The four-time Major winner was downbeat after his T33rd at the PGA Championship

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What’s Wrong With Rory? – The Golf Monthly Team Discuss

A downbeat Rory McIlroy joked that “maybe I’m just not as good as I used to be” after finishing down in T33rd in the year’s first Major.

It will be over six years since the former World No.1 last won a Major when he tees it up at the US Open next month, so what has gone wrong?

The GM Podcast team discussed his comments and form in this week’s Clubhouse (McIlroy chat begins at 26mins 20secs) –

Nick Bonfield:

Shades of Sergio Garcia at The Masters a few years back where he said he wasn’t good enough to win a Major.

It’s quite hard to account for and I think you sometimes see this with players who are so naturally talented.

This is pure conjecture but I just get this feeling that he’s not as obsessed with dominating world golf as obviously Woods was and some other people in the past.

He’s got incredible natural talent and can find these pockets of brilliance but they’re actually happening more and more infrequently at the moment.

He just doesn’t want to give his whole life to the game, that’s just my impression I could be completely wide of the mark there but that’s just how I assess the situation.

Elliott Heath:

I agree with you a bit there. He’s worth like $200m isn’t he, he’s happy, he loves to read and just living a good lifestyle and it just seems that golf is just part of his life and it’s not everything.

That’s obviously great for him he’s achieved everything in the game that he wants to, barring winning The Masters, and yeah I’m not sure that he’s got that drive.

Maybe it is because of the money or maybe it is because of confidence. His grip looks a bit strong to me if there’s something technical you could say.

But if you look at the top of the leaderboard, the Morikawas, Jon Rahm as well finishing 7th not having his best stuff, DeChambeau too, McIlroy does look way off the pace at the moment.

I was looking at the stats, he hit 44% of fairways, he was negative strokes gained for the week on the greens, so there’s two things that Morikawa absolutely outclassed him by and looking forward to Majors and the FedEx Cup Playoffs, I guess they’re what he’ll look at sorting out.

Tom Clarke:

I’m going to try and stick up for Rory a little bit.

Before lockdown he was World No.1, he was playing absolutely fantastic wasn’t he? He was on an incredible run of consecutive top 5s.

Since we’ve returned after that break he hasn’t reached that form yet, I don’t think he’s had a top 10 actually.

I think it’s just slightly unfortunate timing where his game’s not quite where it was at the start of the year and I think he does actually put too much pressure on himself in the Majors.

And I think there’s too much expectation on him in the Majors and he feels that quite a lot.

I think he does actually care about that quite a lot actually and those quotes prove that.

Maybe he’s thinking ‘I’m struggling at the moment and people have just gone past me.’

I have a feeling that Rory’s going to turn his form around quite quickly I think.

Whether it’s in the Playoffs or, hopefully, in some of the Majors to come.

Related: McIlroy on Major drought – “It doesn’t keep me up at night”

Nick Bonfield

Just to be clear, I’m not criticising him for what I said, I understand it because he’s got a great life and he doesn’t want to devote everything to golf and if that’s the case I completely understand that.

I’m just trying to find a reason why probably the most naturally talented golfer in the world has not really shown up in the Majors as of late, I don’t know why.

He hasn’t won a Major since 2014, that’s a long time.

Elliott Heath:

Yeah it’s been six years now since his last win. In our group chat Sam, a Golf Monthly writer, said about picking Rory at the start of the week and I just jokingly said like ‘Picking Rory in a Major, you having a laugh?’

It’s not a surprise to not see him contend anymore and I think that’s what he’s alluding to there, that’s what the reporter asked in his question, and we’re huge McIlroy fans, we love him, and yeah I hope he can get his confidence back and start adding to that tally.

That’s really what matters. Winning the PGA Tour Player of the Year is great and winning The Players Championship is great but it’s Majors that you’re remembered for.

We just really want to see him at the top again.

Nick Bonfield

It’s an issue for me in Majors where he doesn’t have his stuff, he really struggles to grind through tournaments.

Most of his victories are just his explosive brilliance and he looks flawless and impeccable.

For example look at Justin Rose this week, didn’t have his best stuff, far from it, and still manages to grind out a top 10 and McIlroy ends up down in T33rd.

I wonder if it’s a case of the crowds not being able to gee him up when things turn south and he’s struggling to motivate himself because he knows he can’t win.

I don’t know, but there’s clearly something slightly amiss at the moment.

He just seems to have a certain fragility at the moment and it’s quite hard to account for given what he’s achieved in the game.

Related: Rory McIlroy What’s in the bag?

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