McIlroy looking for a fresh start as he puts Merion misery behind him
World number two looking forward to Irish Open at Carton House
Rory McIlroy throws his club after chipping to the fourth green during the final round of the 113th US Open at Merion GC in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Photograph: Rob Carr/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy intends to wipe the slate clean on the first part of the season and effectively use the Irish Open – at Carton House next week – as a fresh start, as he seeks to rediscover the X-factor that made him the game’s most dominant player last season.
Without a win on tour since last November, when he birdied the closing five holes of the Dubai World championship to pip none other than Justin Rose, McIlroy has revealed that a three-hour dinner discussion with his father, Gerry, and coach, Michael Bannon, in Philadelphia on Saturday night left him in no doubt that a new approach is required.
“I feel like some times this year I have been working on a lot of different things instead of just focusing on one thing, working on that and making that my one thought, I suppose, for the year. We were talking about how I felt when I played well, what feelings I had, what was I working on at that time. I feel like we’re in a good place and I definitely have a good plan going forward and that’s the good thing,” claimed McIlroy, who remains as the world’s number two ranked player.
McIlroy has yet to win since switching clubs from Titleist to Nike in a reputed $200 million deal. He has managed four top-10 finishes on the US Tour so far this season – including a runner-up finish to Martin Laird in the Valero Texas Open – but, so far, has failed to claim that elusive win.
One positive from his tied-41st finish at the US Open, however, was that he ranked second in fairways hit (behind only Hunter Mahan), his problems coming in finding greens-in-regulation where he managed only tied-51st. “There’s enough good shots in there, it’s just a matter of cutting out all the little mistakes and, if I can do that, there is no doubt I will be back playing the way that I know I can.”
McIlroy’s next appearance will be in the Irish Open and he said: “ I’m looking forward to it. I have always loved Carton House. I played there a lot as an amateur, spent a lot of time there. It’ll be nice to be back there.”
Pádraig Harrington tunes up for the Irish Open at this week’s US Tour stop, the Travelers championship in Connecticut.
A quintet of Irish players will be in action in the BMW International in Munich – Shane Lowry, Peter Lawrie, Paul McGinley, Gareth Maybin and David Higgins.
Simon Thornton’s win in the St Omer Open means that a sponsor’s invite has been made available to Challenge Tour player Gareth Shaw for Carton House.