“There is much to celebrate” – Paul McGinley supports Rory McIlroy to finally end the major drought

Paul McGinley believes Rory McIlroy’s Masters performance proves he will eventually succeed in his quest for that elusive green jacket and complete the career grand slam at Augusta National.

The Dubliner has seen a rugged, risk-averse McIlroy since he met mental coach Dr. Bob Rotella has teamed up and predicts he’ll finally prove Augusta National really fits his game.

“There’s no reason why he can’t go ahead and win the Grand Slam,” McGinley said along with fellow analyst Brandel Chamblee on The Golf Channel in the US.

“I think there are a few things to consider here. I think now and there’s no question that this is a golf course that suits him. He likes it and it suits his game.

“We all talked a lot about it. If Rory was stuck and needed another Major to win the Grand Slam, you’d think this would be the one that best suited his game.

“His chipping is underestimated and we saw how good that was today. He’s brilliant on the greens and we’ve seen some improvement in his putting.

“There is no question he can play this court and there is no reason why he shouldn’t go ahead and win the Grand Slam.”

McIlroy came within three shots of Scottie Scheffler when he potted his bunker shot on the 18th for only the eighth Sunday 64 in Masters history.

Though he barely caught Scheffler’s attention, the Holywood star was ecstatic about what the round meant for his big career, and McGinley agreed.

“This might give him a little more confidence in another big win,” McGinley said of McIlroy’s seven-year and eight-month major drought, meaning he’ll beat Peter Thomson’s record of seven years when it comes to the gap between a fourth and fifth major win should it ever come to that.

“We all want that and expect it,” McGinley said. “He’s good enough. McIlroy’s performance here is something to be happy about and hopefully that will give him confidence because he would have come close to winning the Masters.”

McIlroy opened with two 73s, and since his fourth major win in 2014, he’s started underperforming just nine times in 27 majors and broke the 70 just five times (18 pcs), compared to 10 rounds in the sixties in his first 25 Majors (40 pc), including his debut as an amateur at Carnoustie in 2007.

The four-time Major winner, 32, insists he has no plans to change course after another slow start over the weekend left him with too much work to do.

“I don’t know if there’s any rhyme or reason for it,” said McIlroy, whose opening rounds for his four Major wins are 65, 67, 66 and 66.

“As I implied when I was just trying to play my way into the tournaments, you’re not going to shoot 66 every time you go out in the first round of Majors and win by a bunch of shots.

“It’s happened before, but these golf tournaments are all about hanging around. You kind of know what the winning outcome will be at the end of the week and it’s the same as trying to gradually build day by day until you maybe reach that point.

“I was trying to get out of the blocks too fast and then you can start making mistakes, especially on golf courses that are as treacherous as this one of all the courses we play at major championships.”

McGinley’s fellow analyst Chamblee compared McIlroy to Superman on the last 54 holes of the majors, with the obvious implication that he’s the mild-mannered Clark Kent on Thursdays.

“There’s no question he was a different player early on,” Chamblee said.

“In the 27 Majors since his last win, all but a few have trended 27… He starts Thursday as a player, then goes into the phone booth and comes out as Superman, and he’s the Best Player in the World Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

“Maybe the wave of that will make him the best player in the world at the PGA Championship Thursday morning.”

McIlroy had 24 top 10s in 52 major starts, with 25 percent of those finishing outside the top 25 midway.

McGinley sees Rotella’s hand in McIlroy’s decision to embrace the conservative tactical approach to majors suggested by 18-time majors champion Jack Nicklaus and 15-time champion Tiger Woods.

“I’m starting to see a more measured style of play,” McGinley said. “I’m looking at a more patient approach. I know he was carefree and all over the place today and didn’t play well on the last five holes although he somehow managed to play them under par.

“Before that he was well ahead in regulation this week and it wasn’t because he ripped out the flags. I’ve seen quite a lot of conservatism from McIlroy. It’s not the Cavalier, go broke golf that Cameron Smith is playing. It’s been a little more muted and ≈ a little more measured when it comes to those majors and I’m pretty sure it’s Bob’s influence.

“If you look at Jack and Tiger in particular, they didn’t win majors by being cavalier and Rory realized that the style of golf needs to be adjusted somewhat, not massively adjusted, because you still have to capitalize on the skills he has has disposes of.

“He only had eight bogeys this week, which is not a lot for a Major given the tough conditions in the first three days.

“So McIlroy has a lot to be happy about this result and hopefully he will take confidence from the result, not because he played fantastic but because he was close to winning the Masters.”

As for those slow Thursdays in the majors, McIlroy doesn’t seem concerned.

“It’s nice to get off to a good start and move up the rankings early because I think the earlier you get up there the easier it is to stay there in a way,” he said.

“But at the end of the day you still have to wait and play through it. I’m going to have big championships where I start fast and have chances like last year’s US Open and I’ll have starts like this if I start a little slow.

“But there’s always a point in the tournament when you have a chance to make a move and today was that chance for me.

“In other majors it could be a third round or a second round or whatever. At the end of the day we have to play all 72 holes and the 72nd hole is just as important as the first and you just have to treat it that way.”

https://www.independent.ie/sport/golf/there-is-a-lot-to-be-buoyant-about-paul-mcginley-backs-rory-mcilroy-to-finally-end-major-drought-41543351.html “There is much to celebrate” – Paul McGinley supports Rory McIlroy to finally end the major drought

Fry Electronics Team

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