There is no doubt that Rory McIlroy is one of the greatest golfers we have ever seen – the man was dubbed to be the next Tiger Woods – but recently his struggles have been clear to see not only for the fans, but for Rory himself. So far this year Rory has failed to put together a good performance at Bay Hill, missed the cut when attempting to defend The Players, and missed the cut at Augusta in his quest for the Career Grand Slam.
His poor form of late is likely a combination of things. Firstly, Rory has got a 9-month-old daughter, and we have to appreciate that any person with a new-born baby will likely see a bit of a drop-off in quality of work, regardless of their field. As well as this, there has been speculation that big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau has got in Rory’s head, with Rory increasing his swing speed in attempt to match Bryson’s distance. Is this ‘getting in Rory’s head’? No. But it has absolutely contributed to the poor performances of late – Rory lost control of his best club (the driver) for a while, and it just fed down the bag through every club.
So, what changed this week? Well, just about everything. Rory statistically had his best driving performance in over a year, with 54 of 56 drives travelling over 300 yards.
Putting was impressive for Rory this week also, with him being the only player in the field to be perfect (52/52) from 6 feet and in. Rory also made a return to his old irons (Rors Proto 2017), with him wanting a thinner topline and shorter blade length like with the Titleist’s he played earlier in his career, which helped him pick up 5 strokes gained on the field after in greens in regulation after hitting 75%.
Up next for Rory it is difficult to imagine him taking another 553 days to win an event. Now he is back in the winners’ circle, closing out the event when it could have easily been lost on the 72nd hole, I think we can expect to see Rory back to his best. Rory can be a bit of a streaky player, but let’s hope that this is the start of a long hot streak which carries through to the Ryder Cup!