Rory McIlroy was visibly frustrated with himself and his game last week at the European PGA Championship, where he shot 74-79 to miss his second consecutive cut. McIlroy isn’t accustomed to having the weekend off, which has also reduced his number of competitive rounds.
The 23-year-old reigning U.S. Open champ admitted to feeling unprepared for Wentworth and told reporters he needed to reassess his game plan as he aims to defend his title at this year’s challenging and extremely difficult venue, the Olympic Club. In addition to the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village, he’s also committed to play the FedEx St. Jude in Memphis, departing from his usual week-off (or more) before a major (he feels he plays better right out the gate).
McIlroy, who took a pit stop in Paris on Saturday evening to see tennis star girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, revealed the shake-up to his schedule via Twitter:
After barely breaking 80 at Wentworth, Rory said he needed more reps.
“I just feel like I’ve lacked competitive rounds maybe a little bit,” said McIlroy. “I take a couple of weeks off after the Masters, played Quail Hollow great, and then we had two days at the Players championship and another week off from competitive golf and another two days here. I’m looking forward to hopefully getting over to the states and playing four rounds next week.”
I assume in an effort to make up the four competitive rounds he missed at TPC Sawgrass and Wentworth, the best solution was to throw in a start at Memphis, best known for its horrid heat and proclivity to cause swamp ass.
Brian Keogh has the scoop over at Irish Golf Desk on Rory’s decision for the change, which is what I’ve already discussed above. Despite our assumptions that Rory was slacking off from his practice regime due to the short visit in Paris, Keogh explains that’s not the case:
Having confessed that he took his eye off the ball, the Northern Ireland man is now playing catch up. But despite reports that he has run into the arms of his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki again for more R&R, he’s been working harder than ever.
While he did travel by Eurostar to see Wozniacki prepare for Rolland Garros in Paris on Sunday, he has not neglected his practice regime.
Following a two-hour gym session with trainer Steve McGregor at Wentworth on Friday evening, he was on the range at 7.30am at Wentworth on Saturday morning and put in a five-hour practice session before catching the train to Paris.
He then spent Monday doing biomechanics testing in Leeds with McGregor and coach Michael Bannon before flying out with them to the US for The Memorial.
Bannon and McGregor will also accompany him to Memphis for his final warm up before the US Open.
Only 23, Rory hasn’t found the perfect formula for preparing for the majors, and in retrospect, he should have probably added an extra tournament or two, like Bay Hill and/or the Shell Houston Open.
Well, live and learn, right?
I’m still not ruling him out to contend — and even defend — at Olympic in a few weeks. Rory has the most raw talent out there (which Luke Donald will tell you), so we’ll see if he can find his game, and more important, gain the confidence and momentum to take with him into the U.S. Open in two weeks time.
(Photo by Getty Images/Ian Walton)