Friday 23 March 2018

McIlroy snubs Faldo advice

Rory McIlroy believes his form will pick up sooner or later
Rory McIlroy believes his form will pick up sooner or later

World number two Rory McIlroy has told six-time major winner Nick Faldo he does not need any advice to find a way out of his current difficulties.

This year the 24-year-old has failed to meet his own high standards, having not managed a victory following a stellar 12 months in which he had five wins worldwide - including a second major - and topped the money list on both the American and European Tours.

His reputation has been damaged by issues concerning his change of management and equipment manufacturer, which resulted in him throwing one club in frustration and bending another at last month's US Open, and walking off the course mid-round during the defence of his Honda Classic title in March.

Ahead of the 142nd Open Championship at Muirfield, Faldo this week said McIlroy needed to concentrate just on golf, alluding in part to his relationship with tennis player Caroline Wozniacki.

And although the Northern Irishman admitted at last month's Irish Open he was feeling "a little lost", he insists he is more than capable of sorting out his issues.

"I saw what he said and he said I should be at the course nine to five," McIlroy said. "I actually was on the range at 6.15am and got out of the gym at 6:15pm. That's actually 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 that we all do put into it."

McIlroy said he "didn't know" whether Faldo was trying to help with his words of wisdom, but he admitted he could not copy the six-time major winner's renowned single-minded dedication to the game during his peak, adding: "I could never - no, I'm not like that."

Debate over McIlroy's form has become almost a weekly topic of conversation. The player himself has done his best to avoid consuming too much of the constant conjecture.

"I guess the best way is to not read too much or not listen too much or not watch too much TV," he said. "The best thing is to try to stay oblivious about what people are saying about you and try to wrap yourself in a little bubble, but obviously it's hard to avoid at times.

"The thing I think is 'What's the big deal?' I haven't had the best six months, but it's okay. I'm fine, I've got a good life.

"It doesn't bother me and I'm working hard on the right things, and sooner or later it will turn around and I'll be back lifting trophies.

"You just have to have the confidence and the self-belief in yourself that what you're doing is ultimately going to get you to the place that you want to be."

World number one Tiger Woods on Tuesday offered words of support to his closest rival and McIlroy believes he can learn a lot from the American, now a stablemate at Nike after his change of equipment.

"Tiger more than anyone else in this game, probably more than anyone else in sport, has been scrutinised and criticised throughout his entire career," he said. "He set the bar so high and that's the expectations that everyone thought he was going to live up to.

"It was only a couple of years ago he had dropped outside the top 50 in the world and he's worked his way back up and he's now the best player in the world again.

"He had a plan in place, he stuck by it and all of a sudden proved a lot of people wrong. 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."

McIlroy still insists he has no regrets about changing his clubs after signing a multi-million pound mega deal with Nike.

"I would rather have it done in a three or six-month period rather than having it drawn out over two or three years," he added. "I'd rather get it done straight away and then at least after that transition period you're fully comfortable.

"I don't mind maybe not playing your best golf for six months. It isn't a huge sacrifice in a 30-year career."

McIlroy added: "It's like life - you're going to go through highs and you're going to go through lows. It's just about trying to work your way out of the lows. I haven't played my best golf this year but I've shown signs it is there and it's about trying to do that more often.

"It's been difficult to explain why I'm not playing or why I haven't had the results I've wanted over the past six months, but I know that I'm working on the right things and I know I'm doing the right things and I'm staying patient.

"Sooner or later it'll turn around and I'll play the golf that everyone knows that I'm capable of and that I know is capable of winning major championships."

Press Association

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