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The Punter: Don’t bet against Rory McIlroy bouncing straight back


Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy is 1-8 not to win a major this year after his agonising Masters meltown at Augusta.

But those who believe the 21-year-old Holywood star can bounce back by taking the US Open at Maryland in June or the Sandwich Open in July, can have 25-1 and 14-1 respectively.

It would be ludicrous to dismiss such a possibility and the general consensus still prevails that it's only a matter of time before Rory makes a major breakthrough.

Nevertheless it was unbearable to watch McIlroy surrender the four-stroke lead which saw him go into the final round at |8-11 to become the first Irishman and youngest player since Tiger Woods to don the iconic Green Jacket.

Rory has said he will get over it, but the mental scar could remain for some time. Let's hope not, even though that round of 80 was not as freakishly horrifying when we consider his past form.

Remember last year's Open record-equalling 63 in the first round at St Andrew's was followed by an 80 — admittedly the strong wind played a signficant part in that — which wrecked his hopes then.

And so it was deja vu at Augusta. After going three days without a bogey, he ended up an incredible 10 shots in 15th place behind South African 100-1 winner Charl Schwartzel, something which if predicted a few hours earlier, would have been viewed as someone having a laugh.

Then, again, maybe not. It's not the first time Rory has crashed under the pressure. He was four in front in the 2008 European Masters before losing out to Frenchman Jean-Francois Lucquin in a play-off.

Yes, he responded with victory in Dubai but even then, he almost let it slip. Six in front with six holes to play, he blundered his way to four successive bogeys and had to get out of a bunker at the 18th to secure the trophy.

In view of his superb long game, it was uncharacteristic to see such a wayward drive off the 10th tee signal the Augusta nightmare but there's no doubt his putting must improve.

Tiger Woods roared ominously with a late Masters surge and it would have been his greatest victory ever if he had pulled it off. Instead, he had to settle for fourth behind Schwartzel who is now 10,000-1 to complete a Grand Slam.

But that sign of a return to his best form sees Tiger, back to his surly self as seen by his post-final round interview, installed the 11-2 favourite for the US Open and 9-2 ‘jolly' for Sandwich glory. Schwartzel and title holder Graeme McDowell are both at 40-1 for the US Open.

McIlroy majors in 2011: none: 1-8; exactly one 11-2; exactly two 25-1; exactly three 100-1

McIlroy's specials: 2-5 to win a tournament in 2011; 5-6 to lead another major in 2011; 7-1 to card 80 in another 2011 major; 20-1 to four-putt in another 2011 major.

Belfast Telegraph