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Rory McIlroy at a loss over his clubs

Malaysian Open

By Mark Garrod

Rory McIlroy will become “the boy in the bubble” if he finds himself in contention for major titles in the future.

McIlroy — whose prized clubs went missing yesterday — looked set to win the Masters on Sunday when he took a four-shot lead into the final round at Augusta, only to slump to a closing 80.

And the 21-year-old Ulsterman feels he has learnt some valuable lessons on how to cope if a similar situation arises.

“It is very hard to keep yourself in the present and not think about winning or putting on that green jacket or walking up the last with a two or three-shot lead,” McIlroy said.

“You need to keep that out of your mind. I did that for the most part. “If I was giving advice I'd say don't read newspapers, don't look at the TV or anything like that.

“It's easy to say he's got a four-shot lead and if he keeps doing what he is doing he'll win, but it is a lot easier said than done.

“My advice would be almost put yourself in a bubble and don't let outside factors influence anything, whether that be newspaper articles, TV or anything.”

McIlroy had a long time to reflect on what went wrong at Augusta, joining Masters champion and stablemate Charl Schwartzel on a long journey from Georgia to Kuala Lumpur for this week's Maybank Malaysian Open.

But the Holywood man’s mood failed to lift when he heard that his clubs failed to make the 25-hour journey.

“It hasn’t happened often, its one of these things you can’t help it, going through so many timezones and so many connecting flights your bags are going to get lost sometimes,” McIlroy said. “Hopefully they turn up and I’ll be ready to go.”

McIlroy added: “I'm feeling okay. I'm trying to get back in the saddle and put everything that happened last week behind me and I'm looking forward to getting going.

“When you travel like that you have a lot of time to reflect. I'm really just looking at the positives.

“I led that golf tournament for 63 holes. That's all I can look at. Everyone is going to have bad days. Mine just happened probably on the most important day of my golfing career.

“I'm a very positive person and I know I'll get over it. I'll learn from it. When I get myself back in that position if I have really learned from it, it won't happen again.”

Despite being staged straight after the year's first major, the tournament has attracted a quality field which also features world number one Martin Kaymer and Open champion Louis Oosthuizen.

“I was always going to come here,” McIlroy added. “At the start of the year I knew Martin would be playing and Charl and Louis. It's going to be a great field. I'm excited to get out playing again.”

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