite a controversial issue.

"I guess it is something that shouldn't happen these days," added McIlroy.

"It's something that we shouldn't even (have to) be talking about. So I guess that's why a lot of people don't want to talk about it."

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