Faldo: McIlroy will bounce back
Sir Nick Faldo still believes in Rory McIlroy after watching every shot of a Masters nightmare that inevitably turned his own mind back 15 years.
McIlroy's closing round of 80 at Augusta, which sent him crashing from four shots clear to 10 shots behind winner Charl Schwartzel, had everybody thinking of Greg Norman, and Faldo, of course, was the beneficiary at the same venue in 1996 when Norman crashed to a 78 and went from six ahead to five behind. The Australian never won another major, but he was 41 at the time, while McIlroy is just 21.
"He's young and I am sure he will regroup and come back stronger," said Faldo, now a commentator on American television.
"He was thrown in at the deep end and this is a serious deep end. You are there on your own, things get out of sync and you lose your tempo."
It took England's former world number one until the day after his 30th birthday to land the first of his six majors - and that came after he had finished in the top 12 of the Open no fewer than seven times in the previous nine years.
"I'll have plenty more chances, I know, and hopefully it will build a bit of character in me as well," McIlroy said. "I don't think I can put it down to anything else than part of the learning curve.
"Hopefully if I can get myself back into this position pretty soon I will handle it a little bit better.
"It will be pretty tough for me for the next few days, but I will get over it - I will be fine. There are a lot worse things that can happen in your life.
"Shooting a bad score in the last round of a golf tournament is nothing in comparison to what other people go through.
"I can't really put my finger on what went wrong. I lost a lot of confidence with my putting, but I just hit a poor tee shot on 10 and sort of unravelled from there."