US Ryder Cup Tom Watson dismissed off-course problems as the reason for Rory McIlroy’s 2013 slump and believes he must find his mojo in the dirt of the range. Judging by McIlroy’s 67 at Oak Hill last night, he might just be right.
“Playing poorly sometimes toughens your resolve and makes you realise how tough this game can be,” Watson said. “Off-course stuff? That’s what you hire managers for.”
Told that McIlroy is in the process of firing his second manager, just 18 months after signing up, Watson said: “Rory’s in a situation that is a lot different than mine because of the economics of it.
“You say Rory has no confidence right now. Well, duh. Of course not. If you are not hitting fairways and struggling to make pars…
“It’s like Trevino said. There are three things that don’t last - dogs that chase cars, caddies who think they’re stars and pros who putt for pars.
“When you are struggling you have to find it on the range, then bring it to the course, and build it up again gradually.
“When Rory is on the range, is he thinking out outside distractions? No. He‘s working on his golf swing. That‘s his domain. That’s where you find your confidence.
“As my old caddie Bruce Edwards said, ‘All you want to hear is three words after a marathon practice session - I’ve got it.’”
McIlroy’s third round 67 at Oak Hill proved that he might just have found it - in the dirt.