Nick Faldo has been in “I told you so” mode about Rory McIlroy’s struggles but insists he still loves the kid.
The 59-year old teed it up in the Open - his first event for two years — and shot an eight over 79 that McIlroy could only match.
But while Faldo has been one of McIlroy’s most vocal critics, he insists he’s only trying to help his former protege.
Faldo said: “I’m friends of Rory. I’ve known him since he’s 12. He’s a big part of my Faldo Series. I’m like big granddad here. I’m trying to give him a little caring, loving help, here.
“I like the kid. He’s a friend. I can speak from experience. All I’m trying to say is I’ve been there, seen it, I know what can happen.
“As I said, right from the word go, I thought the equipment change was very dangerous and trying to explain the feel factor, and feel his confidence.
“Bottom line, if you can do it on a Sunday afternoon at a Major and win it, that is the ultimate confidence in this game. That gives you the ultimate self belief.
“He looks a different person, let alone a different golfer right now, than when I saw him before US PGA last year.
“I said, ‘How are you playing?’ He said, ‘Every part of my game is good, or better than good.’ He wouldn’t say that now, would he? Get me? But life, golf and that, all goes up and down.
“As long as you keep believing you’re on an upward track, your career is still going to be up and down, up and down. That’s golf.
“You’re either on a spiral going up or a spiral going down. But that’s all I’m saying. Don’t write as if I’m having a go at him.”