Don't write off Rory
He may be in a bad vein of form, but, James Tompkinson argues, you should write him off at your peril…
When a 22-year-old Rory McIlroy won the US Open last year after blitzing Congressional and leaving the rest of the field in sheer admiration of his abilities, it wouldn’t have been unrealistic to say that golf had a new prodigal son.
Twelve months on, and the state of the Northern Irishman’s game is much more questionable after a relatively poor start to the campaign and poor missed cut in his title defence.
Missing three back-to-back cuts last month produced something of a confidence crisis in McIlroy, causing pundits and professionals alike to question his capabilities.
The storm began to lift as he headed into the final hole of the St Jude Classic in Memphis tied for the lead. However a double bogey at the last resulted in a seventh place finish and continued a stretch of questionable performances.
There is no doubt that McIlroy is a wonderful golfer and arguably the best player in Europe at the moment. Despite losing his world number one ranking to Luke Donald last month, he still sits second in the world rankings and is number one on both the World and European points lists for this year’s Ryder Cup by a considerable distance.
There is no doubt that McIlroy is a wonderful golfer and arguably the best player in Europe at the moment.
There is also a tendency to forget that he is just 23 years old. For all
his successes, McIlroy is still very much in his golfing infancy and a
full 16 years younger than rival Lee Westwood. If McIlroy is playing
when he is Westwood’s age then he will have another 64 majors to contest
– plenty of opportunities to win a few more.
The Northern Irishman is a supreme talent, but his mental stability
needs work. Perhaps with all his money, points, endorsements and having
an MBE to his name, people can forget that McIlroy is not even 25 and
has only six professional wins to date.
With the weight of responsibility comes enormous pressure, and recently
there have been signs of that creeping into McIlroy’s game.
The lesser-argued point of course is that his bad performance was far
from be a disaster. Who can forget his calamity at Augusta in 2011 and
the subsequent rebirth at Congressional? The last year has shown McIlroy
to be both brilliant and temperamental at the same time.
He is still young, still learning and his time to achieve greatness will come.