After a third straight U.S. Open flop Rory McIlroy clearly has issues that need addressing. That’s the view of victorious Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley after McIlroy’s sad Shinnecock Hills failure.
McIlroy produced a horror opening day 10-over par 80 and while he shot a second round 70, that included a ‘where have you been’ closing inward nine of just 31, it was far too many shots to play the weekend.
It was the third U.S. Open McIlroy failed to make any impression after having missed the cut at Oakmont in 2016 and then also sat out the closing two rounds a year ago at Erin Hills.
McIlroy also has now contested 10 Majors in succession since his last win at the game’s highest level capturing the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla.
And while Tiger Woods also missed the Shinnecock Hills cut, you look at Woods’ record and never in his now 78-Majors playing career has he missed the cut in the same Major three times running.
“There are definitely issues that need to be addressed,’ said McGinley in commentating for SKY.
“But I certainly don’t see the issues as technical. People say about his putting but from what we saw at Bay Hill, where he won in March, he is an inspirational putter and he’s always been. I think it’s more to do with attitude and the second phase of his career. In his first phase we have a saying in Ireland that he had ‘pointy elbows’ – ‘get out of my way, here I come, just watch me, I’m going to dominate
“That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. I know the competition has got better but that attitude of Rory’s, bouncing down the fairways and just steamrollering the field, we haven’t seen in a while. Yeah, he won at Bay Hill this year, but he won from getting into contention in the last four or five holes and then having a flurry of birdies to get over the line. That’s what we want to see back, that’s when Rory is at his best. When he has those pointy elbows and he’s bouncing down the fairways and he’s dominating.”
McIlroy’s now in his 30th year but it’s been four years since his last taste of Major’s success and in that time the face of golf has changed and there is just so many younger that McIlroy and this is something McGinley recognises.
“Rory’s not the new kid on the block any more. When he was winning his majors, he was out on his own and drove the ball better than anyone else,” said McGinley.
“But in saying that there are five or six guys who can drive the ball as long and as straight as him. This is a new phase of his career and it’s going to take a new attitude and a new drive to go with it. That’s what is missing”.
The carpet was pulled from McIlroy’s Shinnecock challenge very early in starting Thursday’s opener par, bogey, bogey, double-bogey and double-bogey to be six-over after five holes.
From there on McIlroy was just making-up the numbers and it also had McGinley questioning McIlroy’s ‘ability’ when the conditions are tough.
“The second thing that is missing is his ability to play tough courses,’ added McGinley.
“His CV is littered with success but it’s not littered with successes on brutally tough courses that basically become a war of attrition, like the one we seen here at Shinnecock Hills.
“It’s something he has to sort out to continue on the tremendous early part of his career.”
McIlroy now has two events, this weeks Travelers Championship in close-by Connecticut and the July 5th starting Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin before the year’s third Major – 147th Open at Carnoustie.
And if there is some comfort this week for McIlroy heading to TPC River Highlands is that he produced one of his best scores the last time he teed-up on the course and that being a closing 64.
It was the same par-70 course where Jim Furyk a year earlier shot a PGA Tour all-time low of 58.