Is Rory McIlroy making another big mistake ahead of the British Open?

It is fair to say that 2013 has been a particularly forgettable year for the World Number 2 golfer, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy. After a much publicised move from his former golf club sponsors Titleist to Nike in January, McIlroy has struggled to find anywhere near his best form.

 

There have been sporadic moments where McIlroy has looked like he could recapture the form that made him the world’s best golfer in 2011 and 2012, but these periods have been all-too infrequent and for the most part, McIlroy has been looking a little lost on the golf course of late.

 

This culminated in him somewhat embarrassingly missing the cut in the Irish Open last weekend, an event won by the resurgent Paul Casey, who is also sponsored by Nike. McIlroy has blamed his lack of success on him not feeling right with his new driver stating:

“The driver hasn’t been the best club in my bag this year to be honest.

“It’s been a bit of a struggle off the tee. I base my game around that and if I drive the ball well I am going to do well.”

 

McIlroy stayed at Carlton House last week after his elimination from the Irish Open on a two-round score of +2 and worked over the weekend with Nike technicians to test some new drivers in the hope of finding one that he is confident hitting.

After his impressive victory on Sunday in less than favourable conditions at times Paul Casey was asked if Nike equipment was the root of McIlroy’s problems.

“It really frustrates me when I read negative press about Nike and their equipment,” stated Casey.

“They are a legitimate golf brand, legitimate golf company and people don’t necessarily see what I see behind the scenes with the R&D and the personnel that are making fantastic golf products.

“It is not inferior (golf equipment) in any way and this is just something that he (McIlroy) is just trying to get right. I have confidence that he will.”

 

 

While McIlroy stayed behind in Ireland to work with Nike on the driver issue, the news that the Irishman will not play in another tournament before the British Open in a couple of weeks time is surprising.

McIlroy stated that he had “a couple of commitments next week and the week after” as the reasons why he was not playing before the Open Championship starts in a fortnight’s time at Muirfield. He has since flown to Monaco to spend some time with his girlfriend, tennis ace Caroline Wozniacki.

 

Yet earlier in the year, when poor form prompted McIlroy to enter the Texas Valero Open ahead of The Masters, the Irishman clearly benefitted from that extra week of competition to put in a half-decent display at Augusta to finish tied 25th.

While commentators like Nick Faldo are blaming Rory’s shift from Titleist to Nike clubs as the main reason or his poor season so far, could it be that Rory isn’t simply allowing himself enough playing time with the clubs to iron out the weaknesses in his game?

 

 

In 2013, he has played in eight tournaments so far, with one top five finish and 3 top ten finishes. Tiger Woods has played in nine tournaments this year, winning four and he has had to withdraw from several more in preparation for the open due to injury. In form youngster, Jordan Spieth has played in 14 events this year.

Steve Stricker, who now counts himself as a part time player on the tour, has participated in seven events.

 

The question therefore must be posed, is it Rory’s lack of confidence with his new clubs that is making him play less frequently, or is his lack of confidence with his new clubs due to the fact that he has not played often enough with them to learn how to get the best from them?

We’ll find out when Rory next tees off at the British Open later this month.

 

Images Courtesy of Rory McIlroy’s Official Facebook Page & Twitter Account, Nike

 

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Quite The Chap July 15, 2013

It would be interesting to see Rory play a ton of golf and see how he improves. I think that his improvement would be inevitable.

It’s tough to compare Steve Stricker’s semi-retirement to Rory’s lack of play. Steve has decades of experience on these courses and he’s picking and choosing which ones he’s going to play. Rory doesn’t have that longevity/experience to draw from.

His comments of “being lost” are written all over his body language when he’s playing.

Great article.

1

lee July 15, 2013

I know the club switch could be something to do with it. But surely being at the top of your game without a few ups and downs is a bit unrealistic

2

h2o-boy July 16, 2013

At the beginning of the season, I saw Rory’s current swing and his swing from last season and they were significantly different. This year he is coming from the inside quite a bit more, which would explain his trouble with the hook. I have no idea if that has been fixed yet, but I don’t think playing more would take care of something like that.

That being said, he should have been able to take care of that issue with a swing coach in a few weeks so I have no idea what is going on with him now.

3

Course Program August 30, 2013

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