| 8.9°C Belfast

Masters 2021: McIlroy still has to clear mental hurdle to end Augusta agony, believes McGinley


Close

Rory McIlroy gets to grips with Augusta during a practice round ahead of his latest bid for Masters glory

Rory McIlroy gets to grips with Augusta during a practice round ahead of his latest bid for Masters glory

AP

Helping hand: Paul McGinley has had words of advice for Rory McIlroy

Helping hand: Paul McGinley has had words of advice for Rory McIlroy

�INPHO/Oisin Keniry

/

Rory McIlroy gets to grips with Augusta during a practice round ahead of his latest bid for Masters glory

Rory McIlroy might have time on his side as he seeks that elusive Green Jacket but Sky Sports golf expert Paul McGinley is convinced he needs a mental coach as much as a swing coach as he struggles to combine his off-course life with the serious business of ending his near seven-year drought in the Majors.

Competition is now so fierce at the top end of the game that juggling a multi-million dollar business empire with golf and family life is a gargantuan challenge when you're trying to compete with golfing obsessives such as Bryson DeChambeau.

"I wouldn't say he's running out of time," McGinley said of McIlroy's seventh bid to complete the career Grand Slam with new coach Pete Cowen in his entourage.

"But one of the biggest challenges Rory has, and I know he's going down the road of technique at the moment, is something I can speak about from experience. Life gets in the way.

"Your focus doesn't remain the same as you get older. You marry, become a father, you have business interests. You don't have the pure, driven ambition of your 20s. Certainly, when you look at Bryson, nothing is in his way. There are no complications except golf.

"That's a big, big challenge for Rory. As much as he's going down the road of technique with Pete, this recognition of where he is in his life, and his career, that has to be addressed as well."

McGinley knows McIlroy well. But when it comes to the monumental pressure of completing the career Grand Slam, he reckons the Holywood star needs psychological help.

"I think the biggest challenge, as much as Rory thinks the answer is in his technique and a change of coach, there are obviously some bigger hurdles that he has to overcome mentally," McGinley said.

"Only five players have won the Grand Slam in the history of the game, and he'd be joining what is incredibly elite company and that's mentally a massive, massive change.

"I don't know if he's getting any help to get over the line with that, that's not just something you turn up and win; it takes a huge monumental effort mentally to get over the line with that.

"The other guys who all won the Grand Slam, they only took three times to complete it, so they did it quite quickly, whereas Rory, I think this is his seventh attempt and it gets tougher, it doesn't get easier.

"It's like Lee Westwood trying to win his first Major, it gets tougher as the years go by. Greg Norman trying to win The Masters around here, it got tougher as the years went by, not easier.

"And they're the big hurdles that Rory faces, and because we all talk about him being as talented as he is, that brings a lot of expectation on his shoulders and every Major he goes in, there's an expectation on his shoulders, and he feels it, I really do think he feels the pressure.

"That is another big hurdle Rory has to jump."

The jury is out on Cowen as the solution to McIlroy's woes and McGinley just hopes the Yorkshireman keeps it simple.

"It's not rocket science for Rory," he said, firm in his belief the Co Down man can find his game quickly.

"If it becomes rocket science, it becomes even more muddled in his head and he's going to play worse. I'm hoping and trusting that Pete is just going to give him something, but there's a word of warning out there, too, having watched Jordan (Spieth).

"Jordan this time two years ago, everyone was calling on him to change coach and caddie, and all of the same narrative that we have around Rory, and he resisted everything, he stuck with the same team and now look at him coming in here as the second favourite this week and I think he's going to take a lot of beating."

If it remains dry, McGinley cannot see beyond three players.

"You've got to go for the usual suspects," said the Dubliner. "And Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau and Jordan Spieth are the three that stand out."

Watch all four rounds of The Masters live and exclusive, as well as previews, highlights and archive footage on Sky Sports The Masters and NOW.

Belfast Telegraph


Top Videos



Privacy