McGinley and McIlroy at the Ryder Cup in 2014, Cathal Noonan/INPHO
Rory's story

'I admire the bloody-mindedness about him' - McGinley on McIlroy's Irish Open absence

He added that ‘last week was as good as I’ve seen Rory play for a number of years – if not ever.’

FORMER RYDER CUP-winning captain Paul McGinley has accepted Rory McIlroy’s decision to miss the Irish Open, adding that the 29-year-old is in the form of his life.

The Dubliner echoed Shane Lowry’s words on Off The Ball, with the latter voicing his opinion on RTÉ 2fm’s Game On last night.

29-year-old McIlroy confirmed that he would be absent for July’s event in Lahinch last week, explaining that he is eager to stay fresh in order to improve is chances at Royal Portrush.

“I think the writing was on the wall. He said that at the end of last year,” McGinley said. 
“I know Rory McIlroy very well and when he makes up his mind, he ain’t going to change.

“He’s very dogged in his ways, in his views that he needs to not play the Irish Open, he needs to play in Scotland. The most important guy here is McIlroy. The proof will be in the pudding at the Open Championships and how it works out for him. What can you do?

“It’s disappointing for us in the Irish Open, disappointing for me hosting it. But it’s going to be a great Irish Open.”

McGinley added that he has his own personal views, but continued: “In some way, I admire the bloody-mindedness about him, to be honest. I think you need to have that about you to be a top player in the game.

“To be the top at anything in your life, you’ve got to really have the courage of your convictions. Unfortunately, we miss out as Irish people. He’s certainly not turning his back on the Irish Open from everything that he’s said. We’ll look forward to having him again.”

He was full of praise for four-time Major winner McIlroy’s game after his performance at the WGC-Mexico Championship.

The Northern Irishman finished second to American Dustin Johnson, five strokes off.

“His putting looks really good,” McGinely said.

“Those vibes look good and it’s carried through into the last month or so. To be honest, last week was as good as I’ve seen Rory play for a number of years — if not ever.

“He really was that good. All facets of his game and no weakness there.”

He feels that the addition of Brad Faxon to McIlroy’s team has really contributed to his continued rising form and improved his putting drastically.

“Brad is a disciple of Bob Rotella’s, who I believe is fantastic at what he teaches and had great success with Padraig [Harrington] for one,” he added.

“Indirectly, he’s now a disciple of Bob Rotella’s. Because the stuff that Faxon would be talking to him about will be stuff that he’s learned from Rotella over 2-3 decades of working with him.”

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