They say a good start is half the work and Paul McGinley seems to buy into that philosophy when it comes to Rory McIlroy’s path to success in 2023.
Writing in his Sky Sports column, McGinley lauded an exceptional year just past for McIlroy, one highlighted by four top-10s in the majors and a Race to Dubai/FedEx Cup double that coincided with his resurgence to the summit of the world golf rankings.
It was a true renaissance for McIlroy whose vastly improved putting and wedge play proved key to his revival. Working alongside Brad Faxon has definitely helped in that regard but while the Holywood star enters the new year rightly optimistic, McGinley warned that the first couple of months could prove key to McIlroy’s success at golf’s biggest events.
“The next couple of months are really important as he reenergises and resets himself,” McGinley wrote.
“He doesn’t want to lose the momentum he enjoyed in 2022. We’ve seen him before after quite extensive breaks come out of the blocks slow and kind of lose the initiative a little bit, then try new things.
“It’s key that he keeps his focus of thought and to continue working along the lines we saw in 2022 as it’s a path that has yielded results and him becoming the best edition of a golfer that I’ve witnessed in his career to date.
“It’s also a path I’m convinced where more majors will be added to his already sensational golfing CV.”
One man McGinley repeatedly credited in his column was a man he also worked with throughout his own playing career – Bob Rotella. One of golf’s great gurus (if you haven’t read Golf Is Not A Game of Perfect, you should!), Rotella’s wisdom has been heavily responsible for McIlroy rediscovering that distinctive bounce in his step. That confidence, coupled with how McIlroy has handled the emergence of LIV, has proved to be a winning cocktail for McIlroy and one that could give him the edge heading into an exciting Major calendar for 2023.
McGinley added; “I would also credit Rotella’s influence on how McIlroy has used the narrative around LIV and the central role that he has taken off the course to his advantage. Many of the really greats in sport talk of getting an edge mentally and they talk about cultivating this edge by taking offence to someone or something, or making things personal.
“This edge becomes the fuel that energise them in the battle field of preparation and competition and I believe McIlroy, with the help of Rotella, has cultivated the emergence of LIV in a positive way to help fuel his concentration and focus this year.
“They have found a way of using LIV psychologically to put himself in a place where he’s out to prove something and chase it, which I think historically has always been his best mindset.”