Where Next for McIlroy?
By Conor Nagle under The Masters

McIlroy cast a forlorn figure at Augusta on Sunday

It looks like the Augusta National casualty is off to far-flung Kuala Lumpur for this week’s Malaysian Open. In pieces by Lawrence Donegan and Brian Keogh the Holywoood native sounds tentatively positive ahead of what will almost certainly be a long rehabilitation:

“It will be pretty tough for me for the next few days but I will be fine. There are a lot worse things that can happen in your life. Shooting a bad score in the last round of a golf tournament is nothing in comparison to what other people go through.

“A couple of pretty good friends were in a similar position to me last year in Dustin Johnson and Nick Watney… I knew it was going to be very tough out there for me today.”

His words are impressively reminiscent of those offered by Greg Norman in the wake of his infamous final round capitulation to Nick Faldo in 1996. And though Nick Watney’s performance at last year’s PGA Championship has since yielded an improved outlook on the game and the development of a killer instinct, McIlroy’s humiliation must surely dwarf that of the American.

The Northerner’s manager, Chubby Chandler, spent time with reporters yesterday in an effort to put the collapse in favourable context and offer reassurances that a full post-mortem would be carried out:

“What will happen is that I will go to Malaysia, we will sit down and work out where he thinks he went wrong and where I think he went wrong… What people seem to forget is that Rory is only 21. If he was American, he would still be in college and here we all are thinking he should have won the Masters. He is No8 in the world, and here we all are thinking he is an underachiever. It’s daft.”

Whether decisions taken at that debriefing will lead to a change in personnel within Team McIlroy remains to be seen. Either way, the youngster’s performance in Malaysia should be of interest.

(photo David Cannon/Getty Images)