Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Storm of criticism awaits Rory McIlroy after his weathered comments

Rory McIlroy
SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland lifts the Claret Jug aloft following his victory at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Darren Clarke with Alison Campbell. 'Everything is fantastic at the moment,' he says

Rory McIlroy finished with mixed emotions at The Open ... elation at his mentor, Darren Clarke's, hugely emotional win and intense frustration after his own prospects of lifting the Claret Jug were scattered on the four winds.

Indeed, the 22-year-old is likely to reap criticism with his blunt admission that: "I'm not a fan of golf tournaments where the outcome is predicted so much by the weather. It's not my sort of golf."

Especially when the youngster followed up by saying "there's no point in changing your game for one week a year."

McIlroy was in contention going into the weekend after completing the first 36 holes at Royal St Georges in even par, but was blown right off course by 35 mph gales.

After signing for a final round 73, which even included a one stroke penalty on the green at seven when his ball was blown a couple of inches backwards after address, McIlroy finished in a tie for 26th on seven-over.

His performance in Sandwich was far removed from last month's imperious, record-breaking march to victory at the US Open in Congressional, when McIlroy had appeared utterly invincible on a classic American golf course.

"Obviously, I'm disappointed with the way I finished but I'll have to wait another year to have a good run at this tournament."

McIlroy nodded at the suggestion that if he's going to contend at golf's oldest Major Championship, he's going to deal with the weather.

"It's either that or just wait for a year when the weather is nice," he responded.

"My game is suited basically for every golf course and most conditions but I don't enjoy playing in these conditions, really.

"I'd rather play when it's 80 degrees and sunny and there's not much wind," McIlroy went on.

"I can play in the wind but it's a case of just being comfortable doing that.

It was remarkable on Saturday to see McIlroy, a young man born and bred one hour by road from one of the world's finest links at Royal Co Down, look so ill-at-ease in the wind.

However, he did grow up on a parkland course in Holywood, with a game perfectly suited for the venues at which golf's other three majors are played, including Atlanta Athletic Club, where the US PGA Championship will be played next month.

No question, McIlroy's candid remarks will draw criticism from commentators steeped in the traditions of British golf but his logic is indisputable.

In the meantime, McIlroy was planning to celebrate Clarke's success in style.

"Darren's victory is going to be very emotional for a lot of people. He's had to go through a lot o and it's almost as if he's a forgotten man at home in Northern Ireland at the moment," he said.

"He's been a fantastic friend for me. He sent me texts all week at the US Open and has been a great help. Anything I've ever needed or wanted to know, he's been on the other end of the phone.

"Darren missed Munich for my celebrations and even though I don't think I'll miss a tournament for his, I'll be there in Portrush for his and I'll definitely be one of the last ones to go to bed."

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