Paul McGinley believes Rory McIlroy must sort out his equipment issues and ask himself some searching questions after his latest Masters disappointment.
The Holywood star notched his fourth Top-10s in a row at the Augusta but he’s never contended since he lost a four-shot lead in 2011 and imploded around Amen Corner.
The world No 2 finished six shots outside the playoff between Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose and complained that he was using the wrong golf ball all week
Believing he has everything it takes to win the Masters, McIlroy said: "I just need to change my golf ball. I thought my golf ball was doing weird things in the wind and was very inconsistent.
"My putting feels as good as it has done in a long time, but I maybe didn't drive it as well as I could have the last couple of days."
McIlroy has no club or ball contract after Nike pulled out of the equipment market last year and continues to experiment.
But while McGinley reckons that he’s being clever by keeping his options open, mixing and matching clubs and balls, he needs to find his ideal combination before the US Open at Erin Hills in June.
After seeing McIlroy finish in the bottom quarter of the field from tee to green, McGinley said: “He’s obviously changed his equipment and we know he had trouble when he changed to Nike first of all.
"What he's doing by keeping is options option is a smart move, not tying himself to a contract with any one manufacturer and finding out what's best for him.
"But that's going to take time and he hasn't got there yet. Yes, we are only in April and that's just four months trying these new products. But he needs to get closure on that pretty soon.
"You can practice as much as you want in beautiful weather conditions on Trackman and all of that.
"But you don't know until you get into tournament conditions when the adrenaline is pumping, when the wind is swirling.
"You have got to trust your equipment so that's a big X Factor that he has to take care of."
The bigger question for McGinley is why McIlroy opened with rounds of 72 and 73 to leave himself five shots behind at halfway.
He said: "Only Rory and his team know the answer to that. These are the questions he needs to ask himself.
"Why did I not playing very well the first two rounds? Where am I at with my equipment? And when am I going to get closure? I need to do that."
The big positive for McGinley was while McIlroy’s long game was erratic, his chipping and pitching were better than ever at Augusta.
He said: "His driving and greens in regulation stats were down the bottom quarter of the whole field, which is a flip-flop of what we normally see.
"The positive is that his ability to scramble was there. As we all know, you have to have both and it was great to see he hung in not playing his best and still finished with a top 10.
"He has a lot more in the tank than he showed this week. It's only a matter of time for him at Augusta if you keep learning from it and assess what's going on going forward.
"Why did he not play well the first two days? Only Rory knows that.
"It was unusual to see him missing as many fairways as probably the best driver of the golf ball in the world. I know people talk about Dustin Johnson but for me it’s Rory.”
As for Sergio Garcia’s playoff win over Justin Rose, McGinley was happy to see two of his 2014 Ryder Cup team members going head to head and thrilled to see the Spaniard break his major duck.
He said: “I have an emotional attachment to both players but the romantic in me is delighted for Sergio.
"His career deserved it, his golf deserved it and he is a creative player. Those kinds of players seem to be rewarded by the golfing gods at Augusta.
"Myself and Padraig agreed that his wife to be, Angela, has provided a bit of steel to his backroom team.
"Pádraig remarked how completely downcast Sergio looked having missed that putt to win in regulation.
“But she gave him that high five as he came off the green and it wasn’t a ‘hard luck’ high five, it was a ‘come on you’re not finished yet', and she was absolutely right.
“Then after he signed his card, I could see as he went to the cart that his body language was still down.
“But when Justin opened the door with the tee shot, Sergio ignited again and that's the Sergio we know and he took advantage of it."