He’s been my favorite player since he was a pudgy, curly haired, PGA TOUR rookie. Before the Nike contract, before the majors (although he won those pretty quick). What we saw from Rors in Round 1 of the Masters was almost jarring.
His swing is absolutely out of sorts. He has no idea where the ball is going to go, which is easily seen on his tee shot on the Par 5, 15th. With no trust in his high draw, he tried a low, stinging cut – with no success. His iron shot on 16 had him baffled, with microphones picking up “that’s just so bad”, just seconds before it found the water.
Golf media and the golfing world are trying to find the answer to why this is happening. Before the COVID-19 shutdown at the Players, Rory was the best player in the world. The 2 year run he was on was outrageous, seemingly never finishing outside of the Top 10. But now, he can’t seem to hit a 9 iron flush.
10 weeks ago he became a dad, but I don’t believe the notion of that being the reason why he can’t get his game together. Some blame it on the equipment, as his struggles began quickly after switching to the new line of TaylorMade gear. But I don’t think it’s that either.
To be honest, I don’t know what’s happening. Just a few months ago, he turned in a Top 10 finish at one of the hardest major venues in the world. In his last appearance at the ZOZO, he had the most birdies in the field. But he’s making so many mistakes, some of them being mental.
He’s been open about trying to change his mental approach, attempting to be more patient and appreciative. But Rory played his best golf when he was a free swinging, aggressive young professional. Playing hard, playing fast, going after every pin.
That strategy is difficult to do at Augusta National, under normal conditions. This week, the course is playing slow. It’s playing wet. It’s an absolute birdie fest. And Rory didn’t get the invite. Who knows if he’ll find something during the second round to make a push towards making the cut – which will probably be around -2. But it seems apparent that another Masters week will pass, with Rory McIlory failing to slip on the green jacket.
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