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Dublin: 9°C Monday 26 October 2020

McIlroy trying to find form with a little help from his friends

The world number three prepped for this week’s Bridgestone Invitational by playing a few holes with his childhood buddies.

Image: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images

TWO WEEKS AFTER he described his golf as “braindead,” Rory McIlroy has turned to some childhood friends to help him fall in love with the game again.

McIlroy is back in the spotlight this week at the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio, his first tournament since continuing his dismal slump with a missed cut at the Open Championship.

He tees off at 6.40pm Irish time this evening alongside Brandt Snedeker, looking for the win that would kick-start his season and move him back above Phil Mickelson to world number two.

“I went home to Northern Ireland at the weekend there and played some golf with my buddies,” McIlroy explained yesterday. ”Buddies that I’ve grown up with and stuff, and I found that very beneficial.”

Because you play so much golf on tour, and you sort of, I guess you forget why you play the game. You play the game because you love it and I don’t get the opportunity to go and play golf with my buddies much anymore, so to be able to go and do that for the weekend was something that I really enjoyed.

I guess it’s good. It makes you feel good and you have an attitude change.

Since his calamitous exit at Muirfield, where he opened with an eight-over par 79, McIlroy has been working closely with coach Michael Bannon and using TrakMan technology to get a better understanding of his shots.

The feedback from those sessions “has definitely helped,” he said, but he knows that the major battle in rediscovering his form will be a mental one.

“I sort of let a good shot and a bad shot affect me a little bit too much I think. You know, sometimes I get a little bit too excited about a good shot and a little bit too down about a bad shot.

“So all I was trying to say was just try to keep it more on an even keel out on the golf course and, as I say, not get too excited about a bad round or a good round or whatever.  Just try and keep it a little more level.”

He added: “I feel like I’m a confident person, but when you play some tournaments and they don’t go your way, of course your confidence is going to get knocked a little bit.

“I just need one good round or one good week to get that confidence back.  I don’t think it’s something that you really need to build up over a period of time.

You know, winning, as well, winning is a habit.  Once you get into the knack of it, you get on a roll and you can get yourself into contention; and if you keep winning all the time, you get into the habit of knowing what to do or knowing what it takes to get that trophy at the end of the week.  Obviously that’s a habit that I’m trying to get back into.

Confidence‑wise, I don’t think I’m very far away.  I feel like my game is in pretty good shape.  It’s just a matter of letting it happen on the golf course.

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About the author:

Niall Kelly

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