McGinley Says McIlroy No Longer The Best Player

McGinley thinks McIlroy has fallen behind the likes of DJ, Koepka and Thomas

McGinley Says McIlroy No Longer The Best Player

The former Ryder Cup captain said McIlroy has fallen behind Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas

McGinley Says McIlroy No Longer The Best Player

Rory McIlroy, despite his four year major drought, is largely considered as the world's finest golfer 'when he's on'.

The Northern Irishman has won four majors, is a global star and has one of the best looking golf swings of all time - but former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGingley believes that he has fallen behind his American counterparts, particularly with his wedges and putter.

Speaking to Irish news outlet, Off The Ball, McGinley said, “Golf is a simple game in very many ways. Yes, it’s important to be able to hit the ball a long way, but you have got to have the scoring clubs. You have got to be absolutely fantastic with the scoring clubs."

He then described McIlroy's wedge play and putting as "average" compared to the world's top three players.

“Look at Dustin Johnson with his wedges, Brooks Koepka with his putter, and Justin Thomas the same. These guys are fabulous – absolutely fabulous. Rory is only average. Sometimes the putting is good, but the wedge play is not great. Then the wedge play is not so bad, but the putting is off. Those scoring clubs are absolutely paramount, for a start."

McIlroy has undoubtedly struggled with his scoring clubs in recent years, evidence in the fact that he has won just once since the start of 2017.

When he last won a major, at the 2014 USPGA Championship, Brooks Koepka was ranked in the 70s yet is now world number 2 and has three majors. Dustin Johnson was still majorless at that time and he now has a US Open trophy in his cabinet and continues to reign supreme as world number one.

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Justin Thomas was hovering around the 200th in the world mark when McIlroy won his final major to date. Now, four years on, he has won nine PGA Tour titles and one major at the 2017 USPGA.

He has also spent four weeks as the world's number one player.

McGinley says both Koepka, Johnson and Thomas are better than McIlroy.

“The other thing is that this perception that if Rory plays his best, then he wins," McGinley continued.

"That is not applicable any more. There are three guys that are better than Rory, if they are on their game – Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.

"They have that extra gear that Rory used to have. Like Tiger having to box clever, Rory has to box clever – he’s coming up to 30 years of age. You have three guys that can hit the ball just as far and just as straight as him, and have just as much ability to perform under pressure as Rory has had. “

To listen to McGinley's interview with Off The Ball click here.

Do you think McIlroy is the best player when he plays his best? Or have the likes of DJ, Koepka and Thomas overtaken him?

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Elliott Heath
Elliott Heath

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered three Open Championships on-site including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats between 3-5. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x