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Rory McIlroy fires back at Nick Faldo

rory-mcilroyGolf legend Nick Faldo was recently critical of Rory McIlroy, saying that he thinks the 24-year-old is spending too much time worrying about non-golf activities and not enough time on the course.

“You have a window of opportunity, that’s my only words of wisdom to Rory,” Faldo said on Monday. “You have say a 20-year window as an athlete — concentrate on golf, nothing else. Hopefully you have another 40 years to enjoy it so just concentrate on your golf.”

Faldo also said that golf is a full-time job and that McIlroy needs to focus on being on the course from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. like any other profession. On Wednesday, McIlroy fired back at Faldo.

“He said I should be at the course nine to five,” McIlroy said, via IBN Live. “I actually was on the range at 6.15 (yesterday) and got out of the gym at 6:15, a 12-hour day compared to his eight-hour day.

“Nick should know how hard this game is at times and he’s been in our position before. He should know how much work that we all put into it.”

McIlroy is struggling. There’s no question about that. He finished tied for 25th at the Masters in April, tied for 8th at The Players Championship in May and tied for 41st at the US Open last month. He has met with Nike multiple times to make adjustments to his equipment, and Faldo is not the first person to speculate that his personal life has negatively impacted his golf game.

[Related: Johnny Miller thinks Rory McIlroy is struggling because of his love life]

“I know how these things go, I know he wasn’t trying to get on my case at all,” McIlroy said of Faldo. “He was just offering words of advice in some way. (But) I think he has to remember how hard this game can be at times. I think the game’s like life, you’re going to go through highs and you’re going to go through lows. It’s just about trying to work your way out of the lows.”

Personally, I feel that the “blame Caroline Wozniacki” talk has gone way too far. The second a golfer starts struggling — especially one in his mid-20s — people want to point the finger at a lack of focus. McIlroy won three of the final six tournaments on the PGA Tour down the stretch next season. Let’s at least give him until the end of the season.

Rory McIlroy putts into a bunker at the British Open

McIlroy

Rory-McIlroyRory McIlroy’s struggles on the PGA Tour this season have been well documented, and they continued during the first round of the British Open on Thursday morning. McIlroy shot a 79 in the opening round at Muirfield to finish at 8-over on the day. At one point, he even putted the ball into a bunker.

McIlroy decided to putt from the fringe on the 15th, and he put a bit too much speed behind it. The ball went cruising past the flag and into one of Muirfield’s dreaded bunkers. He ended up with a double-bogey, which was his second of the day on the back nine.

The 23-year-old has a lot of work to do if he wants to make the cut on Friday, as his opening-round stinker has placed him near dead last in the field. It looks like he may want to schedule another meeting with Nike about his clubs.

GIF via SB Nation

Johnny Miller: Rory McIlroy is struggling because he’s in love for first time

rory-mcilroy-caroline-wozniackiRory McIlroy is still looking to find his stroke this season, and the British Open would be a good place to discover it this week. McIlroy’s recent performance has left little hope that he stands a chance at Muirfield. The 23-year-old has admitted he is still struggling to find the right clubs since his switch to Nike, but PGA analyst Johnny Miller thinks he is having other problems.

In addition to leaving his shoulder too open when he’s addressing the ball, Miller believes McIlroy’s ongoing romance with Caroline Wozniacki has had a negative effect on his play.

“I think he’s in love for the first time,” Miller said, via the San Francisco Chronicle (via For the Win). “It’s a wonderful feeling, and it’s distracting.”

Miller then went on to talk about McIlroy’s switch to Nike.

“Then I would say it’s one thing to change your driver or wedge, but you’re asking for huge trouble when you change all your clubs and your golf ball at the same time,” he said. “I did it with Wilson, and I went into an immediate slump for four or five months. …”

This is certainly not the first time we have heard someone blame McIlroy’s struggles on his relationship with Woz. There was recently speculation that he might be playing poorly because the two are going through a break-up, but they spent time together and put those rumors to rest.

Rory may not even know what the problem is, but the longer it persists the more the pressure builds. The important thing to remember is that McIlroy won three of the final six events on the PGA tour last year, starting with the PGA Championship in mid-August. It’s certainly possible that he could turn it on again down the stretch this season. Time will tell.

Caroline Wozniacki, Rory McIlroy spend time together amid breakup report

Rory McIlroy Caroline Wozniacki

Like many other celebrity couples, Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki frequently face breakup rumors. The rumors have been around twice now, and the latest came from unreliable British tabloid The Sun.

Over the weekend, The Sun said McIlroy was growing tired of Wozniacki being so clingy.

“He is trying to find a way out of the relationship. It looks as if it’s almost over,” a source told the paper.

In March, the Independent speculated that the relationship could be going south because both players were struggling and because they hadn’t recently communicated over Twitter. Seriously. That’s what they were basing it on.

We haven’t bought either rumor, and it looks like with good reason. The two are still together and their relationship appears to be doing well.

