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Ian Poulter advises Rory McIlroy to just to be himself

By Phil Casey

Ian Poulter believes Rory McIlroy needs to go his own way to rediscover the form which brought him two major titles by the age of 23.

McIlroy missed the cut in last week's Open Championship at Muirfield, labelling his own play "brain dead" following an opening round of 79.

The 24-year-old Holywood native won five times last year, including his second major by eight shots in the USPGA Championship, to finish top of the money list on both sides of the Atlantic.

But he has yet to record a win in 2013 since a controversial multi-million pound switch to Nike in January, also damaging his reputation by walking off the course during his defence of the Honda Classic and bending a club out of shape during the final round of the US Open last month.

Asked if he had any advice for his Ryder Cup team-mate, Poulter said: "Stop reading the newspapers, stop listening to other people, go out there and do your stuff.

"There is a reason he was sought after by a new manufacturer and why they pay the big bucks because he is that good. He's just going to have to settle into the equipment, settle into himself being in a different environment now.

"The expectations after winning both money titles, there is some comedown after that. He just has to go out there and be himself."

Speaking at Woburn during his junior invitational event, Poulter added: "He knows how good he really is and the second he gets comfortable again you are going to see him winning golf tournaments.

"You don't win two majors by the age of 23 and disappear. Rory is here for a long time and he is going to be back at the top very soon."

Meanwhile, Woody Austin won his first PGA Tour title in six years after tense final day to the Sanderson Farm Championship ended in a three-man play-off, which the 49-year-old won on the first hole.

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