Wednesday 18 September 2019

Rory hits back at Butch - I'm no robot


Ireland’s Rory McIlroy hits from the rough on the 14th during day one of The Open. Photo: PA
Ireland’s Rory McIlroy hits from the rough on the 14th during day one of The Open. Photo: PA

Brian Keogh in Carnoustie

Rory McIlroy proved Butch Harmon's "robotic" tag was way off the mark when he opened with an imaginative 69 in The Open at Carnoustie.

The American coach was hugely critical of McIlroy on Sky Sports this week, insisting the Holywood star should forget about swing mechanics and endorsement contracts and concentrate on getting back to world No 1.

Harmon said: "I would like to see him start playing golf and stop playing golf swing. He looks like a robot out there when I see him practise putting.

"Rory had this spell when he wasn't putting good and hitting the ball good and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it."

McIlroy was pleased with a two-under par opening effort that left him just three shots behind leader Kevin Kisner. And he had no problem batting back Harmon's criticism, insisting he's far from being a robot.

McIlroy said: "Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical."

"It's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening. I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time.

"He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate.

"But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it."

Harmon reckons McIlroy is putting himself under too much pressure but believes it's not too late for him to turn things around despite his four-year Major drought.

He said: "This is a young kid who's still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that.

"Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No 1 again if he just lets himself do it."

Irish Independent

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