McIlroy To Work With Mental Game Guru Bob Rotella Ahead Of Grand Slam Attempt

Renowned sports psychologist Dr Bob Rotella will be at Augusta this week to help with Rory McIlroy's mental approach to the Masters

Rory McIlroy at the Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy is covering every angle in search of the elusive Masters title that will complete the career Grand Slam – including working with renowned sports psychologist Dr Bob Rotella this week at Augusta.

It’s a ninth attempt at finishing the Grand Slam for McIlroy this year, as he looks to join that elusive club of just five players in golfing history who have managed to win all four Majors.

To do that, though, McIlroy will have to overcome the pressure, expectation, and the ghosts that lurk around Augusta National after his huge collapse in 2011 – and that’s something he hopes Rotella can help with.

The 33-year-old has admitted to having some negative thoughts when playing in the Masters, and the mental side of the game is something he’s now relying on Rotella to help with.

“I’ve worked with Bob Rotella now pretty consistently over the last few years,” said McIlroy. “So just chats with him – I always feel a bit better about everything, a bit better about myself, after I have a chat with him.

“He’s actually getting in today, we’re going to spend a little bit of time tonight and tomorrow. I just feel, after I’ve talked to him, a lot more relaxed, a lot more loose a lot more confident in myself.

“So I’d say if you’re talking about the mental side of things I just focus on those chats with Bob.”

The four-time Major winner certainly has the game to win at Augusta, and this year he could have an extra slice of confidence garnered from the brilliant final round 64 he shot 12 months ago.

“I felt last year that I maybe shed some of that scar tissue and felt like I sort of made breakthroughs,” added McIlroy. “Yeah, I'm feeling as sort of relaxed as I ever have coming in here just in terms of I feel like my game is in a pretty good place. I know the place just as about as well as anyone.

“But yeah, good experiences, bad experiences, it all adds up at the end of the day, and you probably learn a bit more from those bad experiences, and I feel like I've done pretty well at sort of putting those lessons into my play and being better because of them.

“I feel like I am as good, if not better a player, as I was the last time I won a major championship. So I'm feeling pretty good about it.”

Rotella has worked with the likes of Open champion Darren Clarke and three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington along with a host of others in the past, and now he could possibly provide the missing ingredient for McIlroy to finally claim the Green Jacket.

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.