Monday 22 January 2018

Frustrated McIlroy needs to relax

Karl MacGinty

ANYONE who drives a 197mph sports car must be in a hurry. Yet making headway is golf is not as simple as flicking a switch and pressing the pedals.

Rory McIlroy discovered that at the British Open in St Andrews last month and again as he slumped into a frustrating tie for 35th at the Irish Open under the weight of his home crowd's expectations.

McIlroy's golf swing is as high-spec as the V-10 Lamborghini engine in his sleek Audi supercar, but the 21-year-old needs to free-wheel a little more on the golf course.

He could well learn from the words of Padraig Harrington after the Dubliner blasted away the cobwebs with a spectacular 64 on Sunday: "I think at times, I'm trying a little too hard and just not relaxing enough, just not letting it happen. When you do that, you tend to play better golf."

With €11.4m to be won at this week's World Golf Championship in Firestone and next week's US PGA, Harrington will surely bridge the €54,000 gap between him and an automatic spot on the European Ryder Cup team for Celtic Manor.

Remarkably, Tiger Woods has been bumped out of the top eight in the US rankings by a man who has never won on Tour. Jeff Overton's second place in the Greenbrier Classic, which he lost by one when Australian Stuart Appleby closed with only the fifth 59 in PGA Tour history, propelled him from 10th to fourth in the standings, leaving Tiger -- as things stand -- in need of one of skipper Corey Pavin's four wild cards.

Irish Independent

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