Go back to basics, Rory!

Ivan Morris

Sergio Garcia puts his arm around Rory McIlroy on the ninth hole green during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship (Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

Ivan Morris

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Without a win for 16 months, without winning a Major for almost seven years, and falling out of the top-10 in the world rankings is alarming but, those calling for Rory McIlroy (including himself, perhaps) to make big changes to his back up team are wrong, even if he may have hinted at doing precisely that in recent days.

Whatever is ailing Rory’s golf game is small and more likely to be mental than anything technical. Confidence is everything and Rory’s confidence is in short supply. Two perfect shots in a row (not too much to ask) can boost confidence and one small thing can fix everything in a golf swing. There’s no pressing need for Rory to be changing too much as long as he has the basics ‘right’. You don’t become a bad golfer overnight, especially if you were once the best.

If I were in Rory’s shoes I would ‘ditch my ego’ and go back to basics and have a fresh pair of eyes check my grip on account of him saying in one of his interviews that his club face was opening and closing at impact. Trying to play good golf without a square club face at impact is an impossible task. With the technology that is available today, he could make the diagnosis by himself.

I certainly would not listen to sports science gurus who say they can measure golf swings and analyse everything down to the nth degree. You can’t play winning golf with such distractions in your head. Less science and more ‘feel’ will get Rory back on track. The scientific approach works fine in practice, but under the pressure of competition it can fall asunder the minute a shot goes astray.

Nobody can predict, or be sure, that they are going to win a golf tournament. There are too many variables. No matter how well you play, somebody else might play better. In pro golf, you have to beat EVERYBODY, all 155 of them – every one of them a top player in his own right.

Golf is an inconsistent game played by fallible human beings, whether they are top pros or novice amateurs. A golfer has enough problems trying to beat himself without beating himself. Everyone has different results every time they play. The ability to swing may be fine-tuned, but it can be easily upset by mental interferences caused by personal situations nobody knows about or simply thinking too much and complicating the game. Swing problems are never the reason for shooting 65 one day and 75 the next. The reasons always go deeper but, the solution could be as simple and as basic as checking one’s grip!

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