Wednesday 13 November 2019

Olazabal blames aggression for Rory's Masters meltdown

Bernie McGuire

Double Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal singled out too much aggression off the tee as the root cause of Rory McIlroy's Masters meltdown at Augusta National.

McIlroy was still leading by a shot standing on the 10th tee, but walked off the final green crestfallen and a full 10 strokes behind champion, South African Charl Schwartzel.

It now extends Europe's Masters-winning drought to 13 years since Olazabal won a second Green Jacket in 1999.

The Spaniard watched the final action unfold on a 52-inch 3D TV screen in the company of long-time manager Sergio Gomez in the Augusta house they rented for the week with some friends.

But while many have singled out McIlroy's putting woes, next year's European Ryder Cup captain blamed the young Irishman's insistence in sticking with the driver.

"I feel sorry for Rory because for three and a half rounds he led the Masters and you don't want to have to see what he went through," said Olazabal.

"It is going to be a big learning experience for him, but then what happened to him on Sunday was because of a lack of experience.

"He could have approached the last day very differently. For starters, I would not have been so aggressive with the driver off the tee as there were a couple holes on the front nine and then the 10th where I would not have taken driver.

"Rory's already very long off the tee and maybe he should have considered not hitting driver all the time and just find the fairway with his 3-wood. But he's going to learn a lot from this."

Olazabal won the Masters in 1994 and again five years later but reminded McIlroy, as had happened to him in 1991, that before you win a Major you perhaps first have to go through the pain of losing one.

"It is always tough to win a Major as I went so close to winning at Augusta in '91 when Woosie won," said Olazabal.

"I learnt so much from finishing second that year so you really have to be in that position of losing before you finally win a Major.

"And then, when you win one, you realise, as the years go by, how difficult it is to win another one.

"It also showed last Sunday how some of the players were good down the stretch -- for those guys to score the way they did was just amazing."

Last week was Olazabal's 23rd Masters and while he missed the cut this year, the Spaniard was glued to the TV throughout the weekend.

"It was a very good Masters and it was good to see so many players playing so well," added the Spaniard.

"I think there were seven guys leading at one time or another on Sunday. But the way everybody played was amazing.

"Geoff Ogilvy had a chance to win and then Adam Scott played really solid and didn't make any mistakes.

"Tiger had it going on the front nine, but then all of a sudden his putter went cold. Then there was Jason Day in the same scenario and in only his first Masters.

"Very few times do you see so many players playing so well down the stretch just when it's needed the most."

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: Champions Cup preview, the World Cup hangover and Joe Schmidt's next team

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport