Rory McIlroy gave a full and pretty frank press conference ahead of the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral and addressed his problems with his swing, what really went wrong at the Honda Classic, the robust health of his relationship with Caroline Wozniacki and those FTB tweets with Ronan Keating.
On the causes of his meltdown
“It was a buildup of high expectations from myself coming off the back of such a great year last year, and wanting to continue that form into this year and not being able to do it. You know, I just sort of let it all get to me.”
On his swing problems
“We were trying to find the balance between making a bit of a swing change and finding some playability in it so that I can actually go out there and play and not think about it. But we realize there’s no quick fixes in golf. You just have to get to the root of the problem, no pun intended, and just fix it. I know if I can get my takeaway fixed, the rest of the swing will follow.
“I’ve worked my ass off over the last four or five days to really try and get this right. Still, it’s a work‑in‑progress. I’m not putting any pressure on myself this week to perform. Going out there, all I care about is my swing. Get that back on track and the results will follow.”
On Nike as the root of the problem
“No, I really don’t think so. I think coming off the back of last year, five wins, a second major championship in two years, I just really wanted to try and continue where I left off in 2012. It’s been frustrating that I haven’t been able to do that. It’s irrelevant what deal I have or what clubs I play. It’s about me on the golf course and the expectations and the pressure that I put myself under.”
On where he believes his meltdown will erode his fan base
“No, not at all. As I said, everyone makes mistakes. I’m 23 years old, I’m still learning. I’ve hopefully got 20, 25 more years of this to do and having the pleasure of talking to you guys every Wednesday.”
On being open with the media
“We, as in me and all you guys, are hopefully going to have a working relationship for the next 20 years, so I don’t want to jeopardise that by being closed. I feel like I’ve always been open and honest and given you guys all my thoughts. I don’t want it to be that way where there’s friction between me and the press because at the end of the day, you guys are here because you’re reporting what we do on the golf course all over the world.”
On adding an event before the Masters
“I haven’t planned on it yet. I’m waiting to see how I do this week and then make a decision. I know if I want to play Tampa next week, I’ve got to enter by Friday and obviously there’s Bay Hill after that. Right now, I haven’t made a decision. I feel like I’ve made some progress over the last few days, so the likelihood is I probably won’t add an event. It all depends on how I feel with my game and how I feel out there on the course.”
Equipment or swing?
“I guess at the start yes (equipment), but now I know it’s just purely the swing. The equipment is fantastic. I have no problems at all. When I make a good swing, the ball goes where I want it and the flight as I want it, so I know that it’s not that. It’s just getting my swing on the right path.”
On his Twitter exchanges with Ronan Keating and the hashtag #FTB (F**k the begrudgers)
“It’s a little private joke between friends, and something I probably can’t divulge on live TV, if I’m on live.”
On girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki and the break-up rumours
“Just because I have a bad day on the golf course and Caroline loses a match in Malaysia, it doesn’t mean that we’re breaking up (shakes head). It’s sport and, look, I’d rather keep my private life as private as possible. Everything on that front is great and I’m looking forward to seeing her next week when she gets to Miami.”