From Glory to Gory for Rory

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It was a sad day for the great phenom, Rory McIlroy today at the European Masters. He started the day with a 4 shot lead – hard to believe you can lose with that – but he did.
What was his problem – too much confidence? – too much adrenalin? – too little experience? Maybe all of the above, because he certainly started off pretty poorly with 2 bogies in the first 3 holes In fact at one point he was in 4th place.

But…the 19 year old sucked it up like a real pro and headed down the 18th hole 1 shot ahead. So what happened that caused him to over-shoot the green on a pretty simple pitch and miss a makeable 5 footer?

I heard Warren and Julian say he was rushing his shots, but I’m not so sure. Rory always plays fast (which I love!) and so it looked like he was playing his normal game to me. But maybe that was his problem. With nerves and adrenlin pumping in veins, maybe he needed to change – maybe he needed to slow down. I’ve heard winning players say that before – they slow eeeevvverryrythiiiing doooownn when they get close to the end. And I’m sure with Rory’s lack of experience and youthful enthusiasm, he was probably picturing himself with the trophy before he pitched over the green. The shock on his face said it all. It was sad, but as they say, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

His post round interview was impressive.

Obviously I am very disappointed,” he said. “I got very unlucky on the 18th in regulation, where it got a pretty big bounce for a sand wedge. I hit a good chip, but not a very good putt. Then second time around in the play-off it didn’t really matter as he holed his. That made me feel a bit better after missing that putt. I can take a lot from this week – I played very well all week and played well coming down the stretch, but unfortunately one bad shot cost me.”I came here after three missed cuts in a row and found a bit of form. It would have been nice to go home with the trophy, but I have plenty more tournaments even this year. It would be great to get a win this year, but if not I have the rest of my career. C’est la vie.”

That doesn’t sound like immaturity to me.

My golfguy reminded me this morning as we watched this painful loss, about the time when 20 year old, amateur, Jack Nicklaus took a one-shot lead with six holes to play in the 1960 US Open at Cherry Hills. Can you imagine how that younster felt then? Unfortunately Jack’s back-to-back, 3-putt bogeys on 13 and 14 resulted in a a second-place finish, two shots behind Arnold Palmer. I never got to see that tournament, but I wonder if those who did would have predicted that Nicklaus would go on to win 18 majors and come second 19 times.

Well, for the record, I predict that Rory McIlroy will win the most majors of any European player ever. And I expect him to win his first major within 2 years!

Golfgal

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4 comments

  1. Hi Gayle
    Great Story
    I have never heard of this young rising star, but after reading your story I look forward to following his young career.

  2. Poor Rory. I just love him. But he’s so young his golf career is going to be great. So is his life. Like Bill, I look forward to watching him in the years to come.

  3. It was terribly disappointing to see Rory Mcilroy to miss out after coming so close to winning his first title on the European Tour. But if what he did this week counts for anything then we can say for sure that this young lad from Northern Ireland is walking down the right path and will live up to the hype surrounding him. Having said that, his inability to close out a win at the Omega European Masters does cast a few doubts on his mental fortitude but I guess that is all a part of the learning curve and it will not be long before he turns the corner.

    The poor chap actually wanted to close out the second playoff hole and he requested Lucquin to let him putt through and it was shocking to see him miss the 18 inch putt. Despite the security of two putts, Jean Francois Lucquin managed to finish it in one. Maybe it was because of the security of the two putts. The Frenchmen are obviously having one helluva time on tour with a second successive win for a Frenchman. Don’t you just love to see the champagne spraying on the 18th green? These guys can obviously bring in a bit of entertainment

  4. Yes, Rory has a great future. I am sure it’s just a bit of experience to keep him focused to the very end of a Sunday. It was obvious he lost it for on that first pitch shot on his last hole.

    And, yes, Andy no one does it better than the French for celebrating success.

    Nothing against Lucquin – happy for him, but champagne and Raphaël Jacquelin are two of my favorite French things 🙂

    Gayle

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