Forcing Never Works

Ivan Morris
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Forcing Never Works

Rory McIlroy plays his second shot on the par 5, 18th hole during the final round of the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

For the second time in two months, Rory McIlroy suffered a heart-breaking disaster when it seemed to all the world that he was about to record an overdue victory. By carving an ill-chosen, three-wood approach into the water at the 72nd hole, he missed the chance to win the Dubai Desert Classic for the third time. In November’s DP World Tour Championship, Rory dropped shots at three of his last four holes to lose to Collin Morikawa. My inveterate TV golf-watcher friends, Mutt and Jeff, did not mince their words when they met over a pint on Monday evening.

Mutt – Only last week Rory McIlroy was telling us how he was going to play conservative golf from now on – just like Tiger always did – by playing more fairway metals and irons off the tees and not taking unnecessary risks.

Jeff – That resolution did not last long. Rory is turning into the Clown Prince of Golf – talented but prone to the simplest of mental mistakes. He played a driver at the 17th and a 3-metal off the tee at Dubai. He should have done the opposite; maybe even an iron off the 17th? Richard Bland managed to birdie both of those holes by laying well back and leaving himself full wedge shots. Rory should have done the same. It might have been great entertainment but so sad to watch.

Mutt – Rory looks more scared and indecisive than focused and determined these days. If you ask me, he was afraid of taking on Viktor Hovland in a play-off and that is why he went ‘for broke’ on both 17 and 18. The silly thing is laying up would not have taken the birdie he needed out of play but driving into a bush and attempting a 260-yard carry over water brought bogey into play. That’s bad course management – no other way to describe it.

Jeff – Rory knows it all. He doesn’t consult with his caddy or listen to anybody outside his circle of yes-men. I hope his wife gave him a slap when he arrived home because that’s what he deserves. Anyone can hit a bad shot but dumb decision-making is inexcusable. Don’t tell me he buckled under the pressure. A pro should revel in these situations with a chance to win – Hovland and Bland did. Rory didn’t. All great players have their losses, but a man of Rory’s ability has too many of them. One wonders if he has the stomach for a fight to the death, anymore?

Mutt – The sad thing about Rory is there isn’t a lot to fix – if he’d only listen. When you get down to those last few holes it’s not about ball striking. It’s about getting the job done; nothing fancy but making good decisions and eliminating big mistakes. Rory looks like a rabbit caught in headlights.

Jeff – Rory is a glory seeker unable to restrain himself and play the percentages. I consider it cowardly golf. It takes more guts to lay up than it does to go for broke. The position Rory was in meant he didn’t have to play perfect, world-beating golf – intelligent would have done. Don’t forget he made a mess of the 10th as well where he took 6 at another par-5 because he thought he could over-power it.

Mutt – He’s the same guy who told us last week that he was going to play more conservatively and cut out the silly mistakes. Rory isn’t stupid but he plays with not a lot of intelligence. Rory looks more scared than ballsy – possibly because he has fallen into the trap of trying too hard? In a fight, forcing never works. You only walk yourself into sucker punches.


For more on the above, Listen to this week’s Irish Golfer Podcast

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