Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

McIlroy stands by his man

Rory McIlroy (left) and JP Fitzgerald

Rory McIlroy firmly believes he could not have a better caddie than JP Fitzgerald, no matter what anybody else thinks.

The 22-year-old US Open champion drew criticism for using Twitter on Thursday to respond angrily to comments about his course management from former European Tour player Jay Townsend.

But, after a second-round 68 at the Irish Open in Killarney, McIlroy stated: "I don't really have any respect for the man. Because of how long it has been going on (he claims nearly three years), that's why I said something. I have to stand up for JP because he's the best man that I think I can have on my bag. He's taken me from 200th in the world to major champion and now fourth in the world."

The Northern Irish star admits he has spoken to his parents and to his management company after the latest brush with controversy.

Having also said things he now regrets about not liking the bad weather at The Open two weeks ago - he was the pre-championship favourite and came only 25th - McIlroy is treading a dangerous line in how he is perceived.

On America's Golf Channel he was even accused by presenter Erik Kuselias of coming across "as as a spoilt brat who feels entitled. This is dumb from someone we've all probably anointed just a little too quickly".

Asked about the "spoilt brat" remark McIlroy, golf's newest superstar after the way he won the US Open by eight shots and with a record score in June, responded: "Well, I'm an only child - if that means I'm spoilt I don't know. Everybody's got their own opinion and you just to have to take it with a pinch of salt."

That rule did not apply to Townsend, though, because of their history.

So when the American, runner-up at the 1993 Heineken Open in Spain, described McIlroy's course management as "shocking" and "some of the worst I have ever seen beyond under-10's boys golf competition" the Holywood youngster hit back.

"Shut up," he tweeted. "You're a commentator and a failed golfer, your opinion means nothing!"

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