Wozniacki and McIlroy both lost early in their tournaments. Wozniacki lost in the second round at Wimbledon, and McIlroy failed to make the cut at the Irish Open. McIlroy even said in the past that just because both play poorly at the same time has nothing to do with their relationship.

After crashing out of their events early, Wozniacki and McIlroy retreated to Woz’s home in Monaco for the weekend:

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Rory McIlroy continues to meet with Nike over clubs

Rory McIlroyRory McIlroy says he will continue to meet with Nike staff members as they try to find clubs suitable to his liking.

McIlroy switched to Nike from Titleist in January after signing a 10-year deal believed to be worth $250 million. He has not won a tournament since making the switch. Some people cautioned that making such a big change could be bad for his career, and some of the concerns appear to be warranted thus far.

[Related: Nick Faldo says Rory McIlroy’s switch to Nike is dangerous]

In his last four tournaments, McIlroy missed the cut at the Irish Open, finished 41st at the US Open, 57th at the Memorial, and he missed the cut at the BMW PGA Championship. He did finish eighth at The Players in May and 10th at the Wells Fargo Championship.

McIlroy says the process of working with Nike to find the right driver is continuing.

“I am spending more time with Nike’s technical staff as this was a new driver I had in the bag this week but it still wasn’t 100 per cent what I want,” McIlroy said, via the AFP. “So I am testing with them again next week.

“I am still confident in my ability to hit the golf ball and hit good shots but then confidence comes from hitting good shots and seeing the ball go in the hole, and shooting good rounds and posting good results.”

McIlroy is not scheduled to play in an event before the British Open. He revealed that he has a family commitment in addition to his meeting with Nike that will prevent him from playing.

McIlroy initially went back to his old putter after switching clubs, though he is currently playing with all Nikes. It’s evident that the switch has provided a hitch in his career. Will he overcome it and work with Nike to get it right? Most likely, but, for now, the switch appears to be creating a setback in his career.

Rory McIlroy feels ‘a little lost,’ misses cut at Irish Open

Rory McIlroy admitted to feeling “a little lost” as he struggles to find the form that helped him become the No. 1 golfer in the world.

The Northern Irishman shot a 2-over 74 in the first round of the Irish Open on Thursday, and an even par 72 in the second round on Friday, which resulted in him missing the cut.

Rory McIlroyHe was asked about his struggles after his sub-par round on Thursday and admitted to feeling lost.

“I don’t really know,” McIlroy answered when asked why everything isn’t clicking. “I guess I’m just not … no aspects of my game are standing out that are strong. I don’t know, I feel a little lost at the moment.

“It’s frustrating, but I just gotta try and play and keep trying to shoot good scores. Hopefully it will turn around, but it’s obviously not much fun when you’re going out and trying to play well and shooting the scores I’m shooting every time.”

McIlroy has missed the cut at all three European Tour events he has played this year. Though he has performed below expectations at both majors this season, finishing 41st at the US Open and 25th at the Masters, McIlroy did finish second at the Valero Texas Open in April and eighth at both The Players and WGC Cadillac Championship. We expect higher finishes from him, but that’s not bad.

Last year McIlroy rallied at the end of the season. He won the PGA Championship, the Deutsche Bank Championship, and the BMW Championship all in August and September. Maybe the same thing will happen this year, though, with the way he’s played since switching to Nike, we’re not counting on a big turnaround.

Caroline Wozniacki caddying for Rory McIlroy at Masters Par 3 Contest

Caroline Wozniacki Rory McIlroy caddie

Rory McIlroy’s caddie for the Par 3 Contest at the Masters Wednesday was richer, more athletic, more famous, and probably more attractive than anyone else’s. Yes, McIlroy had his girlfriend, tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, caddie for him at the Par 3 Contest.

“I had a good deal with Rory and get a really good pay check out of this,” Wozniacki joked to ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi. “I even gave him a special price.”

“It’s very special,” McIlroy said of having his girlfriend caddie for him. “Caroline had the opportunity to come [last year] but it didn’t quite work out in the end. I wanted her to come to Augusta and come to the Masters to see what it’s all about. It’s great that she’s here this week. It makes this afternoon special that she can be out here with me.”

Wozniacki drew comparisons between the Masters and Wimbledon, which is recognized as tennis’ most prestigious tournament.

“Obviously this is a very special tournament,” she said. “It has so many traditions. In many ways it’s similar to Wimbledon, but in many ways it’s also different.

“Hopefully he won’t give me too many looks for wrong clubs,” Wozniacki joked.

Funny to think that only a month ago people were wondering if the two were having relationship problems all because they hadn’t tweeted each other in a while. That all looks silly now. If there are any appearances of a rocky relationship, it’s probably because McIlroy and Wozniacki are both professional athletes who are constantly traveling and have little free time. They seem to be doing quite well to us. Of course, we liked it more when McIlroy’s ex-girlfriend Holly Sweeney caddied for him, but we’ll settle for Caroline.

Wozniacki later tweeted about the experience.