Paul McGinley admits he would be surprised if Rory McIlroy was in contention to win the PGA Championship at Oak Hill on Sunday but insists he must find a way to deal with the heightened expectations around him at major championships.
McIlroy spoke of lowering his expectations ahead of his latest quest to arrest a nine-year run without a major title this week and McGinley feels the Northern Irishman has struggled to cope with the weight of expectation when it comes to golf’s big four events.
Since McIlroy’s last major gong at the 2014 PGA Championship nobody has more top-10s in major championships than the four-time major winner (17) while he has also won everything there is to win in the game including the Players Championship, three FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai titles as well as multiple stints as world number one.
“Over that time he has been the most dominant player in the game, winning every other title there is to win around the game whether it be the order of merit over here, in Europe and big titles in Europe and the USA,” McGinley said on Sky Sports Golf.
“When it comes to the major championships I think it’s expectations more than anything, we saw it at the Masters. Everybody is looking at you to win, that expectation and spotlight is on him and he wants it so badly and is getting in his own way. We saw at the Masters he performed really poorly from practicing well and having a lot of fun.”
McGinley believes McIlroy is still wounded from his missed cut at the Masters and thinks his confidence won’t be high enough to contend for a fifth major this week.
“The Masters has been a huge body blow to him, I wouldn’t say he’s on the floor but he’s certainly on the ropes. I’m not expecting him to play well this week. Rory comes in and out of form and confidence is a huge thing for him and I don’t think confidence is up at the moment. This is not a golf course strategically that suits him where you have to pick your way around we’re probably going to have a winning score in the single digits.
“I’ll be surprised if he contends.”
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