Rory McIlroy says LIV fight is taking its toll
Rory McIlroy was asked if his record was the same after a choppy Players Championship week. Perhaps surprisingly, it wasn’t.
He summed things up in two words.
“Very blah,” McIlroy said.
That pretty much says it all. Short but unsweet. McIlroy had rounds of four over 76 and one over 73, he didn’t play favorites with his struggles at TPC Sawgrass, and the world No. 3 was shockingly finished after 36 player holes. He was left to answer why, although he confirmed at least one thought on Saturday.
To catch up with everyone up here, in the last year or so there was golf, and then there was LIV Golf and PGA Tour players going to LIV Golf and the PGA Tour revamping their model in response to the struggle. Under the more recent changes, announced just last week, the tour will play eight specific events next year without a cut, and only 50 players — the top 50 from last year’s year-long standings — will be granted guaranteed seats at those events.
Then there was McIlroy, who took on the mantle of tour announcer. Defending the established brand and leading some of the moves, he was the face. And that led to this exchange on Saturday.
“There’s a theory that everything else — schedules, board meetings, talking about all those things — takes quite a lot out of you. What do you make of it? Is that fair?”
“Yes, it’s fair,” McIlroy said. “I would like to play golf again, yes. Look, it’s been a busy few weeks, and it’s been — honestly, it’s been six or eight months that’s been very busy. But like I said earlier in the week, now it’s all sort of announced and the wheels have been set in motion, so obviously things should calm down from here.”
“How hard was it just to focus on being a golfer?”
“Yeah, it’s just time management,” McIlroy said. “The golfing out here, that’s fine, but it’s just more of the time at home to make sure you’re preparing, to make sure you’re doing everything you can to be ready when you show up for those weeks. So I might have sacrificed a bit of time on some of these other things.
“Like I said, I’m ready to go back to being a pure golfer.”
In short, “that other stuff” was a lot. Of course, McIlroy is number 3 in the world. He’s been No. 1 for the past few months. He’s won once in four events this year, and last week he finished second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Still, unfair or not, the standard for McIlroy is higher. And this week his numbers were appalling. He struggled off the tee – on the first round he was 88th (-0.649) in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee. He fought his way around the green – on the first round he was 142nd (-3.048) in SG: Around the Green, and on the second he was 126th (-1.220). He struggled with his putting – finishing 137th (-2.594) and 91st (-0.490) respectively.
So is this a blip? In this way, golf does not discriminate. Or the start of a trend?
We’ll know soon, although the answer may come mid-golf year. In two weeks, McIlroy will contest the matchplay event. He’s taking a week off.
Then it’s the masters.
“It just is what it is,” McIlroy said. “Actually, I don’t have the feeling that I’m playing that badly. A few mistakes here and there, putting from the 6th green yesterday, and just that stuff – just a little messy here and there.
“But hit the ball well. Just like I said, this course, if you’re a little off, definitely just magnifies where you are.
Subscribe to the magazine
https://golf.com/news/id-love-golfer-rory-mcilroy-liv-toll/ Rory McIlroy says LIV fight is taking its toll